Jump to content

Providing independent coverage of the Minnesota Twins.
Subscribe to Twins Daily Email

The Forums

Blake Snell a trade target or not

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 05:39 PM
I would personally be happy to offer up Kirilloff and a few other prospects for him!!! What do you guys think he would cost and would you...
Full topic ›

Is Cruz a MUST signing? And what if he doesn't fit?

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 06:54 AM
Let me state I love Cruz and want him back if possible. I not only believe he brings class, experience, knowledge and leadership to the t...
Full topic ›

Free Agency / Re-Signings 2020-21 Offseason

Other Baseball Today, 08:11 AM
Free agency is likely going to be a really slow burn this year, but I still think it's worth having a thread to discuss signings. ...
Full topic ›

Twins Spotlight Episodes

Twins Minor League Talk Yesterday, 04:47 PM
I'm going to try to keep a running list of all of the Twins Spotlight episodes here. Feel free to discuss any of them, ask questions or l...
Full topic ›

Comments on 41 MLB baseball I visited with 5 to go

Other Baseball Yesterday, 09:05 AM
I've been to 41 MLB parks with 40 since 1993. I missed 5 or 6 starting in the early 1990s when I landed my first computer job and then jo...
Full topic ›

Forecasting Sano in October

Miguel Sano hasn’t had the season he expected from the very onset of 2020. His overall numbers look bad, but Sano has been the same streaky hitter we’ve seen in years past. Heading into the postseason, Sano may be one small flick of a switch from being the monster he’s shown he can be.
Image courtesy of Image courtesy of © Ben Ludeman-USA TODAY Sports
2020 has been a tale of three seasons, or rather three streaks. The first was a brutal cold streak. Sano spent much of his early summer quarantined in a room in his home with an asymptomatic COVID diagnosis. While the virus didn’t take its toll on his body, his ramp up time was affected. He opened the season 1-17 with no walks and 8 Ks as fans panicked.

The turn of the calendar was kind to Sano, as he seemed to adjust on the fly. He was one of the best hitters not only in the Twins lineup, but in all of baseball. Sano hit .284/.394/.636. He was 73% better than a league average hitter according to wRC+. In a lineup that was struggling mightily, Sano was seemingly putting on a show night in and night out.

Unfortunately as the Twins offense has heated up in September, Sano has gone ice cold again. He sat a few times with neck stiffness at the peak of his performance and it clearly ruined the roll he was on. In September he’s well below the Mendoza line and hasn’t managed to get on base even 20% of the time. Having only one peak to go with his two valleys on the season has left him with an overall line that barely shows him as an above league average hitter. His talent is undeniably so much better than this.
Attached Image: Sano Savant.PNG

Sano has shown his entire career that he has an unmatched ability to punish mistakes when he makes contact. While he’s the worst case of swing and miss you’ll find across the MLB, his plate approach when he’s at his best is enough for him to cause his fair share of damage. When he’s taking bad pitches and drawing his walks, he’s dangerous. And that’s exactly what’s missing from Sano’s game right now.

Sano’s walk rate is sub 3% in September and was a solid 0% in his first 17 ABs where he looked lost. Even if you weren’t paying close attention, his quality of at bat is much different this month than when he was peaking in August where his walk rate was over 10% higher. We’ve seen a lot more flailing at pitches well off the plate in September.

So what’s Sano’s issue? Plate discipline is typically a pretty consistent skill among hitters and it seems to come and go in Sano’s case. Combining July and September, Sano is hitting under .200 against fastballs with expected stats that don’t offer much inspiration. In August however, Sano made more contact with fastballs and paired it with an exit velocity over 101 mph. He hit .372 against the pitch and slugged .814. His launch angle was 17 degrees which is prime for barreling the ball when you’re averaging 101 mph off the bat.

September in particular has been strange. Sano has seen more fastballs, swung and missed at them less and somehow is doing less damage. It might be as simple as him just missing his pitches. He’s not whiffing on fastballs, but I have more than a few ABs in mind where he fouled off pitches he would have crushed a month ago. In addition, his launch angle has risen from 17 to 24 degrees against fastballs which means he’s getting under the ball much more often instead of lining it into some poor stadium seat in the second deck. All of this adds up to something just barely throwing Sano’s timing off in my opinion. He sometimes looks to be cheating on pitches and winds up sacrificing his plate discipline, in other cases he’s just missing fastballs and either fouling them off or popping them up.

