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How Will Sano’s Return Impact the Roster?

So far this season, Minnesota has been clubbing the ball out of the ballpark at quite the rate. The team has been able to do this with one of their best sluggers, Miguel Sano, recovering from an injury. Sano is in the midst of a rehab stint and he is getting close to rejoining the big-league club.

How will Sano’s return impact the club’s roster?
Image courtesy of Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports
Marwin’s Struggles
Marwin Gonzalez has been getting most of the playing time at third base with Sano out of the line-up. Entering play on Monday, he is hitting .204/.271/.286 with four extra-base hits in 98 at-bats. These are far below his career totals (.261/.316/.414). One has to wonder if his late signing this spring has impacted his ability to get prepared for the season’s start.

Even with his struggles, Gonzalez has shown some positive signs this season. His 91.1 exit velocity is higher than his career average. It is also higher than the MLB average this season (87.4 mph). His launch angle is around the league average at 9.0 but it's below the totals he’s put together the last two years.

Defensively, Gonzalez ranks in the middle of the pack among American League third basemen. FanGraphs credits him with one defensive run saved so far this year. His 1.4 defensive WAR ranks him sixth among the 11 qualified AL third basemen.

Roster Space
Finding roster space for Sano could come from the back-end of the bench or from a 13-man pitching staff. From the bench, Ehire Adrianza seems like a likely candidate to make way for Sano. He’s hit .146/.250/.220 in 16 games this season. If Adrianza is the odd-man out, Gonzalez could shift to a fill-in role at multiple positions.

Jake Cave could also be sent back to Rochester if the Twins are comfortable with Gonzalez serving as the fourth outfielder. Cave has hit .206/.289/.235 this season with one extra-base hit in 14 games. He has more strikeouts (9) than hits (7). Cave might be more replaceable since Adrianza is currently listed as the back-up shortstop on the team’s depth chart.

Minnesota is also carrying 13 pitchers so the team could trim the pitching staff to 12 pitchers. Mike Morin, Fernando Romero or Matt Magill could all be candidates to taken off the 25-man roster. The Twins are in the midst of quite a stretch of games so the extra man in the bullpen might be a necessity.

Playing Time
If Sano is going to take back the reins at third, Gonzalez will need to slide into a secondary role. It still seems likely for Gonzalez to get playing time at other positions in the line-up, especially if Cave is the one sent down. Gonzalez’s ability to play multiple positions could shift him to a super-utility role in the weeks ahead.

Sano could also spend some time at designated hitter, but it seems likely for Nelson Cruz to continue to get the majority of those at-bats. Among regular non-catching starters, Cruz is tied with Max Kepler and Marwin Gonzalez for sixth most games played. His 38-year old body might need some rest in the months ahead.

How do you think Sano will impact the line-up? Who gets sent down? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.

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121 Comments

The well run and well managed Astros trusted Marwin enough at SS to put him there 301 times.
Sano coming back will free up Gonzalez to back up SS when needed.

We’ll see. And that’s the point. It will be interesting to see how the Twins look at it. So far, the only person the Twins have put at SS other than Polanco is Adrianza. And that includes games where a hot-hitting Astudillo was available to play 3rd. My guess is the Twins would be willing to give him the random game at SS to spell Polanco...but wouldn’t want to make him an everyday player there if Polanco went down.

We’ll see. And that’s the point. It will be interesting to see how the Twins look at it. So far, the only person the Twins have put at SS other than Polanco is Adrianza. And that includes games where a hot-hitting Astudillo was available to play 3rd. My guess is the Twins would be willing to give him the random game at SS to spell Polanco...but wouldn’t be willing to make him an everyday player there if Polanco went down.


Gonzalez has been the everyday 3B all season. He hasn't really been available to play anywhere else.
If they are that concerned about Marwin's SS defense, they can bring in/up a different solid glove, zero bat SS if Polanco gets hurt.

Perhaps they think Adrianza's bat is still developing. If so, then sure, they'll hang on to him. I don't know how they evaluate him. If not, he's very replaceable. Plenty of capable defenders can OPS .600 for you.
    • Dman and Vanimal46 like this

Plenty of capable defenders can OPS .600 for you.


The large majority of those that can do that while playing major league shortstop are already on major league rosters.
    • TheLeviathan likes this
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Aerodeliria
May 06 2019 09:25 PM

Please let it be Adrianza who is sent packing. The number of big hits this year can be counted on one finger. He is like 0-infinity in high leverage situations with RISP. Marwin and Astudillo can back up at 2nd.

 

I think Sano has a short leash, however.

 

The team has not missed either his bat or his defense.

 

Nope.

More like an intermediate leash.

Sano adds a potential game-changing dimension to this team. Adding even a .265 BA/.870-ish OPS batting line to this already-potent lineup could easily put the Twins over the top heading into post season.

