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Hi gang!     Had a whale of a busy August-September, so couldn't spend much time on the threads. But things now leveling o...
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Article: Supplementing the Twins: Tyler Chatwood

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Cubs Pitching Coach fired. Buddy of Molitor.

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Go get Verlander

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Didn't see that coming.
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2017 Twins Player Predictions: Miguel Sano

Might Sano set a record for the Twins in 2016. His 178 strikeouts broke Brian Dozier’s one-year-old record of 148 punchouts in 2015. It was an impressive feat considering he missed the month of June on the Disabled List. Sano enters 2017 knowing he will be back at his more natural position, third base, after last year’s erstwhile attempt in right field.

While most consider Sano’s 2016 a down season, he still had 25 home runs. However, after such a strong showing in the final three months of 2015, expectations were very high. Still just 23-years-old, Sano has a ton of potential. His power remains legit, but he’ll need to find a way to put the ball in play more often.

That’s the question at the plate. Meanwhile, there are lingering questions about how well he will be able to play third base defensively too.
Image courtesy of Seth Stohs, Twins Daily
What can Miguel Sano do in 2017? Can he take the next step and put it all together offensively and defensively? Can he come close to the .916 OPS he put up in 80 games as a rookie, or will his OPS be closer to the .781 mark he hit in 2016?

Below you will find my predictions (or guesses, if you prefer) for Miguel Sano’s 2017 season. Consider posting your thoughts and your predictions into the comments below. It’s always fun to take a look at the end of the season and see how our predictions look.


KEY NUMBERS

35.5% and 36.0% - These are Miguel Sano’s strikeout rates in his first two MLB seasons. Frankly, these are numbers that really need to drop. It isn’t going to happen over night, and his 43% K-Rate in spring training doesn’t exactly lend itself to much confidence. As disappointing, his walk rate dropped from 15.8% in his freshman season to 10.9% in his second season. 10.9% is still solid, no question about that, but these two numbers are patterns to watch.

Consider slugger Chris Carter. He led the the National League with 41 home runs in 2016, yet he had to wait most of the offseason to sign (for just $3 million) in large part because he’s one-dimensional and strikes out a ton. Just once in the last five years has he had a K-rate as high as Sano’s these first two years. He’s been in the 31-32% range except one year he had a 36.2% K-rate. It’s just indicative of why it’s important for Sano to do more than DH and reduce his strikeout rate.

0.896 - That is the fielding percentage Sano had in 42 games in 2017. Not to beat a dead horse, but Sano will have to prove he can handle the position. Personally, I think he’ll be fine, bumping that number closer to 0.940. With the Twins in a transition season, hopefully between a 59-win season and a possible playoff berth, it’s worth giving Sano the full year, but his value is much higher if he can stay at third base.


PREDICTIONS

Miguel Sano: 553 at-bats, .253/.346/.506 (.852), 32 doubles, 3 triples, 34 home runs.

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Part of these numbers is Sano finding a way to stay on the field. I have him playing in 148 games. If he is able to stay at third base and stay healthy, I think he’ll put up some monster numbers, probably even higher than what I have shown here. The key, of course, will be finding a way to put the ball in play more often. Striking out 36% of the time just isn’t a good way to find success. If he is able to play this much I have little doubt that he will be able to put up his first 30-homer season.

It will be an interesting season for Miguel Sano, filled with lots of questions. Can he reduce his strikeout rate? How many runs can he drive in? Will he be able to play adequately at third base, or will he be limited to just DHing for the rest of his career?

YOUR TURN

Your turn. Share your thoughts on and predictions on Miguel Sano in 2017. We can take a look back at the end of the season and see how we did.


PREVIOUS PREDICTIONS

Jason Castro
Joe Mauer
Brian Dozier
Miguel Sano


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37 Comments

I hope he is able to play adequate defense. Have there been any reports of efforts he's making to improve his defense? I hope that he can learn to cut down on the strikeouts as well. He has a ton of potential.

I wouldn't change a number from what Seth wrote. 

 

I also predict adequate defense. 

    • Deduno Abides likes this
Finally, a thread where I can use these rose-color sunglasses that came in the mail...

This will be Sano's breakout year. All-Star representative, adequate defense. Flirts with 40 HRS. Draws nearly 100 walks. OPS close to .900
    • Seth Stohs, Mike Sixel, sploorp and 3 others like this

My hope for the health front is that Sano is only playing at 3B against right handed starters. When the Twins (hopefully) rest Mauer against most lefties, I hope they take advantage of the situation and put Sano at DH/1B and get Escobar some time at SS/3B. It'll make the defense better and help preserve Sano's health.

