Sano Going To Let It Eat
Image courtesy of © Harrison Barden-USA TODAY SportsEntering the regular season, Miguel Sano finds himself in somewhat of a limbo. After being accused of sexual assault over the offseason (from an incident stemming years earlier), he awaits his fate as MLB conducts their investigation. My assumption is that some sort of discipline will be handed down, and given previous league decisions, it should come in somewhere under 30 games. Coming off a year in which he played 114 games for the Twins, he should still have opportunity to top that output. That being said, it's yet again another responsibility he's failed to make good on.
With reporters descending on Fort Myers for the beginning of Spring Training, it's once again come to light that Sano is significantly overweight. Derek Falvey hinted at that notion, suggesting the Minnesota third basemen's recovery from injury has gone well, but that he needs to now focus on getting to where he needs to be with his conditioning. That is a politically correct way of putting it, and in previous seasons Patrick Reusse has called it what it is. Miguel Sano is overweight.
Looking back to Reusse's column in March 2016, I had an issue with there seemingly being a suggested link between Sano being hurt because of being fat. While that may not have been fair, the Star Tribune columnist has been spot on when it comes to pegging the poundage for young Miguel. Once again, he's entered camp staring at 300 pounds and comes in around the 290 mark. To suggest that hampers relative production is unfair, but there are more than a few takeaways when it comes to what the scale is telling us.
First and foremost, there's a real lack of accountability to Minnesota for Sano. Having invested in him heavily as a player, and his development, the Twins have worked with him to stay on the infield dirt far earlier than the new regime's days. While shortstop was never going to be a reality, positional value at third base is significantly higher than having to be moved across the diamond as Joe Mauer's heir, or worse, solely a designated hitter. Despite having employed nutritionists in the clubhouse, and undoubtedly using offseason check-ins, Sano hasn't accomplished the Twins' goals in multiple seasons when it comes to his habits.
Secondly, there's the fallout in regard to the lack of accountability. Because of allowing his weight to balloon, the reality is that Sano's long-term value is sapped exponentially. Forget the reality that an increase to injury potential is a by-product of being overweight, the loss of a position makes one of the Twins greatest assets one dimensional. Even if he heads to first base, which is far from a foregone conclusion, Sano isn't viewed as the asset he could be if he was able to stick at the hot corner. Recently, KSTP's Darren Wolfson noted what was suspected all along: Sano wasn't going to entice the Rays into dealing Archer when seen as a one dimensional player.
At the end of the day, there are a few hard and fast realities for the Twins and Miguel Sano. First and foremost, they have a 24 year old who has failed to hold himself accountable, and has done so on multiple occasions. Secondly, they also have an extremely good ballplayer, who's capable of producing some of the greatest power outputs the game has seen on a year-by-year basis. I believe that in 2018 and beyond, Miguel Sano will put up multiple 30-plus homer seasons, and that he'll be of significant value going forward. I do also believe that the only person lowering his ceiling is himself.
No matter how his assault case shakes out, it seems as if there are multiple aspects of growing up when it comes to the opposite sex. No matter what his weight gets to, it's apparent there's a significant level of responsibility that can yet be adhered to. For both Miguel Sano and the Minnesota Twins, a stronger commitment to oneself from the player benefits all involved. Right now, there's a very talented ballplayer who can compete and produce at a very high level. If there is a comfortable situation here, where a point has been reached that improvement isn't demanded of the player to unlock superstar potential, well then, we'll only be able to wonder, what if?
- h2oface, mikelink45, tarheeltwinsfan and 4 others like this