 

And the fact that the team has done well without him actually BUYS him a LONGER leash to make his adjustments to becoming a regular contributor at the 5-spot in the order and at 3B or DH.

 

 

    • USAFChief, birdwatcher, Blake and 2 others like this

Nope.
More like an intermediate leash.
Sano adds a potential game-changing dimension to this team. Adding even a .265 BA/.870-ish batting line to this already-potent lineup could easily put the Twins over the top heading into post season.
 
And the fact that the team has done well without him actually BUYS him a LONGER leash to make his adjustments to becoming a regular contributor at the 5-spot in the order and at 3B or DH.


Concur, concur, concur.
 

Sano, playing to his capabilities, adds something to the lineup that they're not going to ever add through any type of in-season acquisition later.

 

 

"It's just like making a trade....only better." ©­®­™

    • Mike Sixel, James and jokin like this
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TheLeviathan
May 06 2019 09:48 PM

 

The well run and well managed Astros trusted Marwin enough at SS to put him there 301 times.
Sano coming back will free up Gonzalez to back up SS when needed.

 

Merely because another team did it is not good enough for me to try the same thing.Especially since Marwin had Bregman and Altuve flanking him as opposed to Schoop and Sano.  

 

I'm sure they will play him there a bit, but Adrianza was a .680 OPS player with a pretty good glove at SS.As hard as it may be to accept, this makes him a valuable player.As in, above average for what most teams have on their bench for SS.

 

It ain't gonna be him they send packing.At least not until they think Gordon is viable.

    • birdwatcher and Mike Sixel like this

 

Sano has an option remaining so if goes all 2018 on us... that could be a consideration.

 

However... right now... I'm personally not thinking that way. I'm reading 5-11 with 2 home runs and 7 RBI's in 4 games, I'm reading that he lost 25 pounds and he will be joining a team that is collectively stroking the ball. 

 

I think he's going to come up and blow the roof off. 

 

I've been wrong before.:)

 

If Sano and Astudillo come back with no one else getting injured for awhile.I can see a roster of:

 

Castro

Garver

Cron

Sano

Astudillo

Schoop

Polanco

Marwin

Rosario

Buxton 

Kepler

Cruz

 

Not one of those 12 deserve to be on the bench. Baldelli will have platoon options, match up options, hot/cold options. I can't wait! 

 

Who would be your #13- and would deserve to be on the bench in a mainly PH match-up or defensive role? At the rate the Twins SPs are performing, especially as they begin to play the bulk of their games in the weak "Classic Lake" division, that 13th pitcher should be unnecessary, or at least on the Roc shuttle (so far, most of the options called up are equally mediocre-to-bad, anyway).

 

Adrianza?

Gordon?

Cave?

Austin? (just kidding)

Valdespin? LHbat/ MI/.871 OPS in AAA

    • railmarshalljon likes this
Sano really hasn’t had a spring training this season, so I suspect we are weeks away from his return. Perhaps months away given his early form at Pensacola.

Sano had a three-run homer over the weekend but has been quiet otherwise. He was 0-5 today with 2 strikeouts. His BA is .091

Still early, he could surprise us but early returns show he needs to improve his timing and approach at the plate yet. Then, once he starts clicking, he will need to catch up at AAA.

I’m suspecting mid-June right now.

Hinch said you have nothing to worry about with Gonzalez, and he always starts slow. Also, during a Playoff interview..... he said that Gonzalez was the best short stop on Houston! That's saying something. Trading for prospects? Crazy talk.

    • jokin, Dman and wabene like this

 

Sano really hasn’t had a spring training this season, so I suspect we are weeks away from his return. Perhaps months away given his early form at Pensacola.

Sano had a three-run homer over the weekend but has been quiet otherwise. He was 0-5 today with 2 strikeouts. His BA is .091

Still early, he could surprise us but early returns show he needs to improve his timing and approach at the plate yet. Then, once he starts clicking, he will need to catch up at AAA.

I’m suspecting mid-June right now.

 

He's 5/16 with 2 homers, 2 walks, 6Ks, hitting .313/.400/.688 with an OPS of 1.088 after todays 0-fer. I guess you missed the 4/4 game. I don't know where you are getting your minor league totals from his re-hab stint so far. Maybe you are just considering most recent stop. It is all SSS, but let's be accurate with the totals. 

 

Sano has been around the Twins org since 2010. It is really time for him to explode and be a star, eh?

    • railmarshalljon likes this
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Don't Feed the Greed Guy
May 07 2019 03:14 AM
Astudillo .870 OPS rhb
Castro .848 OPS lhb
Garver 1.106 OPS rhb

Unheard-of production from behind the plate, and have you noted the slight uptick in the rotation since last year? Might have a little bit to do with who's calling the game. Castro is squatting on a surgically repaired knee. Astudillo and Garver inherit the catching duties in 2020, for now.

