Minor league update: Sano, Rosario tearing up Appalachian League

  • Blog Post by: La Velle E. Neal III
  • August 30, 2011 - 12:34 PM

Got a phone call last week from someone who has been hanging around the Twins' rookie league team at Elizabethton, Tenn.

``I think Rosario has tied Manny Ramirez's home run record,'' the person said. ``Can you check on that?''

I found a number to the league office and called. It ended up being the personal phone of the league's president, Lee Landers.

``Well, I'm coming up to an exit here,'' he said. ``I'll pull over and check.''

I forget how the minor leagues operate on a slightly different budget than the majors.

Landers pulled  over at a gas station somewhere in Tennessee to look up the info.

The league record for home runs is 24, hit by Mitch Einertson of Greenville in 2004, and Joy Gritts, for Wytheville in 1960. Quick aside: Twins minor league director Jim Rantz was a pitcher on that Wytheville team, going 3-4 with a 3.79 ERA that year.

Paul Russo hit 22 for E-Town in 1990.

That brings us to Rosario and Sano.

Rosario hit his league-leading 21st homer of the season on Monday in a 6-5 victory over Princeton. Sano hit two, one an inside-the-park homer, to give him 20.  The two have become good friends, and Sano can't stand that Rosario caught him and passed him in homers in recent weeks.

``I am focused  on each pitch and seeing the ball well right now,'' Sano said to a reporter after the game.

Rosario and Sano are tearing the league apart. They are one-two in home runs, two-three in OPS, one-two in total bases. Rosario, an outfielder who might be able to stick in center, has 17 steals. Sano leads with 43 extra base hits. They are one-two in TRIPLES.

E-Town concludes its regular season tonight, so Rosario and Sano have a chance to club up the record list a little more.

Ramirez, by the way, hit .326 with 19 homers and 63 RBI and a 1.105 OPS in 59 games for Burlington in 1991.

Everyone thought E-Town's Oswaldo Arcia put up video game numbers last year when he went .375-14-51 with a 1.096 OPS.

Rosario: .332-21-59 - 1.066

Sano: .290-20-57 - .984

Here's my recent top ten prospect lists 1 through 5   and 6 through 10 for more info on Rosario and Sano.


Jeff Manship recently traveled to the Twin Cities to have bone spur removed from his elbow.

Arizona Fall League assignments will be announced sometime today.

The Twins recently signed their first-ever player from the Saints, lefthander Caleb Thielbar, who has appeared in two games for Class A Fort Myers. Thielbar was born in Northfield and drafted  by the Brewers in the 18th round in 2009. He was 0-2,5.60 last year in the Midwest League, which explains why he landed with the Saints. He was 3-3, 2.54 with the Saints, and set a record with 292/3 scoreless innings.

``He showed some pretty good stuff,'' Rantz said. ``We'll see how it goes.''

Class AA New Britain is holding on to playoff spot by one-half game with eight to play. If the Rock Cats make the playoff, it could help the Twins. Why? Because Denard Span could be ready for games in a week or so. And, after checking, the Twins confirmed they can send a player down to from the majors to Class AA for a rehab assignment in the minors.

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