One interesting item: the home plate umpire wore a camera on his facemask for the first part of the game. This was in connection with the documentary being filmed about Sano, The Miguel Sano Story. Here's more information on that. I loved the first documentary, Ballplayer: Pelotero, and it's pretty cool that the sequel is (partly) being filmed right here. I suspect, though, that the filmmakers hope that the end of the documentary takes place a little west of Connecticut.
My biggest takeaway from the first game: Sano's defense looked good. The arm got the job done. Sano had to come in on a bunt early on and made a nice play; he also snagged a hard grounder right after (he actually took a few steps back to third base in a decent attempt to catch the runner on third, who had just broken home). At no point was there any awkward footwork or anything that would suggest that Sano was uncomfortable at that position. To be sure, he wasn't tested with a diving play, and didn't have to barehand a ball in this first game, but he looked good. Solid.
At bat, he was decent. He wasn't challenged in his first plate appearance, which ended in a 5-pitch walk. He was, however, thrown out stealing second. Don't forget -- Sano does have some speed (he stole 9 bases with Ft. Myers this spring). In his second at-bat he grounded rather routinely to third base. His final at-bat was probably the best. He was just under a fly ball, which went for a sac fly. He didn't "connect" with the pitch, yet it ended up just shy of the warning track.
You can check out awful videos of Sano's at-bats here. Again, the videos are jittery. I took them with my phone. I'll get better, maybe.
I thought Rosario played well also. He took a 4-pitch walk in his first at-bat, hit a sinking liner to center in his second at-bat (that took a decent play from the centerfielder to produce an out), and singled with a grounder up the middle in his final at-bat. No big defensive challenges that I recall.
Angel Morales batted 9th in the order. He struck out in his first at-bat, grounded out to second in his second at-bat, and grounded to short in his final trip to the plate.
- Rosario has a compact swing, and is not a huge guy, but you can see where the power comes from. For lack of a better word, he is coiled when he bats. I'm excited to watch him hit.
- Wow, Sano is huge. Look at that picture of him compared to the other professional athletes next to him.
- I think Sano is used to getting pitched around. The difference between High-A pitching and AA pitching is significant. Let's see if Sano gets tons of pitches to hit early on, or if pitchers try to paint the corners when he bats.
In the nightcap it wasn't just Miguel Sano and Eddie Rosario I was excited to see. This was also my first time seeing righty Trevor May in person.
May consistently hit 93 with his fastball in the 1st inning, and was moving it in and out pretty effectively. Same control problems we have all heard about, though. Had a 4-pitch walk and a wild pitch in the first inning. 20 pitches to get out of it. The second inning, though, was much better -- 14 pitches, 1-2-3.
Ironically, former Twins' farmhand David Bromberg got the start for the Altoona Curve. He pitched very, very well tonight.
The Twins' big prospects: Rosario walked in his first at-bat. Sano K'd mightily. Morales -- who shouldn't be forgotten -- also struck out swinging.
Control issues came back in the 3rd inning for May. He walked the leadoff batter and took 13 pitches to record an out (swinging strikeout). Then May came back with a convincing strikeout. He started off the next hitter with 3 balls before giving up a well-struck homer to left-center. With May, it's not just the walks -- it's the extra pitches the walks and control problems generate. One positive: I like May's curve. Another: he was still throwing the fastball 93 in the 6th inning, about 90 pitches into his outing.
In Rosario's second at-bat, he really turned on a 1-1 offering for a hard single to right. It was a quick, decisive and powerful swing.
Sano's second at-bat: worked a 3-1 count, got a pitch to hit, and again just missed it. Another high sacrifice fly just shy of the warning track, to put the Cats on the board.
Morales second at-bat: half-swing strikeout. Not a good at-bat. Rosario's third at-bat, half-swinging strikeout. He did take a vicious cut on a fastball early in the at-bat. I can definitely see where the power comes from.
Rosario made a great play at second -- picking a low throw from C Kyle Knudson and applying the tag just in time. Definitely an average to above-average play. The kind of thing that makes a manager curse: Trevor May immediately walked that batter with 2 outs.
All in all, May had a decent start. 6 and 1/3 innings, charged with 3 earned runs. The control problems were on display, but so was his strikeout potential. 8 Ks and 3 walks; 106 pitches; 62 for strikes.
The players were pretty tired after the doubleheader, and the locker room was already clearing out when I arrived. There was one guy at his locker, eating a plate of food in silence. It was Sano. I asked for just a moment of his time. Clearly Sano was tired from a whirlwind few days, but obliged. No translator, either!
Regarding his 2 sacrifice flies tonight, Sano admitted that "when [he] hit them, [he] thought they were home runs," but he was just "a little under" the ball. On his call-up: "I was so happy, I have been working so hard." Describing the moment he was called up, Sano told me: "[Doug] Mientkiewicz said 'Sano, Rosario, Morales come here. You're ready to be promoted to Double-A.'" Regarding his defense, at third base, Sano confirmed that he is "totally comfortable there." And again, he looked very comfortable fielding tonight.
In all, it was 2 Rock Cats losses, but solid offensive and defensive performances from Sano and Rosario. More notes forthcoming, but it's been a long night of baseball.