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La Velle: Is Sano Too Big For Third Base?

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#1 John Bonnes

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Posted 27 January 2013 - 08:03 PM

Twins top prospect Sano looms large | StarTribune.com

Sano committed 42 errors last season, posting an .884 fielding percentage. Combine that with his expanding frame, and the Twins would appear to have a future outfielder or first baseman on their hands.


#2 mcrow

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 05:46 PM

I think his size is just an excuse for being young and not very good in the field at the position. Granted, if he gets any bigger he's going to end up being Frank Thomas and end up at 1B.

#3 Kwak

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 05:56 PM

Is Miguel Cabrera too big to play 3B? I remember this tome about Cal Ripken and SS, and more recently Mauer and C despite evidence to the contrary.

#4 mcrow

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 06:00 PM

Yeah, Miguel looked pretty bad at 3B though from what I saw. Ripken was a better example, everyone said he was too big but was very good in the field. Mauer was never said to be too big to play catcher but too big to stay healthy at catcher which at least is somewhat valid notion.

#5 nicksaviking

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 06:51 PM

Cabrera is a pretty poor defender. I'd still take the trade off if he puts up Cabrera numbers. If you want to use a large third baseman as an example, use Scott Rolen, he is Sano's size and an all time elite defender. You can be large and play 3B.

#6 kab21

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 07:00 PM

The problem isn't that Sano is big now. The problem is that Sano is the same size as these so-called comparables as a teenager. Perhaps he makes the majors as a 3B but I think he'll be at 1B by his mid to late 20's.

#7 BrentMpls

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 07:53 PM

The problem isn't that Sano is big now. The problem is that Sano is the same size as these so-called comparables as a teenager. Perhaps he makes the majors as a 3B but I think he'll be at 1B by his mid to late 20's.


Most of the media is claiming he grew "at least an inch" since last year as well... hard to say what he'll turn out to be of course.

#8 lightfoot789

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 08:06 PM

If he takes his conditioning more seriously as he moves through the system - I would rather compare him to A-Rod defensively and Cabrera offensively with his current size. Strong arm with decent agility. He is athletic enough - just needs the maturity and discipline to stay there. Great players tend to stay in shape for the peak of their careers. Hopefully he aspires to be great.

#9 josecordoba

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 08:20 PM

I'm skeptical that if he's 235-240 at 19. He'll end up at Third Base. I would question whether it's really a good goal considering his greatest asset is going to be his power. My hope is that he moves well enough to have passable range in RF since one of his best assets is his arm. Mike Stanton seems to hold up at 245-250 quite well. This would seem to be a reasonable comp for Sano as far as body type. .

#10 Riverbrian

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 09:41 PM

I haven't seen him play so sight unseen obviously... I'd give him as much rope as possible at 3B. The reports I've read about his athleticism suggest he has the tools. If he has the hands... He can figure out the feet.

Size won't matter... The Ladies tell me this all the time.

He could convert to 1B fairly quickly if it fails.

#11 kab21

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 11:52 PM

If he takes his conditioning more seriously as he moves through the system - I would rather compare him to A-Rod defensively and Cabrera offensively with his current size. Strong arm with decent agility. He is athletic enough - just needs the maturity and discipline to stay there. Great players tend to stay in shape for the peak of their careers. Hopefully he aspires to be great.


I'm not sure that you really understand how the human body works.

His current size is as big as ARod and Cabrera (possibly a little tubbier now) currently are. Both of these players were skinny when they were Sano's age. This is not a conditioning issue. Sano is absolutely ripped right now. The issue is that he is a big kid and it wouldn't be a surprise if he put on 20-30+ more lbs (of muscle) in the next 5 years.

#12 Guest_USAFChief_*

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 11:58 PM

You leave Sano at third base as long as possible, and then a little longer. If at some point you absolutely positively have to move him to the OF or 1B, you do it. But not before. When his bat is ready, he'll be in the big leagues. IF he has to learn a new position at the big league level, he can learn 1st or RF there, if he hasn't been moved before. Size isn't really the issue, if he has the athleticism and ground ball chops to play third, being big won't matter.

