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Front Page: Miguel Sanó Was Everything We Were Promised in 2019

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#1 Matt Braun

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Posted 21 November 2019 - 09:30 PM

I have been on a number of different roller coasters in my life. In fact, there’s a wonderful picture of my family and I riding Space Mountain from when I was 10 or so and that picture has been sitting proudly in the living room for nearly a decade now. I’m also a fan of the Bleachers song “Rollercoaster” and the Red Hot Chili Peppers track “Love Rollercoaster”. But, despite all this experience with roller coasters, I have never seen one quite like Miguel Sanó’s career.Sanó was tabbed as an uber prospect for years with power that actually went above the light tower that other prospects can hit. He proved his ability during his first taste of the majors in 2015 but then suffered injury setbacks in 2016 due in part to the inexplicable decision to have him play right field. 2017 was a step back toward the right direction as he was named to the All-Star game and set a new career high in fWAR.

But then, 2018 happened.

We have all had days where absolutely nothing went right but rarely do you see someone have an entire year full of bad luck. I don’t have the time to go into detail with everything that happened, but saying “getting demoted to A+ wasn’t even a top 3 bad thing to happen that year” summarizes it well.

Naturally, the questions began to pile up regarding the future of Sanó with the Twins. Many questioned his work ethic, criticized his weight, and pointed toward his strikeouts as reasons why he will not succeed in the future. Some of these criticisms were fair, some weren’t in my eyes, but it was impossible to ignore the fact that Sanó would need to prove himself in 2019 if he wanted to have a future with the Twins.

And did he ever prove himself.

Sanó got off to a bit of a rough start in 2019 as he suffered a foot injury in the Dominican Republic after dedicating the entire offseason to getting into shape. The injury took away about the first month of the season for him but that hardly mattered in the end. Sanó ended 2019 with a 137 wRC+ and a new career high in fWAR with 2.7. That wRC+ total was good for fourth among third baseman with at least 400 plate appearances and is the highest number he has put up since his rookie year.

Believe it or not, Sanó was also actually a hair better in high leverage situations as he put up a 141 wRC+ in situations dubbed by Fangraphs to be “high leverage”. That number is better than players such as Austin Meadows, D.J. Lemahieu, and Ronald Acuña Jr. Although, if you remember the numerous clutch homers he hit in 2019, that number may not actually surprise you.







The one major drawback for Sanó is that his defense at third base remained quite poor, so poor that the eventual move to first base seems to be inevitable either this coming year or next. His value will be somewhat capped as first baseman are a dime a dozen, but his 137 wRC+ would still have him fourth among first baseman with at least 400 plate appearances in 2019.

Either way, Sanó proved himself in 2019 and showed that he still has the ability to be the player we were all promised years ago. Sometimes we have to remember that player development is not linear and this is a very difficult sport where even just being slightly off in a small facet of your game can be the difference between being a star and being AAA fodder. For Sanó, he demonstrated that he is one of the better hitters (if not the best) on the team and he certainly proved that he is better than Chris Carter.

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#2 insagt1

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Posted 21 November 2019 - 09:58 PM

I will stick my neck out as an oldtimer and ask what the heck do all those new 'stats' mean? I don't like that baseball has been reduced to all these metrics which make everything so mechanical. I can't remember the last time I attended a game where someone hit a big HR and the fans all got giddy and buzzed...wow, what launch angle...what exit velocity. Its a new world....

 

I also think voicing this on this site will make me very unpopular, but its an opinion and I have noticed that newcomers comments here are not embraced with much friendliness. Thats too bad too.

 

As for Sano--he still needs to cut down on the k's. No question he did get several very big hits during the season and he was a much improved hitter. Still a work in progress. Is he ultimately going to be a 1Bman? Probably.

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#3 tony&rodney

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Posted 21 November 2019 - 11:36 PM

The big man was huge for the Twins in 2019. Awesome vids and memories. He can be even better too: defensively and in plate discipline. Sano seems to have the skills but his body requires enormous work ethic. I think he is up for it and 2020 could be a treat for Twins' fans.

