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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

 

 

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.

 

Unfortunately, it's really early, as Sano is still only in AA. The Twins have a little luxury of time here waiting for Sano to rub the dust off. Maybe another week or more in Pensacola, and maybe a week or two in AAA, now we're talking early June.

    • h2oface likes this

I'd rather have the extra bat than a 13th pitcher. Happy to send Morin back down, he seems like the definition of "Just Another Guy", and looking at bullpen usage over the last 5 days we had 4 pitchers who only threw once in that time. Unless the rotation collapses (other than Pineda, we seem to be in pretty good shape there right now with Perez & odorizzi on hot streaks, berrios being berrios and Gibson starting to round into form). get back down to 12 pitchers. having an extra crappy guy at the very back end doesn't add value, but flexibility in pinch hitting might be the right counter to tough bullpens.

    • jokin and wabene like this
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LA VIkes Fan
May 07 2019 10:07 AM

 

Unfortunately, it's really early, as Sano is still only in AA. The Twins have a little luxury of time here waiting for Sano to rub the dust off. Maybe another week or more in Pensacola, and maybe a week or two in AAA, now we're talking early June.

You're right, one to many As there. Sounds like we agree on the bottom line - Sano is at least a month from coming back to the Bigs. By then, lots of things may have happened not the least of which are injuries that open up a spot or two. 

    • jokin likes this
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Taildragger8791
May 07 2019 10:14 AM

 

Unfortunately, it's really early, as Sano is still only in AA. The Twins have a little luxury of time here waiting for Sano to rub the dust off. Maybe another week or more in Pensacola, and maybe a week or two in AAA, now we're talking early June.

 

I'll be curious to see what the Twins consider 'ready' for Sano. If a few weeks from now he's hitting 10/50 with 5 homers, 5 walks, and 25 strikeouts...is that promotion-worthy? Do they option him and tell him to work on the plate control?

 

You're right, one to many As there. Sounds like we agree on the bottom line - Sano is at least a month from coming back to the Bigs. By then, lots of things may have happened not the least of which are injuries that open up a spot or two. 

Sano's 20 day rehab period expires May 20th. I seriously doubt he's optioned at that point. He'll be back with the Twins the 20th in Anaheim, is my guess.

    • Thrylos, h2oface, Platoon and 2 others like this
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Taildragger8791
May 07 2019 10:34 AM

 

Sano's 20 day rehab period expires May 20th. I seriously doubt he's optioned at that point. He'll be back with the Twins the 20th in Anaheim, is my guess.

 

This is my assumption as well. I just wonder if there's a threshold at which they do option him and make him earn the promotion, or does he get the veteran scholarship treatment despite how he ended last season?

I'm just excited to see Sano back in the lineup. If the team is still swinging the bats the way they are once he returns, I can see very good things happening for him offensively as long as he shows some patience. He's never had the lineup protection that he's going to have now.

    • Thrylos and Don Walcott like this

 

Isn't that why we signed Marwin? So he can be the solution to whatever injury/lack of production comes up over the season?

 

Also, isn't that why we grabbed Ronald Torreyes?

 

He's having a terrible offensive year at AAA, but isn't his glove well regarded? If Polanco goes down and we want the defense, isn't Torreyes the guy (if Adrianza is gone)?

    • Vanimal46, wabene and railmarshalljon like this
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ChrisKnutson
May 07 2019 11:44 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.


I think the D-backs could be another possible destination for Cave as well (Souza’s season ending injury)(OF prospects long ways away). While I’d definitely prefer any of the Giants veteran bullpen arms, I don’t think a return of Jimmie Sherfy and Emilio Vargas would be all that bad.
    • LA VIkes Fan likes this
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nicksaviking
May 07 2019 11:58 AM

Cave goes first, then my money is on the team trying to get Morin back through waivers and accepting a Rochester assignment. The Twins haven't had much issue getting relievers through waivers lately. 

 

I'd bet Adrianza won't be on the chopping block unless the rest of the roster stays healthy when they have to make a decision on Mejia, but they still might choose to cut ties with Mejia over Adrianza seeing as Mejia hasn't been too helpful this year and the team is leading the division.

 

I don't think Reed suits up for the Twins again unless his return to health coincides with multiple injuries on the 25-man.

    • Mike Sixel, TheLeviathan and Vanimal46 like this

I think Cave and the bottom rung of the bullpen ride the AAA/MLB/AAA shuttle until the trading deadline. Around that time, they'll make at a move and somebody hits waivers. Probably Adrianza. I imagine they picked up Torres as a failsafe if the lose EH and need a 10-15 day IL replacement along the way and Gordon isn't ready. 