And who says Astudillo is a poor pinch hitting option? Pinch hitting is about making consistent contact, moving the runners over, and providing OPS.

Adrianza, OPS .470. His switch hitting is a plus, if he can hit and not get struck out by Chris Davis. Watching Marwin fill in at short is not as much of a pending disaster as having Ehire looming at the end of the bench at the end of the game with his bat in his hands.

Cave goes, then Adrianza, of maybe a pitcher. Sano needs one more shot at Winterfell. We want him to grow up and claim the title, Lord of the North.
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Aerodeliria
May 07 2019 03:25 AM

When Sano's ready, I am happy to have him on board. And then, let's hope, they send Adrianza packing. He has been a drain for most of the season.

 

How many times did Adrianza come to the plate with runners in scoring position in the two games he started against los Yanquis? Like four times? How many runners did he plate? "0" 

 

He must have a (-) WAR, and he's no Ozzie Guillen in the field. I checked his WAR. It's at 0.0. He really is a career utility infielder and there are guys out there who could do they same (even at Rochester) or even slightly better.

Adrianza gets a little more leash after slaying Verlander.  Dumping him might wreck the teams MOJO, a difficult to quantify stat but a real thing nonetheless.  Anyway, this will likely solve itself.

So when La Tortugas returns someone leaves? Cave? Andrianza? Then Sano returns? Someone leaves? Cave? Andrainza? (Sp) I can see Cave leaving, but I can't see them letting their backup SS go, unless they truly believe Marwin can play SS for a day. I can't believe they go down to 12 pitchers. What I fear but don't want is that Astudillo ends up the odd man out. I think it will come down to the choice between two utility players, Marwin and The Turtle. If that's the case, this FO will not dump their off season signee.

 

Who would be your #13- and would deserve to be on the bench in a mainly PH match-up or defensive role? At the rate the Twins SPs are performing, especially as they begin to play the bulk of their games in the weak "Classic Lake" division, that 13th pitcher should be unnecessary, or at least on the Roc shuttle (so far, most of the options called up are equally mediocre-to-bad, anyway).

 

Adrianza?

Gordon?

Cave?

Austin? (just kidding)

Valdespin? LHbat/ MI/.871 OPS in AAA

 

If it was me. I'm rotating the 12 position players and getting all of them consistent playing time.

 

I'm keeping the 13 pitchers because the back end of that bullpen has to be sorted out. Harper, Romero, Magill, Morin, Reed and Moya for 4 spots.

 

And... I'm not opposed to a little starting rotation conservation... not going 8 innings if they don't have to against the A.L. Central. 

 

Answering your question directly. I don't want anybody on the bench for an extended time so I'd take Gordon because they will have to play him. He's too young to watch others play. 

 

 

    • jokin likes this
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tarheeltwinsfan
May 07 2019 07:16 AM

 

Nobody should be comfortable with Adrianza playing everyday if Polanco has an IL stint, so I'm not sure why that hypothetical is the barometer for keeping him.
 

If not Adrianza, who?

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stringer bell
May 07 2019 08:32 AM

The Twins are averaging the second-most IP per start in the AL (heard on a Twins' broadcast). I don't see the need for all of Morin, Magill and Romero. For now, they can cut to 12 pitchers easy enough. Yes, they have to at some point add Reed and Meíja, but they should be able to do that and someone will suffer some sort of injury. They would have to add a 13th pitcher for the doubleheader next week. My guess is that Romero will be the "shuttle guy"going back and forth from Rochester. If they have to, they would DFA either Magill or Morin before they would lose Meíja or (from the position side Adrianza). If they are forced to go to 13 pitchers for a week or two, it is my guess that Astudillo is optioned. 

    • jokin and JLease like this

If not Adrianza, who?


Isn't that why we signed Marwin? So he can be the solution to whatever injury/lack of production comes up over the season?
    • beckmt, jokin, tarheeltwinsfan and 2 others like this
Wow, it's going to be a good problem to have trying to find ab's for all the hitters. I don't think I've ever seen a twins lineup this deep before.

Adrianza probably gets dfa'd at some point this season but I don't think it will be soon. Players with options will be sent down first.
Wow, it's going to be a good problem to have trying to find ab's for all the hitters. I don't think I've ever seen a twins lineup this deep before.

Adrianza probably gets dfa'd at some point this season but I don't think it will be soon. Players with options will be sent down first.
    • jokin likes this

 

Who would be your #13- and would deserve to be on the bench in a mainly PH match-up or defensive role? At the rate the Twins SPs are performing, especially as they begin to play the bulk of their games in the weak "Classic Lake" division, that 13th pitcher should be unnecessary, or at least on the Roc shuttle (so far, most of the options called up are equally mediocre-to-bad, anyway).