 

I'm hopeful for a bigger year from Sano. He should have much better protection behind him and batters on in front of him. Hopefully get a few more fastballs over the plate.

    • Mike Sixel and 70charger like this

His lack of contact is my biggest concern. I think he will be better defensively at 3rd. And I am concerned about him ever living up to the hype he was given.29HR 84RBI .235BA200+K's, eeh.

I love his potential, I hate his K rate. At his current rate we can say that he gives up a high percentage of his at bats.  Does this really increase his home runs or does it just reduce batting average and create more pressure for the other batters because they have to play with less outs for moving batters, sacrifice flies and other options. 

 

When I look at Cabrera and Ortiz I see K rates half of Sano.  Someone has to reach him.  The habit of striking out is hard to break as he goes along, but the potential he has to make things happen when he either makes contact or walk is significant. 

 

I am hoping ST is just empty stats, but I am concerned.  So I give him a 240 BA, 30 HRs when he should have 40.  I hope to be proven wrong, but Sano will decide.  As for defense, I have nothing to judge it by.  He has been here two years and we did not see enough at 3B to know. 

    • sploorp, KidBro and RichReese like this

I said before ST that he'd be an all-star this year.  Wish his ST had been better but I'll stick with it.  Something close to .265/.350/.520 with ok defense.  Top 10 in homers, close to what Seth's prediction is.

    • sploorp and Vanimal46 like this
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Bob Sacamento
Mar 29 2017 11:36 AM

 

His lack of contact is my biggest concern. I think he will be better defensively at 3rd. And I am concerned about him ever living up to the hype he was given.29HR 84RBI .235BA200+K's, eeh.

His contact will always be an issue but his power potential along with his ability to work the count and draw walks will always pick him up.  I think Seth's projection line (.253/.346/.506 (.852)) was pretty close to where I'd guess with the Bocaton too

 

 

An average around .240-.260 with an OBP of .330-.360, and a SLG of .475-.515 with slightly below average defense at 3B, so a slash of somewhere between

 

.240/.330.475/.805 to .260/.360/.515/.875

 

which would put him at a 2.5 to 3.5 Win player for 2017 not bad at all for the 23 year old.

    • Mike Sixel, Deduno Abides, Vanimal46 and 1 other like this
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Willihammer
Mar 29 2017 11:43 AM
He has a good eye and takes good ABs. The power is there. What the heck is his problem with contact?
Parker?
    • Original Whizzinator likes this

Sano's success of course largely has to do with his development of making contact at the plate and not chasing pitches.  A small part of it has to do with a pitcher's willingness to pitch to him.  So far, they've been largely uninterested in throwing strikes and fastballs near the plate.  Sano would benefit from having a more productive #5 hitter (yes, more productive than Trevor Plouffe [aside: Plouffe is hitting .425 so far this spring]) so pitchers sometimes feel obliged not to pitch around Sano.  A breakout season from Park or Vargas might do the trick.

 

If he's healthy, I think we all agree he's a lock for 30 home runs (which is no small feat!).  I'd say 35 homeruns, .250 BA.  And I sure hope he can pass 100 RBI.  

 

For reference, here's all the Twins who have surpassed 100 RBI this millenium:

 

Josh Willingham (2012, 110)

Delmon Young (2010, 112)

Jason Kubel (2009, 103)

Justin Morneau (2009, 100; 2008, 129; 2007, 111; 2006, 130)

Torii Hunter (2007, 107; 2003, 102)

Michael Cuddyer (2006, 109)

Corey Koskie (2001, 103)

 

Could Sano ever eclipse Morneau's high mark of 130?  Killebrew's 140?

    • sploorp likes this

To get his 2016 line up to a .260 AVG, Sano would need to add 10 hits, for a resulting BABIP of .371.

 

That K rate is going to have to come down for that average to go up, and it doesn't look like he's made any progress toward that goal so far this spring.

 

(Although to be fair, leaguewide AVG is down about 15 points in the last 10 years -- .259 was the MLB non-pitcher average last year. Maybe there's not so much shame in a lower average, although it would cap his upside at "good hitter" rather than "great hitter")

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Bob Sacamento
Mar 29 2017 11:54 AM

 

 

Could Sano ever eclipse Morneau's high mark of 130?  Killebrew's 140?

