A slugging first baseman from Westchester who played high school ball in Fairfield County was taken in the first round of the MLB Draft.
Rye Brook native Aaron Sabato, who played prep ball at the Brunswick School in Greenwich, is taking his talents to Minnesota after being drafted 27th overall to the Twins.
Undrafted out of high school, Sabato made a quick name for himself at the University of North Carolina, vaulting him into the first round after debuting as a shortstop.
During his freshman year with the Tar Heels, Sabato, 21, hit .343 with 18 home runs and earned national freshman of the year honors in 2019. In 19 games this past season, before the COVID-19 pandemic shut down sports, he batted .292 with seven home runs and 18 RBI.
Sabato also made the first-team All-America and Freshman All-America teams while the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association named Sabato the National Freshman Hitter of the Year. He was named the ACC Freshman of the Year and made first-time all-ACC.
Coming out of high school, Sabato was ranked the number two shortstop, number four player in New York, and he was the 35th-ranked shortstop nationally by Perfect Game. During his senior year, Sabato hit .560.
His freshman year at UNC, Sabato had 24 multi-hit games and 18 multi-RBI games, eventually going on an 11-game hitting streak, while ending the season reaching base safely in 28 consecutive games.
Sabato became the third Tar Heel in manager Mike Cox’s 21-year career to hit for the cycle when he accomplished the feat while driving in four runs against NC State on May 16 his freshman year.
According to MLB, the recommended bonus for Sabato at the 27th overall slot in the draft is more than $2.5 million.
“I certainly think he fits in with the last few iterations with our club, the Bomba Squad and all that,” Twins scouting director Sean Johnson said to the Star Tribune. “But yeah, we really value his offensive upside and ceiling, the power threat, all those things are really hard to procure in the draft and to pick in the back end of the first round, we feel lucky to have him there.
“Our hitting coordinators and player development guys were thrilled about Sabato’s swing, the power,” Johnson continued. “These power guys are a little more tricky sometimes because you are not sure how much they can tap into their raw power.
“At the end of the day you have to be able to put the ball in play, make contact and control the strike zone, and Aaron Sabato does all those things. He checks all the boxes in that regard.”
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