Ft. Myers, the High-A affiliate for the Minnesota Twins, defeated Palm Beach on Tuesday to run their season record to a still-perfect 12-0. Ft. Myers is the only unbeaten team in professional baseball and they have already matched their franchise’s longest-ever winning streak.
Rosario is a guy we ranked as the 112th-best prospect in baseball entering the season despite some major questions about what position he’ll wind up playing. Though he began his pro career as a centerfielder, the Twins brought him in to play second base last season and he’s playing there again in 2013. He shows excellent speed and a tremendous ability to square the baseball. If not for playing on the same club as Sano, Rosario would be getting a ton more press both for his hot start and for his potential as an impact bat down the road.
All he’s done so far is post a .388 average through 12 games with six of his 19 hits going for extra bases.
For as good as Rosario has been, he certainly hasn’t been alone in carrying the load for the Miracle. Catcher Matt Koch is off to a blistering start as well and there are a couple of mammoth first base/DH types in Kennys Vargas and Michael Gonzales that can impress with their power as much as their size. That said, the best player on the team, and probably the best in all of the FSL, is Sano.
Before I saw him in person, I had, of course, heard about his impressive power. That power was on display on Tuesday as Sano put Ft. Myers ahead to stay with a seventh-inning grand slam. It was his fourth homer of the season already and the four runs batted in gives him a dozen on the young campaign.
Sano comes in to the season with much fanfare and early on he has not disappointed. FSL pitchers have been loathe to challenge the hulking slugger with fastballs and while he can struggle versus the breaking ball at times, three of his four home runs this season have come on secondary offerings. Last week in a game versus Jupiter, Sano flailed wildly at slider in each of his first two at bats, striking out in both trips. By the fifth inning, however, he made the adjustment and stayed on a slider that was off the plate away. But he wasn’t content with slapping a line drive the other way; instead he went out and hooked it well beyond the left field wall.
Sano is the consensus top prospect in Minnesota’s organization and he’s still just 19 years old. Already an imposing figure at 6’4″ and well over 230 lbs, Sano’s physique and acumen as a hitter already have baseball fans everyone drooling over the possibilities. As hesitant as I am to put this kind of pressure on anyone, if Sano develops as he could, we could be seeing a hitter comparable to reigning AL MVP Miguel Cabrera.
The Twins have been down the past couple of years and those fortunes won’t change drastically until they add some more power pitching throughout their system, but there is help on the way in terms of the lineup and even though Sano and Rosario are beginning the season at High-A, both possess enough talent to rocket up the ladder in relatively short order. Though the Twins would like to wait as long as possible, both these hitters could force their way to the big leagues before the end of the 2014 season.