Minnesota Twins Can’t Catch a Break

It was announced today that minor league 3Bman Miguel Sano has torn the ulnar collateral ligament in his throwing arm and will miss the entire 2014 season.  Sano, who turns 21 in May, was one of the top five prospects in MLB baseball, and is coming off a season in which he slugged 35 HRs in 439 at-bats roughly split between A+ and AA ball.

Sano was regarded as an elite prospect from the moment he was signed at age 16, and he’s done nothing to discourage that notion as a professional, having recorded a .940 career minor league OPS across four seasons.  His glove is well behind his bat, but he was probably only 100 more minor league games away from being ready for the big time as a hitter.

Sano is young enough to come back from losing a year and establish himself as a major league star.  Another former Twins prospect Jason Kubel did just this almost a decade ago.  However, I’ll always be convinced that Kubel’s major league career would have been brighter had he not lost all of the 2005 season, because it’s highly Kubel would have had the kind of season he had in 2007 two years earlier if only he hadn’t gotten hurt — Kubel’s 2006 season was basically spent getting back to where he was at the end of 2004.

I think Sano before the injury had a reasonably good shot at becoming the next Miguel Cabrera or at least the next Giancarlo Stanton.  However, I think the odds of Sano reaching those heights is much, much lower now.

The Twins still have other top five prospect Byron Buxton, a center fielder, and other highly regarded pitching prospects Alex Meyer, Kohl Stewart and Jose Berrios.   However, except for Meyer, they’re a lot further away from the majors than Sano was before his arm broke.

After three consecutive seasons losing at least 96 games, the Twins need to start getting their top young prospects up to the majors in a hurry.  Losing Miguel Sano for at least a season surely will not help the team’s rebuilding process.

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