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Article: Game Thread: Twins@Mariners 5/25 9:10PM

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 09:59 AM
The Twins kick off a 3-game series in Seattle tonight and I’m going to be serious for once in my life.I’d like everyone’s attention as I...
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Interesting article about Buxton

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 09:59 AM
I enjoyed the article linked below about Buxton. As you can see, the Twins and lots of other folks seem to think that he could be a hall...
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Article: Twins Daily Roundtable: Top Prospect Timelines

Twins Minor League Talk Today, 09:52 AM
Twins Daily Roundtable is a new weekly series. As part of this series, a question will be posed to the site’s writers and they will respo...
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Hanley Ramirez DFA'd

Other Baseball Today, 09:48 AM
Red Sox DFA'd Hanley, Thoughts?   https://www.mlb.com/...ent/c-278245918
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Article: Did Minnesota Just Summon the Ghost of Christmas...

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 09:54 AM
In the Charles Dickens classic, A Christmas Carol, Ebenezer Scrooge is visited by three ghosts.The last of these phantoms, the Ghost of C...
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Twins 2018 Position Analysis: Third Base

A weighty issue. A giant question mark. An elephant in the room.

Whatever hackneyed wordplay you want to use, Miguel Sano is a radiating source of mystery in Minnesota Twins camp, and his enigmatic aura extends to the position he inhabits.
Image courtesy of Kim Klement, USA Today
Projected Starter: Miguel Sano
Likely Backup: Eduardo Escobar

Depth: Ehire Adrianza, Erick Aybar, Taylor Featherston
Prospects: Travis Blankenhorn, Andrew Bechtold, Jose Miranda

THE GOOD

It's all too easy to forget now, but just eight short months ago, Sano was the lone All Star rep from Minnesota's lineup. By the break, he already had 21 home runs with an OPS over 900, solidifying his status as long-term cog in the Twins infield.

Though clearly playing above his listed weight of 260 pounds, he still respectably held his own at third base, making the majority of routine plays and occasionally flashing excellence with his cannon arm.

Sano is an incredible talent. Let's not lose sight of that. He launched a pair of leisurely home runs on Friday in his sixth game of the spring, and that kind of thing should still be the expectation. If he's in the lineup, he's going to be a major threat. Even with his downslide after the All-Star break last year, the 24-year-old was on pace for 37 home runs before going down with a shin injury in August. With 71 career dingers in the books before age 25, he's on a rare pace.

There are forces working against Sano – some of his own making, others not. But he is young enough to overcome them and put them in the rear view mirror. If it's always darkest before the dawn, then perhaps we're on the verge of a true breakthrough, which in Sano's case would simply mean a full season's worth of games (he's yet to play more than 116 in an MLB campaign) while realizing his 40 HR, 100+ RBI potential.

In the event that Sano needs to miss time due to a suspension, setback with his leg, or some other affliction, the Twins are blessed with a pretty strong fallback option. Eduardo Escobar filled in brilliantly at the hot corner last year after the starter went down, slugging .529 with 10 bombs to basically mirror Sano's prodigious power output.

Escobar finished with a .758 OPS overall, and has slashed .257/.304/.413 over the past four seasons. He's a better contingency than most teams have behind their best hitter, and his presence has been a big factor in mitigating the sense of alarm around Sano's ambiguity.

THE BAD

Optimism aside, the alarm is well warranted. Sano has an assault investigation floating over his head, a steel rod in his shin, and plenty of skeptics surrounding him in the organization. Those might include his manager.

Always measured in his words, Paul Molitor conveyed some leeriness when talking to Brian Murphy of the Pioneer Press last month:

“I think the trend has been [Sano's] figuring some things out; some things have been a little harder to get through to him,” Molitor said. “At times I’ve tried to involve people that might be able to provide a voice that will penetrate. We’re just trying to get him to see the bigger picture.

“He loves to play. It’s all in front of him. He, as much as anyone in that clubhouse, wants what’s in front of him, but I’m not sure he understands what is required to reap those rewards — of competing, winning, financial security, taking care of his family. We’re trying."

Such sentiments toward Sano are nothing new, but it was easier to be sympathetic when he was a 22-year-old rookie. Today he's a 25-year-old who's shown up at camp with – in the kindest possible phrasing of his general manager – a "generous carriage." According to Pat Reusse, Sano is rumored to have weighed in this spring at 293 lbs.

