Miguel Sano’s timing was bad when he admired a recent homer. The Twins’ general manager was in the stands.
It’s already been quite a year for the Twins’ farm system. The prospects ranked first and third in all of baseball are coming along.
But minor league coaches also have had to bench three top prospects this season for various missteps.
The latest incident occurred on Tuesday, when third baseman Miguel Sano, ranked third among prospects by Baseball America, homered for Class AA New Britain against Portland. A YouTube video shows Sano connecting with the pitch and following the ball over the wall. When the camera comes back to Sano, he’s still near home plate and has just tossed his bat toward the Rock Cats dugout.
Over-admiration? Showboating? Excessive celebration? Any of those terms could be used. Sano’s biggest mistake was that he did it when Twins General Manager Terry Ryan was in the stands.
“It’s a little tough to slide by when Terry is in town or I’m in town,” said Brad Steil, the Twins’ director of minor leagues. “And our staff does a good job and they know how we want to play the game, respect the game and do things the right way.”
Ryan, in this case, met with Sano after the game to discuss his actions. That couldn’t have been very pleasant. Sano did not appear in the next three games.
In 2003, Ryan was in New Britain watching prospects when Beau Kemp and Ronnie Corona were arrested on third-degree assault and breach of peace. They were in a car together, got into a disagreement, and decided to pull over and fight about it — at around 3 a.m. Ryan fined both players and demoted them to Class A Fort Myers. Neither reached the majors.
It safe to assume the Twins would rather deal with Sano’s celebrations than something that involves a police report.
In May, second baseman Eddie Rosario, Sano’s buddy, was benched for a couple of games at Fort Myers for a poor approach to the game. Rosario apparently cleaned up his act because he earned a promotion to New Britain.
Earlier this week, Oswaldo Arcia was pulled from a game for not hustling at Class AAA Rochester. All three players could be in the Twins lineup next season, with top prospect Byron Buxton getting close.
“It happens on a semi-regular basis,” Steil said of having to discipline prospects. “The extent of discipline varies on the infraction, and sometimes there are fines involved and not benching. Sometimes it is a couple of games. Sometimes it is more than that.”
If Sano, Rosario and Arcia weren’t top prospects, the benchings probably wouldn’t have been news. And that’s another lesson they need to learn. With status comes attention and YouTube.
“That’s something we try to teach all the guys as they come up through the system,” Steil said. “You have to be aware of yourself and your actions.’’
Justin Verlander is 10-8 with a 3.99 ERA. While some Twins starters would love to have those numbers, they represent a slump for the veteran Tigers righthander.
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