I don't think Reed suits up for the Twins again unless his return to health coincides with multiple injuries on the 25-man.


Concur. He's broken now, probably for good. The only way I'd want him back is if he gained the 2 MPH he lost last season.
    • nicksaviking and wabene like this

Given that adjustments to rosters are made continuously by all teams during the course of a long season, the real question is how long of a leash will Sano have when he returns? It actually makes Baldelli's job easier that Gonzales hasn't been tearing the cover off the ball but the Twins are winning with the roster they have and his defense can't be questioned. I am still not sold on Sano as a long term every day solution and I hope his defense is solid enough to allow his offense to come around. I also hope that his return is not coincidental with a losing streak of any kind.

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stringer bell
May 07 2019 12:38 PM

I think it is up to Sano how soon he is recalled. If he hits and fields his position, he will be up by 5/20. If the Ks keep coming and the hits stop, he'll be optioned. I don't think there are any guarantees.

 

I just checked BB Reference for something and each day they have assorted photos of player all the way from the 19th Century to today. Right next to each other were two guys who were going to be superstars, Gregg Jeffries and Grady Sizemore. Both had their moments, but weren't all-time greats. Sano was promoted that way as he came up. I just don't know if it will happen for him.

    • brvama and LA VIkes Fan like this

 

Given that adjustments to rosters are made continuously by all teams during the course of a long season, the real question is how long of a leash will Sano have when he returns? It actually makes Baldelli's job easier that Gonzales hasn't been tearing the cover off the ball but the Twins are winning with the roster they have and his defense can't be questioned. I am still not sold on Sano as a long term every day solution and I hope his defense is solid enough to allow his offense to come around. I also hope that his return is not coincidental with a losing streak of any kind.

 

What does not sell you on Sano as a long-term everyday option in the event that he's healthy?If you're worried about his ability to stay healthy on a consistent basis, that's fair. However, that takes out the controversy. 

 

Miguel Sano's career OPS is .813.His career averages per 162 games are 35 HRs - 100 RBIs - 30 2Bs - 90 runs - .336 OBP.That includes his awful injury filled half season last year.  

 

Before that his numbers per 162 were ~ .350 obp - 40 HR - 35 2B - 110 RBIs - 100 runs.  

 

Nelson Cruz is the only active Twin who gets on base more in terms of career averages.Cruz is also the only guy who rivals Sano in terms of power production or run producing potential.

 

Questioning Sano's ability to stay healthy is fair, suggesting that he falls short of the Miguel Cabrera type player some hoped him to be is also fair, not liking his style of play is fair too.

 

However, questioning his overall body of work in terms of production when on the field is disingenuous.End of story.

 

For me, it's hard to put a ton of stock into Sano slumping and playing through injuries before shutting things down as the true value of his production over the previous sample of 1200 ABs.We have seen already with Buxton how much stock should be put into injury-ridden small sample sizes.

 

Sano is held to a different standard by Twins fans because of what he can be and what he already is, is often forgotten.  

 

Even last season, Sano at his worst is essentially a slightly better of the current version of CJ Cron.Again that is a slumping/injuried/not 100% Sano versus a 100% Cron.Use that measure to put things into perspective.

 

The idea that adding Sano to the 4/5 spot in this lineup won't immediately and dramatically improve the teams offensive depth and ceiling is objectively absurd.

__________________________________________________________________

 

There are very real questions about Sano's long-term future due to his injury issues likely stemming in large part from weight issues stemming from lifestyle choices that lend to the idea that he's a player that lacks maturity, focus, and work-ethic.However, despite those very real truths the production and body of work he's put up over a 1400 plate appearance sample (and especially over his first 1200 plate appearances) speaks for itself and should not be discounted or minimized.

 

 

    • Mike Sixel, brvama, jokin and 5 others like this

 

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.

 

 

He'll get to AAA, but not yet. After the Monday, May 6th game, for his current rehab stint, he's 5/16 with 2 homers, 2 walks, 7 RBI, 6Ks, hitting .313/.400/.688 with an OPS of 1.088 after Monday's 0-fer 5. Two games with The Miracle, the second being a 4/4, and then promoted to Pensacola. So he is 1-11 in AA, not AAA. But for his 5 games...... not too bad of a line for "spring training". No matter what the totals end up, it will still be SSS and in the minors, regardless of level.