Where would that heft rank among all major-league players? It's almost impossible to say, given the sweeping inaccuracy of official listings (again, MLB's site still has Sano at 260), but I think we can safely say he's among the top handful of players. There's not likely a larger fielder outside of first base in the game.

This isn't a knock against his all-around outlook as a big-leaguer, because I happen to believe that Sano can be a monster hitter even at three bucks, but the reality is that he's on the verge of becoming untenable at third base. A certain spryness requisite to the position becomes elusive for a man so large.

Barring a reversal in physical development, which might be unrealistic given his genetic makeup, Sano appears destined for DH. The question is when. Minnesota's front office is hoping he can hold out as long as possible, because right now the system is thin on replacements.

Yes, Escobar can fill in short-term. But he's eligible for free agency after this season. And the next in line behind him as a legit starting option at the position is... well, completely unclear. A trio of recent high draft picks stand out as the brightest long-term hopes: 2015 third-rounder Travis Blankenhorn (21), 2016 second-rounder Jose Miranda (19) and 2017 fifth-rounder Andrew Bechtold (21). But none will be arriving anytime soon.

So suffice to say it would be really nice if Sano could hold it down at third for at least a couple more years. Which might help explain why the Twins haven't really entertained the idea of moving him off the position, and in fact delayed any possibility of such an outcome by signing Logan Morrison.

THE BOTTOM LINE

It's all about Sano. If he can make a statement by proving himself healthy and at least serviceable defensively, the Twins will be more than happy to stick with him at third indefinitely. Sano's agility has always been better than you'd expect for his size, so maybe he'll surprise us even at this weight.

More likely, he'll need to put in work and slim down a bit to remain viable at the hot corner, but that's a perfectly feasible scenario. It's important to keep in mind that he was extremely limited in his ability to condition this past offseason. To pin the lack of weight loss on disinterest would be ignorant.

If things go amiss for the star slugger this season, Escobar provides a solid security valve, for now. After 2018, the front office may need to look at building out some better long-term depth at the position. Hopefully someone like Blankenhorn or Bechtold can take a big step forward.

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77 Comments

Blasted Perkins for what? He injured his arm. You’re either in the lineup or you’re not. Hard to help the team from the sidelines. Same as it’s hard to be a team’s best player only playing 120 games a season.


Perkins was quite portly, and didn't appear to be well conditioned.
But, as Levi said, not multiple threads about his weight and conditioning.
    • Thrylos and TheLeviathan like this

 

Perkins was quite portly, and didn't appear to be well conditioned.
But, as Levi said, not multiple threads about his weight and conditioning.

 

The same columnists who were discussing Sano's off-season weight issues were applauding Perkins's venture into home brewing and fried food...

 

Helps to be a Minnesotan vs a Dominican as far as the pundits are concerned...

    • h2oface, TheLeviathan and Shaitan like this

I am not one that is concerned about Sano, weight or no weight. I think he will be just fine. There is a cultural latino thing. All you have to do is live in and around LA to see and hear it. It is not malicious. Childish, yes. Persistent, yes. Hopeful, yes. Mean spirited, no.A super rich big child, that needs a trusted mentor. Missed the normal schooling because he was playing baseball.

 

I have the same intramedullary rod/nail in my right tibia since 1991. And it was to repair a complete Tib/fib break, not a slight annoying stress fracture. It was very quick healing, and I ran a marathon on it. Tons of physicality in addition. Never a bit of trouble, to this day. Let him play baseball, and play third base.

    • Thrylos and Broker like this

 

People are going to believe what they want on this subject. I'll just say this much: Peterson and (my goodness ESPECIALLY) Bridgewater are not built like Miguel Sano. Genetically he is simply a big kid, and his size fuels his incredible power.

 

Also, his rumored weigh-in this spring (per Reusse) is about the same as his exit physical in 2017 so it's not like he has added weight. It's just hard to lose a ton when you're unable to put in the physical conditioning work. 

 

So, inquiring minds want to know..... what exactly was it? Is it some secret? You sure it isn't....... 239 lbs? 

    • Thrylos likes this

 

Ok, so you've named one player who might weigh more (and is also 3-4 inches taller) and another who retired three years ago and was a notorious atrocity defensively.

 

I said "fielders" in the excerpt you quoted, so Lynn and Colon aren't relevant. Also I suggest taking a look at some pictures of Puckett and Newman when they were Sano's age before bringing them up in this conversation. Not comparable cases. 