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#4 diehardtwinsfan

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Posted 22 November 2019 - 07:22 AM

 

I will stick my neck out as an oldtimer and ask what the heck do all those new 'stats' mean? I don't like that baseball has been reduced to all these metrics which make everything so mechanical. I can't remember the last time I attended a game where someone hit a big HR and the fans all got giddy and buzzed...wow, what launch angle...what exit velocity. Its a new world....

 

I also think voicing this on this site will make me very unpopular, but its an opinion and I have noticed that newcomers comments here are not embraced with much friendliness. Thats too bad too.

 

As for Sano--he still needs to cut down on the k's. No question he did get several very big hits during the season and he was a much improved hitter. Still a work in progress. Is he ultimately going to be a 1Bman? Probably.

It wont' make you unpopular. You're entitled to that opinion, and to some extent I think a lot of people share it...

 

There's no question that this has transformed the game. I do think there's question about whether or not all of these transformations are good for the game... that's a separate issue and well worth it's own thread if that's something you want to discuss. 

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#5 clutterheart

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Posted 22 November 2019 - 07:24 AM

 

I will stick my neck out as an oldtimer and ask what the heck do all those new 'stats' mean? I don't like that baseball has been reduced to all these metrics which make everything so mechanical.

 

I don't understand how quantum physics works but it doesn't distract me from enjoying my toast in the morning.

 

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#6 diehardtwinsfan

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Posted 22 November 2019 - 07:26 AM

 

 

The one major drawback for Sanó is that his defense at third base remained quite poor, so poor that the eventual move to first base seems to be inevitable in either this year or next. His value will be somewhat capped as first baseman are a dime a dozen, but his 137 wRC+ would still have him 4th among first baseman with at least 400 plate appearances in 2019.

 

 

I know everyone talks about this, but I'd argue that this is something that should be put off as long as possible. It's not like his defense at 1st is going to suddenly be stellar, though I do agree at some point this change will happen... My guess/argument would be no sooner then when Cruz is retired/leaves (and if he has a good 2020, I'd argue that we should be re-signed)... 

 


#7 mikelink45

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Posted 22 November 2019 - 07:45 AM

The question of whether he goes to 1B or stays at 3B is really the question of who else will play either of those positions.3B has never been considered a defense first position, but that was before all the shifts that put the 3B at traditional SS so often.So enlighten me on the positional importance.

 

The question of who goes there if Sano doesn't really seems like the big issue.Adrianza had a career year, I do not see him repeating it and his bat is not what we traditionally want from 3B.Gonzales is not a 3Bman.So who is coming up to 3B?Is it Blankenship?Is it Lewis?Do we move Polanco there?  

1B is traditionally the spot you dump big bats, but we have an excess of options for that position - listen to all the people who want Garver to play there more often.So Sano can fit there, but who do we remove from the lineup by shifting him to the right side?And who do we put in the lineup with that same shift. 

 

The question is not just about Sano defense. 

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#8 John Bonnes

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Posted 22 November 2019 - 08:01 AM

I would really, really, REALLY like to see him repeat his performance this year. That to me is the biggest question. We know he can overcome adversity. But can he overcome success?

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#9 Dantes929

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Posted 22 November 2019 - 08:34 AM

"I don't care how the game ended, this moment was baller as hell." I cared!I still can't believe Hicks was even more ballerer as heller after that. Twice!I am hoping Sano works just as hard and comes in healthy. His plate discipline was exponentially better than it was in 2018. As far as defense, I think his future is and probably should be at DH. I suspect that future will be somewhere else though so am not fretting about it much.

If you build a man a fire, he'll be warm for a day.
If you set a man on fire, he'll be warm for the rest of his life.

#10 diehardtwinsfan

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Posted 22 November 2019 - 08:48 AM

 

I would really, really, REALLY like to see him repeat his performance this year. That to me is the biggest question. We know he can overcome adversity. But can he overcome success?

