The Twins added to their already loaded lineup earlier this week when they selected North Carolina first baseman Aaron Sabato in the first round of the MLB Draft.
The 6-foot-2, 230-pound slugger should fit right in with the Twins after he clobbered 25 home runs in 83 games with the Tar Heels over the past two seasons. While he has issues defensively, the initial reviews have been mostly positive.
Although Sabato ranked 41st on MLB.com's Top 200 draft prospects list, the Twins clearly viewed him much higher. Twins MiLB hitting coordinator Donegal Fergus was one of those with a high opinion on Sabato, ranking him second overall on his big board.
Despite the lower ranking, MLB.com still saw Sabato as a nice addition to the Twins. Although there are major question marks defensively, they believe Sabato's bat should have no problem translating to the major leagues.
"A right-handed hitter, Sabato possesses exceptional strength that combines with his bat speed and the loft in his swing to give him well-above-average raw power," MLB.com's scouting report said. "Almost all of Sabato's value will come from his bat, so he'll have to hit. He worked hard to improve his defense and has reliable hands at first base, but he lacks range and had below-average arm strength before he hurt his shoulder."
Others including Last Word On Baseball's Andrew Brown believe that Sabato compares favorably to 2019 National League Rookie of the Year Pete Alonso, who slugged 53 home runs with the New York Mets.
"Both have a hefty build and stature with [Alonso] coming in just 15 pounds heavier than Sabato," Brown wrote. "Both have the ability to hit at least 25-30 home runs across single major league campaigns."
Brown also noted that Sabato had better stats than Alonso coming out of Florida, with Sabato cranking 17 bombs compared to four for Alonso. Sabato also needed just 19 games to hit seven homers, which eclipsed Alonso's sophomore total of five.
Scott Forbes, who coached Sabato at North Carolina also had high praise, hinting his personality could fit in well with the characters of the Bomba Squad.
Minnesota had the opportunity to look at Sabato first hand during the Tar Heels' trip to Minnesota in February. He put on a power display during batting practice at U.S. Bank Stadium and also got the upper hand on Gophers ace Max Meyer, who was selected third overall by Miami.
After turning 21 on Tuesday, Sabato has plenty of upside as he makes his way toward the major leagues. While it's doubtful the Twins would carry him on the roster in the event of a taxi squad during the upcoming season, Sabato could rise quickly because of his bat.
If his development goes well Sabato can be an eventual replacement for Nelson Cruz or Miguel Sano if his transition to first base doesn't work out, giving the Twins another powerful bat in the middle of their lineup.