 

24 Year Olds can eat metal garbage cans and carry on just fine. :)

 

 

The price for his lifestyle comes later.:)

    • Thrylos, Dantes929 and h2oface like this
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Deduno Abides
Mar 12 2018 06:48 PM
Last year, ten Twins had at least 400 PAs, including Buxton and his terrible first half. Of these ten, Sano was last or near last in the following hitting stats: strikeout rate, hitting sliders, hitting change-ups, hitting cutters, swinging strikes, contact at pitches in the zone (even though his swing rate at pitches in the zone was 0.2% below the most), contact at pitches out of the zone (even though he got the most pitches out of the zone).

He was the best at hitting fastballs, but he saw the fewest. That trend will likely continue. Hopefully the negative stats will improve. His talent is not in doubt. His ability to work hard enough to maximize his talent is the question. This isn’t even a weight or fitness issue. It’s whether he can put in the work to become at least a league average hitter against sliders and change-ups and/or learn to lay off of them.
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TheLeviathan
Mar 12 2018 07:34 PM

 

Blasted Perkins for what? He injured his arm. You’re either in the lineup or you’re not. Hard to help the team from the sidelines. Same as it’s hard to be a team’s best player only playing 120 games a season.

 

Right, you aren't even aware that there were conditioning concerns there.You should go look back at some excerpts of Jack Morris on Barreiro's show.Morris rips Sano, but he also ripped Perkins so I can respect his consistency and fairness.I can't say the same for everyone else ripping Sano.  

 

If injuries are your concern, I expect you to start a thread soon about how Buxton can't stay on the field either.

 

For whatever reason, Sano ripping seems to be something of a sport for some fans.I just don't get it.This kid is one of the best talents we've seen in our uniform in decades and it feels like we're trying to run him out of town.  

    • Thrylos, Mike Sixel, h2oface and 2 others like this

Last year, ten Twins had at least 400 PAs, including Buxton and his terrible first half. Of these ten, Sano was last or near last in the following hitting stats: strikeout rate, hitting sliders, hitting change-ups, hitting cutters, swinging strikes, contact at pitches in the zone (even though his swing rate at pitches in the zone was 0.2% below the most), contact at pitches out of the zone (even though he got the most pitches out of the zone).
He was the best at hitting fastballs, but he saw the fewest. That trend will likely continue. Hopefully the negative stats will improve. His talent is not in doubt. His ability to work hard enough to maximize his talent is the question. This isn’t even a weight or fitness issue. It’s whether he can put in the work to become at least a league average hitter against sliders and change-ups and/or learn to lay off of them.


That might be the most cherry picked ever. Why can't we just look at runs created, or Ops, or something that is close to measuring the outcomes he produced?
    • gunnarthor and TheLeviathan like this

So, inquiring minds want to know..... what exactly was it? Is it some secret? You sure it isn't....... 239 lbs?

"Sano, who is 6-foot-4, weighed 290 pounds when diagnosed with the stress reaction."
http://www.startribu...time/473965643/

So that was in August and I think there was an article that said he was at that weight in the exit physical though google isn't finding that. Just figured I'd help the convo with a quote.
    • h2oface and jimmer like this
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Deduno Abides
Mar 12 2018 09:31 PM

That might be the most cherry picked ever. Why can't we just look at runs created, or Ops, or something that is close to measuring the outcomes he produced?


Mike, these stats may not be on the back of Sano’s baseball card, but they are what other teams are looking at. The inability to hit breaking pitches, control the strike zone and make adjustments as opponents make their book on you are common career limiters. These stats exemplify Sano’s problems in these areas.
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Deduno Abides
Mar 12 2018 09:48 PM

That might be the most cherry picked ever. Why can't we just look at runs created, or Ops, or something that is close to measuring the outcomes he produced?

That might be the most cherry picked ever. Why can't we just look at runs created, or Ops, or something that is close to measuring the outcomes he produced?


And if you want to go with OPS, last year 57 players age 25 and younger had at least 400 PAs. Sano had the 12th highest OPS, which is good, but not an omen of a superstar, especially when he really doesn’t add any other value.

