Regardless of what happens from here on out this offseason, the most underrated move the Twins make will be the signing of Miguel Angel Sano. I feel confident saying this for two reasons:
1. If the Twins do nothing (or little) else people will say “all they did was sign that foreign amateur guy,” thus, intentionally or not, demeaning Sano and his importance.
2. The Twins will finally (ha) make a splash in the offseason by making a big move, thus causing Sano to get lost in the shuffle.
Regardless of which result comes to fruition, Twins fans need to realize the importance of the Sano signing. Even if he never pans out into the potential star his skill set projects, Sano represents a potential shift in how the Twins sign prospects. Not necessarily the types of players they sign, but at least the talent pool they sign from.
For years the Twins have focused primarily on markets other teams neglect, such as Australia. While this is a good strategy, and obviously allows the team to expand its talent pool, this thinking has yet to truly produce a big time player (with all due respect to Glenn Williams, of course). The Twins foreign strategy, however, has done little to hide their glaring inability to sign top or even middle road talent from Latin American countries.
While other teams are able to corner this market and bring in some of the games biggest stars, the Twins have been left in the dust.
Yes the Twins have seen good to great Latin players on their roster (Johan Santana, Luis Castillo, Orlando Cabrera, etc.) but most of those players have come from other organizations. The Twins have rarely been able to grow Latino players in their own farm system, and, with Latin America proving itself as a talent pool highly influential in the current baseball landscape, this has been problematic for the Twins.
Change can come about very easily, however. Signing a player in Sano who many scouts call one of the top amateur prospects in the world, is a pretty good start for change.
By signing Sano, the Twins have established themselves as a major contender in the Latin American market. When other young players from Latino countries see Sano as a Minnesota Twin, they become more familiar with the organization. The more players become familiar with an organization, the more likely it becomes they will be willing to sign - as they don’t make a trip to Minnesota during the winter months, of course.
The fact is, the Twins have now established a presence in one of the most important baseball markets in the world. What they do with that presence remains to be seen, but signing Sano is certainly a good start.
How Sano’s career plays out will ultimately determine how he is rated as a player, but as for now I am completely confident saying signing him will be the most underrated move of the Twins offseason.