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Is Sano Too Big to Stay at Third?

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Name:  sano.jpg
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Size:  9.9 KBWe’ve reached that time of year, just before camps in Florida and Arizona officially get underway, where many publications release their annual top prospect lists. Since he was recently in town for TwinsFest and his name has appeared near the top of many of these lists, Miguel Sano has been buzzing in local baseball circles.

La Velle E. Neal III recently remarked with some astonishment about Sano’s size when he saw him, noting that the 19-year-old (!) will be listed at 6’4” and 235-240 lbs this year. Naturally, this leads back to questions about the top prospect’s chances of sticking at third base, where men of that stature are somewhat uncommon.

Don’t believe me? Take a look at the height and weight measurements for third basemen across the majors last season (numbers courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com):

NYY: Alex Rodriguez 6'3" 225 lbs
BAL: Wilson Betemit 6'2" 220 lbs
TB: Evan Longoria 6'2" 210 lbs
TOR: Brett Lawrie 6'0" 215 lbs
BOS: Will Middlebrooks 6'4" 225 lbs

DET: Miguel Cabrera 6'4" 240 lbs

CWS: Kevin Youkilis 6'1" 220 lbs
KC: Mike Moustakas 6'0" 215 lbs
CLE: Jack Hannahan 6'2" 210 lbs
MIN: Trevor Plouffe 6'2" 205 lbs

OAK: Brandon Inge 5'11" 190 lbs
TEX: Adrian Beltre 5'11" 220 lbs
LAA: Alberto Callaspo 5'9" 200 lbs
SEA: Kyle Seager 6'0" 195 lbs

WAS: Ryan Zimmerman 6'3" 230 lbs
ATL: Chipper Jones 6'4" 210 lbs
PHI: Placido Polanco 5'10" 190 lbs
NYM: David Wright 6'0" 210 lbs
MIA: Hanley Ramirez 6'2" 230 lbs

CIN: Scott Rolen 6'4" 245 lbs
STL: David Freese 6'2" 220 lbs
MIL: Aramis Ramirez 6'1" 205 lbs
PIT: Pedro Alvarez 6'3" 235 lbs
CHC: Luis Valbuena; 5'10" 195 lbs
HOU: Chris Johnson 6'3" 220 lbs

SF: Pablo Sandoval 5'11" 240 lbs
LAD: Luis Cruz 6'2" 220 lbs
ARI: Ryan Roberts 5'11" 185 lbs
SD: Chase Headley 6'2" 200 lbs
COL: Chris Nelson 5'11" 205 lbs

As you can see, only two regulars at the hot corner – Miguel Cabrera and Scott Rolen – were in the same physical class as Sano, who as a teenager might not even be done growing yet. Cabrera was one of the worst defenders in the league at the position, although it bears noting that the aging Rolen was considered a stellar fielder in his prime, so his size wasn’t necessarily an inhibitor.

Given that Sano is already bigger than almost any third baseman in the majors, at age 19, and has demonstrated shoddy glovework thus far in his pro career, the odds seem heavily stacked against him remaining at his current position, especially with an organization that values steady defense more than most. A switch to first base or an outfield corner wouldn’t preclude him from becoming a star caliber player, but it will ding his value to some degree.

One way or another, this much is clear: Unlike Brian Dozier, Sano really is the next big thing. Literally.

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  1. mcrow's Avatar
    We'll given he's 19, he's not likely to get much, if any taller. He could still put on muscle mass though. My cousin was about the same height and weight as Sano at the same age and ended up not gaining any height but he ended up at 260 and played TE in college. So, Sano could be destined to be a 1B. I can't imagine they'd want a beast like that running around in the OF much less playing 3B.
  2. Denny Hocking's Finger's Avatar
    +1 for the Tom Powers boomroast
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