"He's still got a lot to learn, that's what's so exciting," farm director Jim Rantz said of the 18-year-old third baseman. "Who knows what he's capable of?"
He was capable of pretty much anything at Rookie-level Elizabethton, pounding out an incredible 45 extra-base hits, including 20 home runs, in just 66 games. Sano, a Dominican who signed for $3.15 million two seasons ago, still needs to refine his defensive consistency because he made 11 errors in 67 chances at shortstop (.836 fielding average) and 15 in 159 chances at third (.905).
Best Pitcher: The Twins emphasize throwing strikes more than any other organization. Few pitchers have taken that message to heart as strongly as righthander Liam Hendriks. The native of Perth, Australia, walked just 21 hitters in 24 starts for Double-A New Britain and Triple-A Rochester, compared to 111 strikeouts in 139 innings.
Hendriks used a four-pitch repertoire, including a 91 mph fastball, to post a 3.36 ERA over the two levels, allowing just five home runs. He helped save a pair of pitching staffs that were debilitated by injuries and earned himself a September audition for Minnesota's 2012 major league staff.
Keep An Eye On: Center fielder Eddie Rosario, along with Sano, made history at Elizabethton. Only twice in the past two decades had a player rocked 20 home runs in a 68-game Appalachian League season. But Sano and Rosario, a 2010 fourth-rounder from Puerto Rico, both did it.
"They push each other, which makes them both better," Rantz said. Rosario hit one more homer than Sano, a league-high 21 in just 298 plate appearances. The 20-year-old Rosario also played all three outfield positions, earning him co-player of the year honors in the Appy League.
• Righthander Kyle Gibson had Tommy John surgery on Sept. 7 and will miss the 2012 season. He went 3-8, 4.31 in 18 starts for Rochester before complaining of elbow pain.
• Center fielder Aaron Hicks heads the Twins' eight-man delegation to the Arizona Fall League, where he will join, among others, lefty Scott Diamond, second baseman Brian Dozier and righthanders Bruce Pugh and Dakota Watts.