#13 jokin

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 12:53 AM

I'm not sure that you really understand how the human body works.

His current size is as big as ARod and Cabrera (possibly a little tubbier now) currently are. Both of these players were skinny when they were Sano's age. This is not a conditioning issue. Sano is absolutely ripped right now. The issue is that he is a big kid and it wouldn't be a surprise if he put on 20-30+ more lbs (of muscle) in the next 5 years.


At least we know for certain that ARod's Juiceman knew how the human body works.

Thankfully, we apparently won't have that worry with Sano.

3B until he definitively proves he can't cut it defensively- at a Cabrera-like woebegone level.

#14 johnnydakota

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 01:08 AM

I think his size is just an excuse for being young and not very good in the field at the position. Granted, if he gets any bigger he's going to end up being Frank Thomas and end up at 1B.

And thats a bad thing?

#15 kab21

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 01:09 AM

Nobody Including myself has said that you don't leave Sano at 3B as long as possible. I just don't think anyone understands how unique Sano is since he could easily be 25, in great shape and 260-270 lbs. The body comparisons to ARod and Cabrera are worthless since they were 200 lbs or less at similar ages. Stanton is a good comp though but we don't really how much bigger he will get. I also think Frank Thomas was a good comp since he graduated from Auburn at 240ish lbs but he was older than Sano and was a college football player (tight end I think).

#16 RodneyKline

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 03:27 AM

What do you mean too big to play 3B? I would put Shaq at third if he could field the position. Who cares how big Sano is! Playing 1B and 3B are pretty much the same skills needed. Give the kid some time to get better at third. There are many examples of kids that were poor defensively at third in the minors and they learn to play great defense (Adrian Beltre for example), but there are no examples of kids that can't hit, learning how to be a great hitter. This kid can hit and he needs to get better defensively. He is only 19, so give him a chance to get better in the field. Having a great hitter that can play third is a much more valuable thing than another guy who can hit but has to play 1B, RF or DH.

#17 mcrow

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 08:12 AM

And thats a bad thing?


I didn't say being Frank Thomaas would be a bad thing, that would be awesome. My point is that he's simply not that good in the field right now and he's young but it probably has little to do with his size at this point.

#18 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 08:23 AM

Nobody Including myself has said that you don't leave Sano at 3B as long as possible. I just don't think anyone understands how unique Sano is since he could easily be 25, in great shape and 260-270 lbs. The body comparisons to ARod and Cabrera are worthless since they were 200 lbs or less at similar ages. Stanton is a good comp though but we don't really how much bigger he will get. I also think Frank Thomas was a good comp since he graduated from Auburn at 240ish lbs but he was older than Sano and was a college football player (tight end I think).


1993classicsuddenimpactalexrodriguez.jpg

That's A-Rod as a rookie. I don't think it takes much "projecting" to look to the left and see the picture of Sano and realize that he's going to be a very big dude. The guy isn't even 20 yet and has crested 200 lbs.

That doesn't mean he can't play third base but it does mean it's a bit of a longshot.

#19 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 08:27 AM

I didn't say being Frank Thomaas would be a bad thing, that would be awesome. My point is that he's simply not that good in the field right now and he's young but it probably has little to do with his size at this point.


Frank Thomas was the best right-handed hitter I've seen in my lifetime so yeah, I think we should all be happy with any kind of Frank Thomas comp to Sano.

#20 old nurse

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 08:32 AM

You leave Sano at third base as long as possible, and then a little longer. If at some point you absolutely positively have to move him to the OF or 1B, you do it. But not before. When his bat is ready, he'll be in the big leagues. IF he has to learn a new position at the big league level, he can learn 1st or RF there, if he hasn't been moved before. Size isn't really the issue, if he has the athleticism and ground ball chops to play third, being big won't matter.


Knowledge that far too many people seem to forget. Good reminder Chief.

