I guess you missed the article on ESPN that talked about Bellinger and Trout and how batters are getting smarter and learning how to beat the shift and make choices about what to swing at.Not swinging less hard, but eliminating the trash that gives away an AB.
As an old guy I will always remember the sadness Mickey Mantle felt when his BA for his career dropped below 300.Yes contact can give you a DP, but it can also advance the runner, cause an error, get a hit, rearrange the defense.
I want Sano, but I also want a batter who has a little bat control.
Amazingly, you can add Joey Gallo to that list as well. I think he compares very well to Sano. Although Gallo's SO rate is almost identical to previous years at about 35.5, he has refrained from chasing so many bad pitches. His BB rate has climbed a whopping 6.1% from last year, and of course his BA is at a very nice .270+ and of course his OBP is now almost laughable at .421. What about his slugging; it must have dropped off a bit? Hardly. It is almost .100 points higher compared to his best season ever (making his OPS a number that is hard to believe at 1.074). His home run rate is actually up about 1%. In other words, when he does choose to swing, he is getting more hits and still driving the ball. Due to all of these factors, he will be in the all star game.
Am I here to trash Sano? No (I don't want to get pelted with frozen homer hankies). I do think he can become a better player and maybe even a star again. We don't have to take the attitude that he can never be... If we think he can't change than we are accepting the notion that he will always be a .225 hitter that hits 35 or so home runs, but also misses frequent opportunities in all situations. That is the Joey Gallo of last year (and all previous years), but the Joey Gallo of this year is an all star for a good reason. Sano has such potential, but will he become that player? That is indeed an interesting and a fair question to be asked.