During spring training, Doug Mientkiewicz stood behind a batting cage in Fort Myers and watched some of his soon-to-be Class A Miracle players take batting practice.
“I’m going to have a pretty good team … for three weeks,” he joked.
With highly ranked prospects in third baseman Miguel Sano and second baseman Eddie Rosario, Fort Myers was one of the teams to watch in the Twins farm system — presumably before those two and others would be promoted to Class AA New Britain.
The season began, and the Miracle began rolling through the Florida State League schedule.
Fort Myers won its first 12 games, tying the 1995 and 2007 teams for the longest winning streak since the Miracle moved to town. The team won again Friday night, beating St. Lucie 14-2 to improve to 14-1.
Sano has lived up to his status as one of the top prospects in all of baseball, batting .362 with five home runs and 15 RBI. His grand slam on Tuesday helped the Miracle to victory No. 12.
His defense has been acceptable. Brad Steil, the Twins director of minor leagues, said he saw one play in which Sano tried to make a throw he shouldn’t have attempted but otherwise has been fine at third.
“He’s been working on his positioning, and I think that has helped,” Steil said.
Rosario, Sano’s buddy, went 4-for-5 with a home run and four RBI on Friday, raising his statistics to a .387 average with two homers and 11 RBI. He is in his second year at second base after switching from the outfield.
“Both are off to really good starts,” Steil said. “Both are hitting well and playing good defense.”
Fort Myers also is getting production from catchers Matt Koch (.429) and former Gopher Kyle Knudson (.407).
Righthander D.J. Baxendale, a 10th-round pick last season, is 2-0 with a 1.04 ERA through two starts after pitching seven strong innings Friday. The bullpen has been anchored by lefthander Corey Williams (3.18 ERA), who throws a hard sinker, and righthander Zach Jones, who touched 100 miles per hour on the radar gun during instructional league and has hit 98-99 this month.
All these players are promotion candidates if they continue to produce.
“They expect to win,” Mientkiewicz, in his first year as manager, told the Fort Myers News Press. “That’s a big difference from wanting to win. We’ve had a couple games where we’ve fallen behind by bigger numbers and they very easily could have packed it in. But the Twins way is our part of the ballgame is the seventh, eighth and ninth inning.”