When David Ortiz left the Twins for Boston, he complained that the Twins tried too hard to make him a "disciplined, complete hitter," or something like that. He said they tried to make him hit the ball oppo in certain counts, while Ortiz simply wanted to bash every ball as hard as possible. According to Ortiz, the Red Sox let him become Big Papi, a home run hitting beast he was meant to be.
I am wondering if the Twins are making the opposite mistake with Miguel Sano. Are they simply refusing to tamper with his massive swings, or are they allowing Sano to refuse any significant coaching on his massive swings?
Thing is, I have seen Sano hit the ball for singles. The man can handle the bat, when he wants to. To me, Sano's "problems" with his swing seem more like policy confusion than mechanics. When he doesn't commit to his planet-splitting home run swing, Sano can barrel the ball up with shocking precision. I say 'shocking' because his singles swing is so much different than his home run swing. I have seen Sano flip his wrists and send an easy line drive to the outfield. When he swings like that, does he still have the same vulnerabilities? I suspect not.
In fact, I suspect that Twins management is telling Baldelli to give Sano the home run green light every at-bat. Why? Comes down to the old butts in the seats. People come to the stadium to see Sano bash a ball twenty feet over the wall, not to see him stroke singles, even if a single would drive in a game-winning RBI.
I agree with Parker that Sano needs to load up earlier, so he can get a better read on pitches. But if he does that, it won't change Twins policy about Sano. They will still want him to do his massive swing, even in situations where the team really just needs a hit. The problems may seem separate, but are they really? When Sano reduces his swing to stroke singles, some of those will still go over the wall. He doesn't need to put every ounce of his strength in to every swing, just barrel it up and watch 'em fly. It's a little like the Sandy Koufax problem. Koufax didn't need to throw so hard to get guys out. In Sano's case, he doesn't need to swing so hard to hit balls out.