FSL Prospects: Sano the headliner

Miracle's slugger tops list of league's must-see prospects

By Jake Seiner / MiLB.com | April 5, 2013 6:00 AM ET

Here's a ranking of the 10 prospects we're most excited to see light up the Florida State League in 2013:

No. 1. Miguel Sano (3B, Fort Myers Miracle): Ranked as the 12th best prospect in baseball and tops in the Twins' system, the Dominican third baseman mashed 28 home runs at Class A Beloit last year and projects as a potentially dominant Major League slugger. The 19-year-old infielder has elite potential as a hitter, but he also struck out 144 times in 457 at-bats last year and has work to do to remain at third base as he fills into his 6-foot-3 frame. The FSL is a tough hitter's environment, but it also hasn't seen many slugger's of Sano's ilk.

No. 2. Javier Baez (SS, Daytona Cubs): After dominating the Class A Midwest League with a .979 OPS last summer, the shortstop was pushed to the Florida State League, where he struggled with a .188 batting average in 23 games. Baez bounced back and impressed in the Arizona Fall League with four homers in 14 games before suffering an injury. His swing is violent, which led to his struggles in his first go-round at Daytona, and the maturing of his approach from last year to this year is one of the league's most interesting storylines.

No. 3. Noah Syndergaard (SP, St. Lucie Mets): Syndergaard was traded from Toronto to the Mets along with catcher Travis d'Arnaud in exchange for R.A. Dickey in the offseason, and enters the year as the Mets' No. 3 prospect and 29th on MLB.com's top 100. Pitching alongside Aaron Sanchez and Justin Nicolino at Class A Lansing last year, Syndergaard was the most dominant of the trio with a 2.60 ERA, 122 strikeouts and 31 walks in 103 2/3 innings. The right-hander stands 6-foot-5 and can throw up to 96 mph consistently with a power curve and a power changeup. He looks the part of a future frontline starter.

No. 4. Aaron Sanchez (SP, Dunedin Blue Jays): Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos seemingly put every Minor Leaguer at his disposal on the trade block last winter to revamp the Major League club. When the dust settled, Sanchez remained as the system's crown jewel. At 6-foot-4 and 190 pounds, Sanchez oozes projection but has already showcased an ability to retire hitters -- he struck out 97 in 90 1/3 innings with a 2.49 ERA at Class A Lansing last summer. As with most young hurlers, the right-hander needs to sharpen his control as he advances through the Minor Leagues, but in the pitcher-friendly FSL, MLB.com's 35th best prospect figures to be a shutdown starter.

No. 5. Gary Sanchez (C, Tampa Yankees): Sanchez and Sano came out of the same July 2, 2009, Dominican signing class, and both have showcased prodigious power in the Minor Leagues since. Sanchez belted 18 homers across two levels last year, including five in 172 at-bats with Tampa. His .290 average in 116 Minor League games last season answered some questions about his hit tool, and, though he's made strides, his defensive skills need sharpening. A second go at the FSL may be short-lived if the bat and glove can each take steps forward.

No. 6. Mason Williams (CF, Tampa Yankees): Williams, the second-rated prospect in the Yankees' system behind Sanchez, reached Tampa midway through last season before a shoulder injury ended his year. The 21-year-old is an excellent defender in center and boasts a .317 career average in 164 Minor League games. He stole 20 bases in 91 games in 2012 and has shown the ability to hit for some power. He could be a fantasy baseball stud down the line with his ability to produce in multiple categories. More importantly to the Yankees, his offensive upside and defensive abilities mean he could be an impact Major Leaguer.

No. 7. Jorge Soler (OF, Daytona Cubs): Soler joined Yoenis Cespedes and Yasiel Puig in defecting from Cuba and signing stateside last year. While Cespedes is already succeeding in the Majors and Puig is coming off an otherworldly Spring Training, Soler enters his first full Minor League season following a successful but short stint at Class A Peoria. The 6-foot-4, 215-pound outfielder hit .338 with a .910 OPS in 80 at-bats and showcased an above average arm in right field. If all goes well, the 21-year-old could make a major impact in Chicago down the road.

No. 8. Alen Hanson (SS, Bradenton Marauders): Rated third in the Pirates' system and 54th overall by MLB.com, Hanson was perhaps the South Atlantic League's breakout hitter last year at Class A West Virginia. The switch-hitter batted .309 with a .381 on-base percentage and .528 slugging percentage while leading the South Atlantic League in total bases. Hanson will be one of the FSL's best pure hitters, and if he can ease concerns about his glove work at shortstop, he could be an elite prospect by year's end.

No. 9. Gregory Polanco (CF, Bradenton Marauders): If Hanson wasn't the biggest breakout story in the minors last season, it might have been Polanco. Ranked fourth in the Pirates' system and 65th overall by MLB.com, the speedy centerfielder showcased five-tool potential with West Virginia last year, batting .325 with a .910 OPS and 40 stolen bases. His speed is his loudest tool, but at 6-foot-4 and 170 pounds, there's potential for Polanco to develop into a monster talent.

No. 10. Justin Nicolino (SP, Jupiter Hammerheads): Sent to the Marlins from Toronto in a deal involving Jose Reyes, Josh Johnson, Mark Buehrle, Emilio Bonifacio and John Buck, Nicolino is about as polished as 21-year-old pitchers come. His fastball sits 89-91 mph, but he still struck out 119 hitters in 124 1/3 innings at Class A Lansing last season while sporting a 2.46 ERA. His changeup and curveball both show promising flashes, and if his consistency with his secondary stuff takes a step forward, he could be a fast-riser through the Marlins' system.

Jake Seiner 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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