Seeing the Future: Miguel Sano
by, 05-28-2012 at 08:24 PM (1316 Views)
I had the pleasure, this Memorial Day, to take in a Kane County Cougars game here in the Chicagoland area and was pleasantly surprised to find that their opponent today was the Twins' Single-A affiliate Beloit Snappers of the Midwest League. I had nice seats, 3 rows from the field on the 3rd base side and witnessed a donnybrook of a game; a 41-hit, 24-run affair that featured 2 homeruns, 4 errors and a total of 11 different pitchers.
It was a hot one at Fifth-Third Bank Stadium today (95 degrees) but that didn't scare away the fans which included many families out there enjoying some Minor League Baseball. The wind was blowing straight out and the players came to the park with their good bats. It was 5-4 Snappers by end of the 3rd inning and the two teams played see-saw until the bottom of the 9th when Cougar Orlando Calixte hit a 2-run HR to left field which tied the game up at 9 a piece. The two bullpens then pitched a couple of scoreless innings each before the Snappers blew it wide open in the top of the 12th, plating 6 runs, capped off by a monstrous center-field moonshot off the bat of Miguel Sano, his 12th of the season. I'm telling you, this homerun hit off the top of the scoreboards in center, he absolutely mauled it.
One cool sidebar from the game: a row in front of us and a few seats down was a kid sitting with his dad. He was wearing a Yankees hat, but as the game went on I noticed that he was rooting for the Snappers. Eventually he and I realized that we were both cheering for the road-team and I for the rest of the game I had a cheering buddy. Every time the Snappers would do something good, he would look over and give me a thumbs-up. It was cute. When I left I gave him a high-five and a "Go Twins".
Getting back to Sano, he was pretty unimpressive for most of the game. Up until his HR in the 12th he was 0-for-6 and committed an error at 3rd. His body type reminds me of Hanley Ramirez. He has a big athletic figure, but he also has speed evidenced in the game by a close play at 1st when he grounded to the shortstop. I knew that he had been slumping of late at the plate so I didn't have a whole lot of expectations but was very happy to see him hit a homerun. A couple of other players that caught my eye were Eddie Rosario (2B) who had 5RBI on 2 hits and Adam Pettersen (SS) who went 3-for-7 in the game with a triple, 3 runs, an RBI and a nice double-play to end the game. He has good energy and though he is small, he has a quick bat and plays a decent shortstop. In looking at his numbers on Baseball-Reference he doesn't have a very impressive resume and lacks any real power, but he's only 23 years old and has good energy. I know that last remark isn't all that informative but hey, I only saw one game.
Pitching-wise there was nothing all that impressive. Snappers starter Matt Summers pitched pretty well (5IP, 4R, 1ER, 7H, 8K, 1BB) but didn't look overpowering or as dominating as those 8Ks would suggest. His fastball looked to be topping out at about 92mph. After having himself a nice season in Rookie ball last year, he has failed to translate that success into the Single-A level, carrying a 4.21 ERA into the game with a paltry 5.1 K/9 ratio.
All in all, it was a great time. If you haven't had a chance to see some Minor League baseball, I highly recommend it. It's very family-friendly stuff and it's cool to see players like Sano and Rosario who might make it to the Bigs one day. Kinda like getting a glimpse of the future...or at least the potential that the future may hold.