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MWL notes: Sano soaks up spotlight05/17/2012 10:56 AM ET
By Curt Rallo / Special to MLB.com
Attention? It isn't about to faze Minnesota Twins prospect Miguel Sano, who was the talk of Spring Training two seasons ago -- when he was 16 years old -- and is the subject of not one, but two documentaries about his stunning success in baseball at such a young age.
Sano, who turned 19 this month, was signed by the Twins for a $3 million bonus when he was 16. It looks like the move may be paying off. He is hitting .287 with 11 homers and 35 RBIs in 38 games with the Beloit Snappers.
Hailed as a marquee player even though he's in his full-season debut, Sano shrugs off the scrutiny. He currently has a film crew following him around in Beloit, Wis., but handles life in the spotlight like a seasoned veteran.
"The attention he's getting is similar to what some of the Packers get," said Snappers director of media & community relations Chrissy Scaffidi, who worked with the Green Bay Packers last season. "It's exciting. We get national media attention because he is a top prospect.
"Miguel is just a kid at heart. He goofs around, but when he does interviews, he's all business. He's completely professional. You would never guess he's the top prospect. He's very humble," Scaffidi added. "Even though he has a film crew following him around, he just acts the same as everybody else. He says and does want he wants, he has fun, he even has fun with them."
On the baseball side of things, Snappers manager Nelson Prada said Sano is one of the best prospects that he's ever managed.
"Miguel is a guy with a lot of tools," Prada said. "I think the power he has ... he's very mature for a 19-year-old kid. That helps a lot. He plays the game right. He has quick hands and he has good speed for a big guy. He's the complete package."
Minnesota switched Sano from shortstop to third base, and Prada said the transition has gone well.
"I think when you play shortstop, and you move to another position, it's a little easier for you than the other way around," Prada said. "The toughest position in the infield to me is shortstop. Going to third base, that position for him is not really hard. He played some third in the past, before he signed. He has an idea of how to play there."
Sano said through a translator that he is focused on learning and being patient with his development. He said hitting the breaking pitch and making better adjustments at the plate in RBI situations are priorities.
According to Sano, he's also fine-tuning his approach at the plate and trying to improve in RBI situations with two strikes on him in the count.
Sano's biggest challenge in the Midwest League has been the weather. He said the cold has been a tough obstacle to deal with in 2012. He added that although the weather has been an issue, the temperatures have been heating up, and he expects to heat up at the plate as well.
Prada said Sano's pitch selection needs sharpening.
"Miguel already has 11 homers and 35 RBIs, so the other teams won't pitch to him," Prada said. "He has to understand that when he goes to the plate, he's got to have a good approach, because they're going to pitch him differently. The RBI situation, he has to treat those at-bats differently than when there's nobody on. He has to really concentrate to get those RBIs. He's really good, but he's a young kid. He has a lot to learn."
Second home: Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Carlos Gomez is finding a second home in Wisconsin. Gomez, who will play four games with the Timber Rattlers, is in his third rehab assignment with the club in the past three seasons. He played with the Rattlers for two games in 2010 and suited up for the Brewers' Class A affiliate for four games last season.
Smooth sailing: Lake County has navigated some choppy waters to start the season. The Captains were 4-13 after their first 17 games, but since then, Lake County is 15-6. The Captains won seven of their last eight games -- in those games, the pitching staff has posted a 2.50 team ERA. Cody Anderson (4-1, 1.89) has led the charge, giving up only eight earned runs in six starts.
Reversal of fortune: The South Bend Silver Hawks rolled into Bowling Green with a 7-0 record in one-run games, but promptly lost three of four to the Hot Rods by the score of 4-3, 3-2 and 5-4.