Further, his K rate in this group was second worst to Joey Gallo. This matters more than you may think, because in playoff baseball, hits are harder to come by. Good regular season stats matter less when every pitcher is good and they all have strikeout pitches. The ability to put the bat on the ball becomes of higher importance. Sano needs to fix his problems.
    • USAFChief, Twins33 and h2oface like this

 

For whatever reason, Sano ripping seems to be something of a sport for some fans.I just don't get it.This kid is one of the best talents we've seen in our uniform in decades and it feels like we're trying to run him out of town.  

Curious to know your thoughts on these questions:

 

* Do you think Sano can be very good to great defensively?  

 

* Do you think Sano's value to the Twins is significantly higher at 3rd base? 

 

* Do you think Sano's value to the Twins is reduced if he has to move from 3rd base to 1st base?

 

* Do you think Sano's value drops even further if he moves to full-time DH? 

 

* Do you think Sano will crush at the plate whether he weighs 250, 280, or 300 pounds?

 

* Do you think the higher his weight gets the more difficult it will be for him to stay on the field?

 

 

The same columnists who were discussing Sano's off-season weight issues were applauding Perkins's venture into home brewing and fried food...

 

Helps to be a Minnesotan vs a Dominican as far as the pundits are concerned...

Sometimes people are as much, if not more, preoccupied with the messenger as they are the message.

 

Does anyone freak out when Phil Miller or LaVelle mention Sano's weight?But some people lose their minds if Reusse or Souhan go there.  

 

Shoot, there was even a Sano article here on TD a while back that had the word 'Eat' in the title.Pretty sure that was no coincidence...  

Curious to know your thoughts on these questions:

* Do you think Sano can be very good to great defensively?

* Do you think Sano's value to the Twins is significantly higher at 3rd base?

* Do you think Sano's value to the Twins is reduced if he has to move from 3rd base to 1st base?

* Do you think Sano's value drops even further if he moves to full-time DH?

* Do you think Sano will crush at the plate whether he weighs 250, 280, or 300 pounds?

* Do you think the higher his weight gets the more difficult it will be for him to stay on the field?


My answers to your questions:

No.

Yes. He should stick at 3B as long as he can.

Not a significant reduction. Most all of his value comes from his bat.

Not really. His best professional season was 2015 where he was a primary DH and crushing the ball.

Yes. Hasn't he proven that already by still crushing the ball over the last 3 seasons at different weight totals?

Probably. He's doing just fine right now though.

 

Perkins was quite portly, and didn't appear to be well conditioned.
But, as Levi said, not multiple threads about his weight and conditioning.

 

The same columnists who were discussing Sano's off-season weight issues were applauding Perkins's venture into home brewing and fried food...

 

Helps to be a Minnesotan vs a Dominican as far as the pundits are concerned...

 

Let me get this straight your comparing Glen Perkins at 6'-0" and 205 lbs. to Sano whose 6'-4" and approximately 290 lbs.?....yeah okay

 

Mike, these stats may not be on the back of Sano’s baseball card, but they are what other teams are looking at. The inability to hit breaking pitches, control the strike zone and make adjustments as opponents make their book on you are common career limiters.

 

Confused.Are you talking about Sano or Buxton?

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Deduno Abides
Mar 13 2018 12:37 PM

Confused.Are you talking about Sano or Buxton?


Sano. Do you have a comment about Buxton?

 

Sano. Do you have a comment about Buxton?

 

The inability to hit breaking pitches, control the strike zone and make adjustments as opponents make their book on you are common career limiters.

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Deduno Abides
Mar 13 2018 04:09 PM

The inability to hit breaking pitches, control the strike zone and make adjustments as opponents make their book on you are common career limiters.


Of course, but Buxton’s stats in those areas last year were better than Sano’s, even with Buxton’s miserable start.

Buxton also adds value as one of the top players in the majors in at least two categories.

 

Of course, but Buxton’s stats in those areas last year were better than Sano’s, even with Buxton’s miserable start.
 

 

Data:

2017

Buxton: 7.4 BB%, 29.4 K%, 0.25 BB/K, .312 wOBA, 90 wRC+
Sano: 11.2 BB%, 35.8 K%, 0.31 BB/K, .361 wOBA, 124 wRC+

 

See that BB/K? Sano's strike zone control was better than Buxton's.And of course, their offensive production (wOBA, wRC+) was not even in the ballpark.

