|Miguel Sano – courtesy mlb.com|
Giancarlo Stanton played a half a season at High-A and a half in Double-A as a 19 year old in the Marlins organization. Like Sano, Stanton had played 2 previous seasons in the organization. Stanton’s power numbers translate very closely to Sano’s, hitting 28 home runs and driving in 92. They even struck out exactly the same amount in nearly the same number of at bats. The two real significant differences lie in Sano’s more frequent walks, but Stanton playing at a higher level of baseball. Defensively, Stanton played in the outfield, which is a much easier position to master defensively than third base. Baseball America ranked Giancarlo Stanton the 16th best prospect in the MLB before the 2009 season.
|2009||19||2 Teams||2 Lgs||AA-A+||FLA||129||479||76||122||24||5||28||92||3||3||59||144||.255||.341||.501||.842||240|
Albert Pujols got his start in the minor leagues at the age of 20 playing a majority of the season in Low-A ball for the Cardinals organization, eventually making 3 appearances in AAA that season. Pujols hit for higher average, struck out much less frequently, but otherwise finished with similar numbers to those of 19 year old Sano and Stanton. He spent nearly all of his time, like Sano, at third base, ending the season with 22 errors and a .950 fielding percentage. Baseball America ranked Albert Pujols the 42nd best prospect in the MLB before the 2001 season. Pujols was un-ranked in 2000.
|2000||20||3 Teams||3 Lgs||A-A+-AAA||STL||133||490||74||154||41||7||19||96||4||5||46||47||.314||.378||.543||.920||266|
Miguel Cabrera followed a similar track to that of Stanton and Sano, playing his third professional season at the High-A level as a 19 year old. Cabrera’s power statistics were significantly lower than the other three at this age. Although he hit 43 doubles, only 9 balls landed in the cheap seats. Cabrera rarely walked, but also didn’t strike out at the alarming rates of Sano and Stanton. He made 16 errors that season playing third base, and finished with a .936 fielding percentage – not as bad as Sano, but still not great. The 2012 AL MVP, according to the statistics, probably had the least successful season at Sano’s current age of the four. Baseball America ranked Miguel Cabrera the 38th best prospect in the MLB before the 2002 season.
Although the numbers in each comparison are close in many areas, the similarities between Sano and Stanton’s career path seem almost identical. Stanton may have been a hair ahead in progression at Sano’s current age, but in any event he eventually made his big league debut at the age of 20 for the Florida Marlins. In his first three seasons with the Marlins, Stanton hit .270 with 93 homers and 232 RBI. He even led the NL in slugging percentage in 2012. Stanton still struggles to put the ball in play, striking out 432 times in 1324 at bats (32.6%), which can be somewhat expected from such a raw power hitter.
If Miguel Sano does indeed follow a similar career path as Giancarlo Stanton, the power numbers sure do look appealing. The two biggest factors to his success will be his abilities to cut down on strikeouts and sharpen his defensive skills. It will be interesting to see if Sano changes positions by the time he reaches the majors, possibly either to first base (depending on Chris Parmalee’s progress) or to a corner outfield spot. Stanton’s track would place Sano with the Twins either late this season or hopefully ready by 2014. No matter when he arrives, there’s no question he has the potential to rejuvenate a fan base that quickly diminished after two near-100 loss seasons. Miguel Sano may just become the next Giancarlo Stanton.
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