With professional baseball failing to provide him with any sort of challenge thus far, Miguel Sano is moving on from the Florida State League and will now try his hand in the Double-A Eastern League, reports Phil Miller of The Minnesota Star-Tribune. Sano leaves his Ft. Myers Miracle behind having hit .330/.424/.655 on the season.
At this point, there as absolutely no questioning Sano's power. The Twins slugger has established himself as the top power hitting prospect in all of baseball, and at the time of his promotion, he was leading the FSL in isolated slugging percentage (ISO) by 59 points over the second best player. There were some questions at the lower levels of the minors whether his high strike out rates (26 percent last year, 25.1 percent this year) would effect the ability of his power to play in the majors, but at this point, the strikeouts appear to be as much a product of hitting for power and working deep counts as any inability to hit breaking pitches.
Double-A will be the biggest test, though. The first advancement to the upper minors is when the breaking pitches get better and pitchers attack hitters with a plan. How those walk and strikeout rates shift over the second half of the season will tell us a lot about the speed of Sano's assent to the majors.
The other factor will be his defense. I discussed Sano in January and the few players in baseball history who have played third base at his size. While he's listed at just 195 lbs. on both Baseball-Reference and FanGraphs, Sano is, in reality, over 235 pounds. He made 42 errors at third base last season, although, to his credit, did make more of the plays he got to this season, making just 11 errors at the hot corner before his promotion. That consistency gives him a fighting chance to stay at third base early in his career, but it's not a good one.
Sano is built like Miguel Cabrera, and likely won't be any better of a third baseman. If he remains at third base, he would be one of the biggest third baseman ever, and that's if he stops growing. Remember, he's still just 20 years old.
It's safe to say that Sano won't be a third baseman his entire career. There's a chance he could do it early in his career, but continuing his development there will likely slow down his ETA in Minnesota. Much like the Reds did with Billy Hamilton, a position change (over to first base) should allow Sano to get to the majors as soon as his bat is ready, which could be some time next year.