E-Twins' Sano continues power surge

Top 50 prospect slugs 14th homer, extends Appy League lead

Miguel Sano has 34 RBIs in 52 Appalachian League games. (Tony Farlow/MiLB.com)

By Ashley Marshall / Special to MLB.com | August 16, 2011 7:25 PM ET

Miguel Sano has the world at his feet, according to Elizabethton hitting coach Jeff Reed, who is growing accustomed to watching the teenage infielder launch prodigious home runs.

Sano smacked his league-leading 14th homer Tuesday to power the Rookie-level Twins to a 5-1 victory over the Bristol White Sox.

"The kid is only 18 years old and he'll only keep getting better," said Reed, who spent 17 years in the big leagues. "He'll be a real good Major League player one day and he'll be there for a lot of years. Teams will find a way to get him in the lineup. He can be as good as he wants to be."

Sano was hitless in his other three at-bats but has gone deep four times in his last four games and seven times in 13 contests this month. MLB.com's No. 41 prospect also leads the Appy League with 123 total bases and 32 extra-base hits while ranking second with 43 runs scored.

"He got a 1-0 fastball and he smoked it over the left-field fence," Reed said of Sano's fifth-inning blast. "It was like the ball jumped off his bat. It was a line drive that went 40 or 50 feet over the fence. His biggest strength is that he has real good bat speed.

"I saw him hit one out at Kingsport that almost smoked our team bus, and that must have been 90 or 100 feet beyond the fence. Watching him take batting practice, you notice that the ball is unbelievably loud off his bat."

A native of the Dominican Republic, Sano hit seven homers in 61 games last season in the Dominican Summer League and Gulf Coast League. After connecting only three times in his first 110 at-bats this summer, he's been on a tear.

The non-drafted free agent is batting .281 (27-for-96) with 11 homers and 20 RBIs over his last 25 games. And Reed doesn't expect him to slow down anytime soon.

"Right now, if they make a mistake, he puts a good swing on it," Reed said. "It seems like when they leave a pitch over the plate and up, he does very well. He can swing the bat and drive the ball a long way to both sides of the ballpark.

"In his first 90 at-bats, he was feeling his way. Now he's walking up there, looking to do some damage. He's taking some real aggressive swings now. At first, he was just looking to put the ball in play."

Sano's power has come at a cost. His 62 strikeouts are tops on the E-Twins and fifth-most in the league; he's fanned at least once in 37 of 52 games. Eight times, he's struck out at least three times.

"For a player his age, I'm not that worried about that," Reed said. "Just like everybody his age, he sometimes chases that breaking ball away around the zone. The more he plays, the better he will be. He has a decent swing for someone who's 18, but he still needs to work on some things like pitch recognition on breaking balls."

On Tuesday, Sano helped starter Tim Shibuya (7-2) to his league-leading seventh win. The 21-year-old right-hander limited the White Sox to one run on two hits while striking out a career-high 12 batters over seven innings.

Ashley Marshall is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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