 

Adrianza?

Gordon?

Cave?

Austin? (just kidding)

Valdespin? LHbat/ MI/.871 OPS in AAA

 

Classic Lake.....that was awesome!

    • jokin likes this

 

If it was me. I'm rotating the 12 position players and getting all of them consistent playing time.

 

I'm keeping the 13 pitchers because the back end of that bullpen has to be sorted out. Harper, Romero, Magill, Morin, Reed and Moya for 4 spots.

 

And... I'm not opposed to a little starting rotation conservation... not going 8 innings if they don't have to against the A.L. Central. 

 

The Twins are averaging the second-most IP per start in the AL (heard on a Twins' broadcast). I don't see the need for all of Morin, Magill and Romero. For now, they can cut to 12 pitchers easy enough. Yes, they have to at some point add Reed and Meíja, but they should be able to do that and someone will suffer some sort of injury. They would have to add a 13th pitcher for the doubleheader next week. My guess is that Romero will be the "shuttle guy"going back and forth from Rochester. If they have to, they would DFA either Magill or Morin before they would lose Meíja or (from the position side Adrianza). If they are forced to go to 13 pitchers for a week or two, it is my guess that Astudillo is optioned

 

 

RB, I'm in Stringer's camp on this one.*

 

I'm just not seeing any of the above arms being obviously reliable enough over any other arm once the playoff hunt and postseason are a reality- and no amount of continued "sorting out" is going to make a difference. And good call by Stringer on the "M&M boys." One of them is destined to take the long walk off the short plank within the next month or so. Morin has looked good, but too soon to tell if it's just a mirage. Maybe both gone?...possibly, if the Fal/Vine duo do what they have to do and get another pen-bolstering upgrade arm.

 

It's almost hard to believe that at, at the least, there's a legit opportunity for a Series berth right in front of the Twins. Obviously, as in '87 and '91, home field advantage in the playoffs might make all the difference in getting there. Get her done, get her done NOW.

 

* (All of his campsites, actually):)

    • Riverbrian and wabene like this
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LA VIkes Fan
May 07 2019 09:37 AM

This may be a little early since Sano is now 1-11 in AAA and Levine was quoted as saying the team has "no sense of urgency" to bring him back until he proves he can hit in AAA. The more immediate issues are Astudillo being ready to come back soon andd Reed if he pitches well in his AAA rehab. 

 

I think the right way to start is to try to trade Cave. He proved last year that he belongs on a MLB roster and could start in the OF for at least 30-40% of MLB teams in CF. He's better than at least 1/3 to 1/2 of the starting CFs out there. If we can package him with prospects for a decent RP or a catching prospect even better. SF needs OFs in the worst way.Pillar is hitting .195, Gerber .067 and all 3 have OPS below .700, with Pillar below .600 and Gerber below. 400. The other 2 OFs on their 40 man stink in the minors - they go nothing. Cave starts there, plays every day and will probably hit .260-.280 with 15-20 HRs and a .775 -.825 OPS and he's only 26 so he's around for awhile if he works out. Good get for them. Trade Cave plus 1 or 2 of the good prospects we got last year at the deadline for Dyson, Smith or even Melancon. Any prospect is available except Lewis, Krilioff, Graterol, Thorpe, Alcala and Smeltzer. Send Romero to AAA with instructions to go back to being a starter -can the BP experiment, it didn't work and is waste of his talent. Gonzalez becomes the 4th OF with Kepler as the backup CF and Wade, Rooker and Weil as AAA depth.  

 

If not, the order is Cave to AAA with Gonzalez as the 4th OF when Astudillo comes back, and Romero to AAA when Reed comes back. Then Magill or Morin to AAA when Mejia is ready. I vote for Adrianza to the DFA list for Sano when he's ready rather than Astudillo. However, for all of the reasons stated above, I think it will be Astudillo to AAA instead, mostly because the FO sees Adrianza as the only true backup middle IF on the roster and it gives the team the most flexibility with options. 

 

We have one really fun problem - we have 14 guys who belong on a 12 man position player roster for a contending MLB team. Right now, we don't have to make a decision because of injuries to Astudillo and Sano. If everyone is healthy I think Cave is the 27th man and Astudillo the 26th, with Adrianza the 25th guy on the roster. 

    • ChrisKnutson likes this

 

 

So when La Tortugas returns someone leaves? Cave? Andrianza? Then Sano returns? Someone leaves? Cave? Andrainza? (Sp) I can see Cave leaving, but I can't see them letting their backup SS go, unless they truly believe Marwin can play SS for a day. I can't believe they go down to 12 pitchers. What I fear but don't want is that Astudillo ends up the odd man out. I think it will come down to the choice between two utility players, Marwin and The Turtle. If that's the case, this FO will not dump their off season signee.

 

Astudillo's options make this decision a little easier.


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