And this is not about defense or whether someone adds value another way.It was about:

 

 

 

The inability to hit breaking pitches, control the strike zone and make adjustments as opponents make their book on you are common career limiters.
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Deduno Abides
Mar 13 2018 04:48 PM

Data:
2017
Buxton: 7.4 BB%, 29.4 K%, 0.25 BB/K, .312 wOBA, 90 wRC+
Sano: 11.2 BB%, 35.8 K%, 0.31 BB/K, .361 wOBA, 124 wRC+
 
See that BB/K? Sano's strike zone control was better than Buxton's.And of course, their offensive production (wOBA, wRC+) was not even in the ballpark.
And this is not about defense or whether someone adds value another way.It was about:


Look, I’m not going to go further into a debate about whether Sano or Buxton has worse strike zone control, but I will say that a defense of Sano by saying he was better than Buxton after how Buxton started the year is in itself not a great case for Sano.

If you do want to discuss Buxton’s weaknesses, I’ve got a hunch you’ll have a chance soon. Unless the world stops, a centerfield thread should be posted in the next few days.
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TheLeviathan
Mar 13 2018 07:16 PM

Curious to know your thoughts on these questions:
 
* Do you think Sano can be very good to great defensively?  
 
* Do you think Sano's value to the Twins is significantly higher at 3rd base? 
 
* Do you think Sano's value to the Twins is reduced if he has to move from 3rd base to 1st base?
 
* Do you think Sano's value drops even further if he moves to full-time DH? 
 
* Do you think Sano will crush at the plate whether he weighs 250, 280, or 300 pounds?
 
* Do you think the higher his weight gets the more difficult it will be for him to stay on the field?


No, but he can be adequate like last year and thats just fine.

Yes it is. Our FO seems to agree since they just gave a 1B/DH a two year deal. Thats rather damning to your implied demise of Sano at 3B.

As for your weight questions, I dont have intimate knowledge of Sano's health data to assess what he "should" weigh. Any bold assertions to the contrary require a hefty amount of layman medical hubris.

I hope he is healthy and focused on being a force. I hope the organization is holding him to account on that. Im happy to see the organization remaining comitted to him at third.

And I hope he kicks some serious butt this year.
    • Thrylos likes this

 

No, but he can be adequate like last year and thats just fine.

Yes it is. Our FO seems to agree since they just gave a 1B/DH a two year deal. Thats rather damning to your implied demise of Sano at 3B.

As for your weight questions, I dont have intimate knowledge of Sano's health data to assess what he "should" weigh. Any bold assertions to the contrary require a hefty amount of layman medical hubris.

I hope he is healthy and focused on being a force. I hope the organization is holding him to account on that. Im happy to see the organization remaining comitted to him at third.

And I hope he kicks some serious butt this year.

I think Sano has the ability to be very good, if not great defensively.Not much denying his natural ability.Time will tell if he wants to put in the necessary work to excel in the field.Corey Koskie and Justin Morneau are two examples of guys that came to the Twins pretty raw in the field and through hard work made themselves excellent defenders.

 

I'd love for you to be right about Sano's 'demise at 3B'.I just don't see it if he keeps packing on the poundcake.

 

I believe Sano will crush at the plate (home plate, that is) regardless if he's 250, 280, or 300 pounds.That's what he does, and the fact that his is a large human being undoubtedly plays into why he's such a powerful hitter.But I wouldn't worry one iota about his abilities or power diminishing if he was carrying the equivalent of a bag of salt pellets less than what he currently is.

 

I won't even pretend to understand what 'layman medical hubris' means.But I find it quite disingenuous to believe his chances of staying on the field, and in the field, are unrelated to Sano's fitness level.  

 

    • Vanimal46 likes this
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TheLeviathan
Mar 14 2018 09:56 AM

I won't even pretend to understand what 'layman medical hubris' means. But I find it quite disingenuous to believe his chances of staying on the field, and in the field, are unrelated to Sano's fitness level.

What is disingenuous is believing you know anything about his fitness level. You were among those quick to jump on him based on rumors. Rumors that photographs quickly squashed, yet the crowing about his weight continues.
    • gunnarthor likes this

 

What is disingenuous is believing you know anything about his fitness level. You were among those quick to jump on him based on rumors. Rumors that photographs quickly squashed, yet the crowing about his weight continues.

Let's settle this:

 

Sano plays 138 or more games this season, I won't question his fitness on this forum until Opening Day 2020.

 

Sano plays less than 137 games, you stop being a Sano apologist until at least Opening Day 2020.

 

Also, winner chooses the loser's avatar for the entire month of April, 2019.

 

Deal?


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