The Free Press, Mankato, MN

August 19, 2013

Thoma column: Let it Sano: A TV tease tonight of a bit of the future


The Mankato Free Press

---- — Live, from New Britain, Conn., it’s the Miguel Sano Show!

Fox Sports North tonight is to broadcast the RockCats’ game against the Trenton (N.J.) Thunder, which promises to give Twins fans a glimpse of Sano, the Dominican man-child third baseman.

The broadcast itself figures to follow the model of June’s telecast of a Cedar Rapids Kernels game — a studio crew back in Minneapolis talking over video from Connecticut, with cut-ins to the RockCats’ radio play-by-play for Sano’s at-bats.

Sano’s the main attraction, of course, just as Byron Buxton was in June for the first of these minor-league telecasts.

In a sense, FSN is merely feeding the hype. So, too, is the newest issue of Sports Illustrated, with its six-page, five-photo spread on the “Glimmer Twins.” Buxton and Sano, Buck and Bocaton, prospects No.1 and 3 not in the Minnesota farm system but in all of baseball.

All of this is a test of patience for Twins fans. Buxton and Sano are out there, and the major league club is bad, and we just can’t wait for the future to arrive.

Clete Thomas is not a major league center fielder. On Saturday he lost a first-inning fly ball in the sun and gave the White Sox a run. And in SI, Doug Mientkiewicz, former teammate of Torii Hunter, says of Buxton: “If he were playing center field in majors he’d be a Gold Glover right now.”

Right now is what we yearn for. And it’s not going to happen, because it shouldn’t.

Buxton is still only in high A ball. Sano is closer — Double A — but while he has crushed 15 homers in a bit less than two months playing time in New Britain, his batting average lingers under .250.

General manager Terry Ryan last week didn’t slam the door on the notion of Sano getting a September call-up, but came really close to it.

The wisdom of not bringing Sano up is evident to those familiar with baseball’s often complex roster rules. The Twins, as matters stand, don’t have to put Sano on the 40-man roster this winter, and there is value in those spots.

As I see it, the only way the Twins will bring Sano to the majors this year is if they are certain they want him to be the starting third baseman in April. I don’t believe they’re at that point quite yet.

On the other hand, Trevor Plouffe was hitting .230/.292/.383 this weekend. That kind of “production” may help hasten the decision.

Edward Thoma (344-6377; ethoma@mankatofreepress.com) maintains his Baseball Outsider blog at fpbaseballoutsider.blogspot.com. Follow him on Twitter @bboutsider.