#21 Guest_USAFChief_*

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 08:42 AM

[ATTACH=CONFIG]3159[/ATTACH]

That's A-Rod as a rookie. I don't think it takes much "projecting" to look to the left and see the picture of Sano and realize that he's going to be a very big dude. The guy isn't even 20 yet and has crested 200 lbs.

That doesn't mean he can't play third base but it does mean it's a bit of a longshot.

Actually, the picture is of A-Rod as a high school player at Westminster in Miami.

#22 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 08:46 AM

Actually, the picture is of A-Rod as a high school player at Westminster in Miami.


Yeah, grabbed the wrong one and didn't notice. Still, he didn't look much different as a 19 year old with the Mariners.

1994-Upper-Deck-Alex-Rodriguez-Rookie-Card-213x300.jpg

#23 old nurse

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 09:14 AM

I'm not sure that you really understand how the human body works.

His current size is as big as ARod and Cabrera (possibly a little tubbier now) currently are. Both of these players were skinny when they were Sano's age. This is not a conditioning issue. Sano is absolutely ripped right now. The issue is that he is a big kid and it wouldn't be a surprise if he put on 20-30+ more lbs (of muscle) in the next 5 years.

Help me out here. Athleticism isn't dependent on size. Reaction speed isn't dependent on size. The mechanics of throwing a ball isn't dependent on size. So what about size matters if you have the athleticism?

#24 Shane Wahl

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 09:30 AM

Premature. He should spend all of 2013 at 3B.

#25 kab21

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 09:58 AM

Help me out here. Athleticism isn't dependent on size. Reaction speed isn't dependent on size. The mechanics of throwing a ball isn't dependent on size. So what about size matters if you have the athleticism?


Actually athleticism typically declines with size and age.

People are acting like I don't think he should play 3B for the next couple of seasons. I haven't said anything like that. I am simply being realistic about where he is likely to play most of his career.

#26 mike wants wins

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 10:11 AM

As long s they do not keep his bat in the minors for years while he learns to play defense.....if he is a great MLB hitter, I want him up, not learning to field for four years....but I doubt you all agree.

#27 nicksaviking

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 10:29 AM

Judging by what's on the field at the MLB level, the Twins would be hypocritical to stiffle promotions based on defense.

Edited by nicksaviking, 30 January 2013 - 08:05 AM.


#28 lightfoot789

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 10:54 AM

I'm not sure that you really understand how the human body works.

His current size is as big as ARod and Cabrera (possibly a little tubbier now) currently are. Both of these players were skinny when they were Sano's age. This is not a conditioning issue. Sano is absolutely ripped right now. The issue is that he is a big kid and it wouldn't be a surprise if he put on 20-30+ more lbs (of muscle) in the next 5 years.


I guess I look at true athletes like Matt Kemp who lost 20 pounds while in his 20's and had an all star caliber 2011 & 2012 season.
That's how I look at the human body working. It's about the "Want to". If you want to be special you will do the necessary work to stay in peak condition and shape.

#29 lightfoot789

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 11:02 AM

[ATTACH=CONFIG]3159[/ATTACH]

That's A-Rod as a rookie. I don't think it takes much "projecting" to look to the left and see the picture of Sano and realize that he's going to be a very big dude. The guy isn't even 20 yet and has crested 200 lbs.

That doesn't mean he can't play third base but it does mean it's a bit of a longshot.


It is a different world than when A-Rod came into the league. There is so much more of an emphasis on health and conditioning. Players are staying in better shape than they would have in the past. Players are going to pre-spring training workout facilities to get in shape for Spring Training. Guys in the past didn't put as much work into conditioning as they do now. That in itself should and could keep a guy like Sano at 3rd base longer throughout his career.

#30 Twins Twerp

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 12:00 PM

6-4 230 and growing. This guy should be going into his Sophmore year playing OLB/DE hybrid for the Alabama Crimson Tide. This guy needs to be a football player instead. Clowney who? This guy is going to be 6-5 250 and freakishly cut. If he doesn't pan out for the Twins I know a team that could use a pass rusher across from an all-pro DE in the same town.