 

I think there is no hurry as well. Give him time. But I certainly am not discouraged after 5 games in rehab. And I think it is all one rehab.... regardless of his level, and it would be prudent to look at the whole SSS picture as it develops, instead of chopping it up to even smaller.

 

http://www.milb.com/...itting/2019/ALL

    • wabene likes this

 

Sano's 20 day rehab period expires May 20th. I seriously doubt he's optioned at that point. He'll be back with the Twins the 20th in Anaheim, is my guess.

 

Great time to see 3 games at Angel Stadium!

    • USAFChief and jokin like this
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LA VIkes Fan
May 07 2019 04:33 PM

It will be interesting to see if he's on the roster by 5/21. I wouldn't be surprised if they leave him in AA or AAA until he starts to dominate at the plate. We don't really NEED him right now, although having him when he's ready helps a lot. Wouldn't be surprised to see him still in the Minors for another month. 

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LA VIkes Fan
May 07 2019 04:35 PM

 

He'll get to AAA, but not yet. After the Monday, May 6th game, for his current rehab stint, he's 5/16 with 2 homers, 2 walks, 7 RBI, 6Ks, hitting .313/.400/.688 with an OPS of 1.088 after Monday's 0-fer 5. Two games with The Miracle, the second being a 4/4, and then promoted to Pensacola. So he is 1-11 in AA, not AAA. But for his 5 games...... not too bad of a line for "spring training". No matter what the totals end up, it will still be SSS and in the minors, regardless of level.

 

I think there is no hurry as well. Give him time. But I certainly am not discouraged after 5 games in rehab. And I think it is all one rehab.... regardless of his level, and it would be prudent to look at the whole SSS picture as it develops, instead of chopping it up to even smaller.

 

http://www.milb.com/...itting/2019/ALL

I'm not discouraged, I just don't think we need to be in any hurry to promote him right after the 20 day rehab runs out. He's got options and the next time he comes up should be the last time. We should wait until he shows he's ready by dominating in the Minors and then recall him. 

    • wabene likes this

 

 

I don't think Reed suits up for the Twins again unless his return to health coincides with multiple injuries on the 25-man.

 

Started a rehab assignment today formally I think, so he has until about 6/6 to make it or be cut.

    • h2oface likes this

 

It will be interesting to see if he's on the roster by 5/21. I wouldn't be surprised if they leave him in AA or AAA until he starts to dominate at the plate. We don't really NEED him right now, although having him when he's ready helps a lot. Wouldn't be surprised to see him still in the Minors for another month. 

 

Third base production is dismal! We need much better. Now whether it ends up coming from Sano, or others, it is certainly a need, especially from third base. Plus, he could have a week of crap, and then two days of it clicking in..... that is when someone is ready to go. Slumps in the show are always happening, even to the best. Rosario started the season 0-14 or something, and is in another slump now. Or, we could keep having to give Adrianza at bats, even though we would rather not, but we have to. A hot spring training didn't mean much to his MLB readiness it seems.

 

Player Batting Stats - As 3B
http://www.espn.com/...type/2/split/81

    • MNT1996 likes this
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yarnivek1972
May 07 2019 05:00 PM
I would hope a pitcher is sent out to make room for Sano.

 

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):)

 

The Stringer/Jokin plan is fine with me. I just feel that the same argument for not needing 13 pitchers could also be made for not needing 13 position players. 

 

If I have a concern... a slight concern... it'll be the back end of the bullpen and I'd like to audtion some guys and see who can step up because it's a long season. I'm willing to grant the extra roster space to the bullpen in the name of discovery. 

Great time to see 3 games at Angel Stadium!

I'm considering it.
    • h2oface likes this

 

The Stringer/Jokin plan is fine with me. I just feel that the same argument for not needing 13 pitchers could also be made for not needing 13 position players. 

 

If I have a concern... a slight concern... it'll be the back end of the bullpen and I'd like to audtion some guys and see who can step up because it's a long season. I'm willing to grant the extra roster space to the bullpen in the name of discovery. 

 

Your concern is legitimate. I'd like to think of it as a separate issue.

 

I guess I'm just a little more old school. What i like about 13 position players is that it gives you multiple ways and opportunities to manufacture and/or secure close game victories via timely pinch hitting, in-game lineup shifts, late-inning substitutions and rest for veterans.

 

It's hard to get 8 RPs into a game to help win a close one without affecting next-game effectiveness, but relatively easy to have 4 bench players properly utilized in roles that lead to a win- without affecting their ability to play well in the succeeding games.

 

I prefer having my #13 (14, etc) pitcher on speed dial in Rochester.

    • Riverbrian and JLease like this

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