At any rate, this isn’t one of the deep slumps we’ve seen from Sano over the years. He sinks or swims with his ability to connect with fastballs. He’s not completely missing them, but rather seems to have just a miniscule timing issue ever since he sat with his neck injury. He’s taking some big swings now that suggest the neck isn’t bothering him, but he may very well still be looking for his perfect timing again which I’d argue is very close.

You should feel relatively good about Sano headed into the playoffs. He always seems to be one swing away from breaking out of his slumps and he appears to be right on the edge of exploding again according to his swing and miss rates which are all that matter in Sano’s case. If we see some smart at bats and timed up fastballs to close down the season, the Twins first round opponent likely won’t be able to afford a single mistake to the slugger. Miguel Sano is the kind of hitter who can carry a lineup when he’s right, and with the Twins looking not quite as lifeless as of late, he may just make our 1-9 too much to handle in October.

— Latest Twins coverage from our writers
— Recent Twins discussion in our forums
— Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
— Follow Cody Pirkl on Twitter here

  • ToddlerHarmon likes this

  • Share:
  • submit to reddit
Subscribe to Twins Daily Email

Subscribe to Twins Daily Email


How about a place on the bench?I am so tired of the big K.He has too much talent to do the strikeout or HR nonsense.A HR is one run.Only one run.It can when a game, but ask Bert Blyleven - a solo HR is not a game winner in most occasions. 

    • peterb18, jun and puckstopper1 like this

In the playoffs last year, Sano went 1 for 12 with 8 Ks and 1 HR. At this point I don't see him doing anything different unless he suddenly gets hot... which is a possibility. 

    • peterb18, jun and mikelink45 like this
Maybe if he'd stop pulling off pitches away? I can't believe the coaches haven't told him to go opposite field. Or maybe they just want him trying hit HRs every at bat.. idk

He should be on the bench during the play-offs with Gonzalez at 1B. He's not a starting ML player right now. 

    • peterb18 and mikelink45 like this

His biggest problem is he tries to hit 500 foot home runs every time he swings. I'd like to see a different approach especially when he has 2 strikes. How come the hitting Coach and Manager can't get him to try to make contact when he gets to 2 strikes instead of swinging for the fences. His cold streaks last way to long to be an effective part of a lineup and are really a huge liability. I wouldn't care if he was traded. I believe he was the fastest player ever in the history of baseball to reach 1000 strikeouts. 

Is he too blind to see how hitting doubles and singles, like Arraez did last night can be MORE productive than 3 or 4 strikeouts? 

We all know he is strong. We've heard it over and over, again and again. We've seen some massive Home Runs. Will he ever grow up, quit trying to show off how far he can hit a baseball, and just become a good HITTER to actually help his team? If he would cut down on his swing make better contact get some singles and doubles, the Home runs will still be there. He doesn't HAVE to swing hard to hit it over the fences.

    • peterb18, mikelink45 and heresthething like this


He should be on the bench during the play-offs with Gonzalez at 1B. He's not a starting ML player right now. 

I tend to agree but instead of Marwin, who isn't hitting either, I would suggest Wade. He played a pretty good defense in his few opportunities. He also has much better plate discipline. He may not hit a lot of home runs, but he gets on base and is fast.

    • mikelink45 and blindeke like this
Sep 27 2020 10:42 AM

My 89 year old Aunt dubbed the current version of Miguel "3 swing Sano" - strike 1, strike 2, strike 3.


Given that the quality of pitching ramps up the further you go in the playoffs, it is unlikely that Sano will heat up when the Twins need him the most.

    • mikelink45 likes this
Same song over and over again. Thought he was finally getting the message last year but apparently not.
    • peterb18 and mikelink45 like this
Ole St Carleton
Sep 28 2020 01:52 PM

Either Wade or Gonzales would be a vast improvement on defense and more dependable at the bat. We've got plenty of guys that can hit the bombas, keeping one in the lineup simply hoping he can catch a mistake 1 out of 30 times is not good management. Especially when the other 29 times result in at least 20 strikeouts.

    • peterb18 likes this

I have a hunch he may be gone when some of the young guys are ready like Kirloff, and others. As of now he is too easy of an out.