Twins prospect Miguel Sano has high expectations for himself in 2014

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MLB.com recently released their list of the top 100 prospects in baseball. The Twins, as expected, had two of the very best with outfielder Byron Buxton at #1 and third baseman Miguel Sano at #4, sandwiched between Cardinals outfielder Oscar Taveras and Diamondbacks pitcher Archie Bradley. The expectations are already high for Sano going into 2014, and many expect him to join the big league club at some point during the season after getting his first taste of Triple-A competition.

Sano hit 35 home runs with a .280/.382/.610 line last season, split nearly equally between Single-A Fort Myers Double-A New Britain. Sano himself expects to dwarf those numbers in 2014. Via Phil Miller of the Star Tribune:

“I hit 45 this year. More games,” he said. “Maybe 55, you never know.”

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His next project: Developing a better grasp of the strike zone, in hopes of becoming a more patient hitter. Sano seemed excited about the possibility after Joe Mauer offered to work with him in Fort Myers, Fla., next month. Considering he posted a .382 on-base percentage in 2012, drew 65 walks last year and 80 the year before, he’s already displayed plenty of patience.

But Sano is characteristically thinking big. How many walks this year? “Hundred and 20,” he said. “Maybe 150.”

When Jason Parks of Baseball Prospectus published his top-ten prospect list for the Twins in November, he called Sano “the best all-around power threat in the minors”. Sano has simply just given us yet one more reason to keep an eye on him as he moves his way through the Twins’ system.

Will Middlebrooks carted off field with injury

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Phillies third baseman Will Middlebrooks suffered a serious injury during Saturday’s Grapefruit League contest against the Orioles. The infielder was chasing down a pop fly in the eighth inning when he ran into left fielder Andrew Pullin, who inadvertently trapped Middlebrooks’ ankle under his leg. Middlebrooks was unable to put weight on his leg following the collision and was carted off the field and taken to a local hospital for X-rays.

Per MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki, not much is known yet about the severity of the ankle injury or the recovery time it will require, though it appears serious enough to set Middlebrooks back considerably as he seeks a backup/bench role with the team this spring.

The 29-year-old is currently seeking another opportunity to extend his six-year major-league career in 2018. He’s coming off of two down years with the Brewers and Rangers, during which he slashed a cumulative .169/.229/.262 with four extra bases through 70 plate appearances.