Sure he could but RBI's are more of a "team stat". Miggy would have to have a couple of tablesetters in front of him to get up there in the total. If Buxton ever learns to get on base at a steady clip that could happen sooner.

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Bob Sacamento
Mar 29 2017 12:02 PM

 

To get his 2016 line up to a .260 AVG, Sano would need to add 10 hits, for a resulting BABIP of .371.

 

That K rate is going to have to come down for that average to go up, and it doesn't look like he's made any progress toward that goal so far this spring.

All I'll say is that Kris Bryant took his 2015 K rate from 31% to a 22% in 2016 so it is possible albeit Bryant is a better hitter.  Still if Sano can go from 36% to 28% that will make a huge difference

    • diehardtwinsfan, spycake, Vanimal46 and 1 other like this

 

All I'll say is that Kris Bryant took his 2015 K rate from 31% to a 22% in 2016 so it is possible albeit Bryant is a better hitter.  Still if Sano can go from 36% to 28% that will make a huge difference

That would be huge, but so far Sano is trending the wrong way.

 

Here are Bryant's spring training K rates:

 

2014: 55% (11/20)

2015: 32% (14/44)

2016: 24% (15/62)

2017: 21% (12/58)

 

Here are Sano's to date:

 

2016: 31% (20/64)

2017: 43% (22/51)

.240/.340/.480.  too many K's and below average defense.  Hope I'm wrong.

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WiesbadenDAN
Mar 29 2017 12:51 PM

I really just hope for a K rate below 30% and the rest will take care of its self.   

    • sploorp likes this
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Pardon My Dinger
Mar 29 2017 01:17 PM
Homeruns good. Strikeouts bad.
    • Bark's Lounge and sploorp like this
To me, Sano is 1 of 2 players likely to bring premium talent and a legit future ace in a trade. I would give him half a season to improve the k rate, put the team on his back, and show that he's ready to lead this team into contention. Otherwise i'd consider moving him at the deadline. The consensus here is that he's a good hitter, not great, and that k rate and defense and possibly health could prevent him from reaching his ceiling. If you had to bet one way or the other which way do you lean? Do we want to build the team's future around those question marks? How does the rest of the league view him?

 

To me, Sano is 1 of 2 players likely to bring premium talent and a legit future ace in a trade. I would give him half a season to improve the k rate, put the team on his back, and show that he's ready to lead this team into contention. Otherwise i'd consider moving him at the deadline. The consensus here is that he's a good hitter, not great, and that k rate and defense and possibly health could prevent him from reaching his ceiling. If you had to bet one way or the other which way do you lean? Do we want to build the team's future around those question marks? How does the rest of the league view him?

 

If we think he's not great, why would a GM give up 3-4 prospects, including a pitcher in the top 10 - 20 prospects in teh game?

    • Dantes929 and bighat like this
Ha Delmon Young has the most RBI of any Twin this millenium.
    • bighat likes this

 

Ha Delmon Young has the most RBI of any Twin this millenium.

Single season in the current decade, you mean? Millenium would be Morneau's 2006.  Total this millenium or decade, Delmon is only 10th in Twins RBI.

 

Finally, a thread where I can use these rose-color sunglasses that came in the mail...

This will be Sano's breakout year. All-Star representative, adequate defense. Flirts with 40 HRS. Draws nearly 100 walks. OPS close to .900

 

Can you send me the link to Amazon so I can get myself a pair?

    • Vanimal46 likes this

I'm not sure where I read this, but the biggest concern I have for Sano is attitude as he reportedly spends so much club house time on the phone.Once Dozier and Mauer are gone, the team will need leaders.

 

His agent needs to have a talk with him.

    • NoCryingInBaseball likes this
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Pardon My Dinger
Mar 29 2017 03:08 PM

I'm not sure where I read this, but the biggest concern I have for Sano is attitude as he reportedly spends so much club house time on the phone. Once Dozier and Mauer are gone, the team will need leaders.

His agent needs to have a talk with him.

Must've read it in some ian kinsler quote or something.
    • Bark's Lounge likes this
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Deduno Abides
Mar 29 2017 03:38 PM

I'm not sure where I read this, but the biggest concern I have for Sano is attitude as he reportedly spends so much club house time on the phone.Once Dozier and Mauer are gone, the team will need leaders.
 
His agent needs to have a talk with him.


They are talking. Sano is saying "Aqui viene eso pendejo, Souhan. Dejame hablar contigo hasta que salga de aqui."
    • ashburyjohn, diehardtwinsfan and 70charger like this

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