 

If you consider how bad he was to start the year, it's quite possible he improves over last year... 

 

But yeah, with Sano he hasn't really strung good seasons together. I do hope he's preparing this offseason with that in mind. 


#11 Puckett34

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Posted 22 November 2019 - 08:51 AM

I'll just say this. Watching Sano home run highlights is a delight.

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Hit dingers. Never bunt.

#12 Shaitan

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Posted 22 November 2019 - 09:23 AM

fwiw, "Love Rollercoaster" is a cover, originally by Ohio Players.

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#13 PDX Twin

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Posted 22 November 2019 - 09:30 AM

Sano might be more of a liability at 1st than at 3rd. He might get fewer balls hit at him, but if he can't pick low throws he's going to create dozens of errors for others.

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It's great to get out of the cellar ... as long as you bring something with you.


#14 JD Green

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Posted 22 November 2019 - 09:42 AM

Considering Sano's childhood and all the changes he has had to go through has been overwhelming for him. It has taken time for him to grow up and constantly adjust during the past few years. It looks like he has come to a time where he is finally able to start settling in and he is realizing that if its going to be, its up to me. I am optimistic that we will see more upside still to come.

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#15 bighat

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Posted 22 November 2019 - 09:50 AM

 

I will stick my neck out as an oldtimer and ask what the heck do all those new 'stats' mean? I don't like that baseball has been reduced to all these metrics which make everything so mechanical. I can't remember the last time I attended a game where someone hit a big HR and the fans all got giddy and buzzed...wow, what launch angle...what exit velocity. Its a new world....

 

I also think voicing this on this site will make me very unpopular, but its an opinion and I have noticed that newcomers comments here are not embraced with much friendliness. Thats too bad too.

 

As for Sano--he still needs to cut down on the k's. No question he did get several very big hits during the season and he was a much improved hitter. Still a work in progress. Is he ultimately going to be a 1Bman? Probably.

 

It won't make you unpopular - I think many of us agree with you to an extent. You're totally welcome here, buddy!

 

I also hope Sano cuts down on the striketouts!


#16 PDX Twin

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Posted 22 November 2019 - 10:06 AM

 

I also hope Sano cuts down on the striketouts!

 

I'm not too fond of touts, so I wouldn't mind if he struck a few more. He'd probably get in trouble with the law, though. :)

It's great to get out of the cellar ... as long as you bring something with you.


#17 Number3

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Posted 22 November 2019 - 10:33 AM

How about an full season for starters. .270/30/100 being a reasonable result and not a liability at 3b. Play 140+ games, no time on DL/IL. 2020 needs to be the year.

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#18 insagt1

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Posted 22 November 2019 - 11:21 AM

I think the general consensus here is that we are all pulling for him to be all he can be, because that will only make the Twins better as a team, I used to say in defense of the sluggers who hit .200 with a ton of HR's and k's...its not how many hits you get but its when you get them. If Sano k's his first 4 times up, but slams a game winner in the 9th in his 5th AB...and does this enough, it's hard to really complain. Some hitters just seem to be able to rise to occasion. Many say statistically, there is no such thing as a 'clutch hitter' over 600 AB's...yet your eyes will tell you that some guys just thrive on the pressure of the situation while others fail miserably.

Example from 'my day': Warren Cromartie of the Expos was usually very close to being a .300 hitter....yet when Expos needed a hit, he would hit into DP's. It was the 'softest' .300 in the business. His bat turned to sawdust with men on base. I'm sure you all can think of other examples.

Last year Sano got a lot of big hits in among his k's. He fell apart in the playoffs, but he wasn't alone there.


#19 laloesch

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Posted 22 November 2019 - 11:39 AM

1st base? just make him DH and be done with it.

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#20 Sconnie

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Posted 22 November 2019 - 11:42 AM

I second John’s question and follow it up with: How’s his mobility another year removed from having a metal rod inserted into his leg and his foot more fully healed?

Sure, he may never be a plus defender at third, but with better health, maybe he can be good enough.
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