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Miguel Sano’s Consistent Streakiness


In the last week or so, something has clicked for Miguel Sano and he’s hitting like one of baseball’s best power hitters. Should fans come to expect this consistent streakiness from Sano?

Sano started the 2021 season in a slump, but within that slump there were some positive signs. He was getting himself into good counts and getting on base 31% of the time. Unfortunately, there was little sign of power as his .244 slugging percentage is tough to swallow for a power-hitting first baseman. There was hope for him to improve if fans looked back into Sano’s big-league career to see how his hitting streakiness has become a pattern.

August 2015 (97 AB): .278/.377/.629 (1.006), 9 HR, 7 2B, 43 K, 16 BB

Sano’s hot month of August put him in the conversation for AL Rookie of the Year. Unfortunately, Carlos Correa and Francisco Lindor had both been in the big leagues longer than him that season and they were able to accumulate more of the counting stats voters look to when voting for awards. During the season’s final month, his OPS dropped to .800, but Twins fans hoped that his rookie season was just the start of what was yet to come.

April 2017 (79 AB): .316/.443/.684 (1.127), 7 HR, 6 2B, 32 K, 18 BB

During his lone All-Star season, Sano came out of the gates on fire, and this was on the heels of a 2016 campaign where he didn’t have a single month with an OPS over .850. He’d finish the first half with a .906 OPS and 21 home runs as he headed to Miami to represent the Twins on the national stage. From May on, he hit .252/.329/.467 (.796) with 141 strikeouts in 91 games. His hot start wasn’t sustainable, but it was his best season so far.

July 2019 (80 AB): .300/.411/.613 (1.023), 6 HR, 5 2B, 28 K, 15 BB

During 2019’s first two months, Sano combined to hit .214 with 57 strikeouts in 126 at-bats. In the midst of July’s heat, Sano found his power stroke as he combined for 12 extra-base hits in 80 at-bats including 15 walks, a season high for any month. Having Nelson Cruz on the team likely helped him to refine his swing, but he had a slight downturn in August before rebounding to end the year (see below)

September 2019 (73 AB): .288/.395/.671 (1.067), 8 HR, 2 2B, 32 K, 12 BB

Coming off a hot month of July, Sano was able to hit eight home runs in August, but September saw his swing back in elite form. He got on base nearly 40% of the time and hit eight homers for the second consecutive month. Sano helped the Twins finished off the year with 101 wins and the all-time record for home runs before being swept out of the playoffs by New York.

August 2020 (88 AB): .284/.394/.636 (1.031), 7 HR, 10 2B, 43 K, 15 BB

There was certainly reason for Sano to struggle at the onset of the 2020 season. On intake for summer camp, Sano tested positive for COVID and was relegated to living in his basement. He got very little time to prepare for the season and it showed as he struggled through the team’s July games (.176 OPS). For the month of August, there were some stark improvements as he posted a .636 SLG with double-digit doubles. He’d come back down to earth in September as his OPS dropped by nearly 500 points.

When Sano is on, he is one of baseball’s best power hitters and there are few that can argue with that fact. On the flip side, he goes through stretches where his at-bats are tough to watch. At this point in his big-league career, fans can expect Sano to consistently be a streaky hitter.

What are your thoughts on Sano’s hot and cold stretches? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.

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Miguel Sano is the best option the Twins have for a slugging corner infielder until a better one comes along. Even after his horrible start and four more strikeouts in today's game, he has contributed 8 HR (team 3rd behind Cruz and Buxton), 19 walks (2nd between Donaldson and Arraez), 19 RBI (4th), an OBP of .303 (now 9th thanks to those 4 Ks) and 47 TBs (tied for 7th with Arraez).  His defensive performance at first is fine, and he is an acceptable substitution at third.

The difference this year is that Sano now has an understudy, one who partly due to youth has a greater potential up side than he does.  This means that Sano will have to solve that consistency issue and keep demonstrating that he's improving his game.  If not, then sooner or later it will be the the trading block. 

Sano himself still has potential upside.  He could have a revelation, or could make a resolution to be better that yields dividends.  At age 28, however,  time now works against him rather than for him.

Up or out.  In this game, and on this team, there's nowhere else for him to go.

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Just ask yourself, what could you get in return if the Twins trade Sano?  The answer is not much at all.  And that is your answer on his supposed value.

How many more years will we have to debate this?

I will admit, in 2019, he had a great year.  But so did almost everybody on the team.  It was a fluky year.

When the last game is played in 2021, Sano's stats are going to show an overall poor season.  It was predictable.

 

 

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5 minutes ago, TwinsChupacabra said:

Just ask yourself, what could you get in return if the Twins trade Sano?  The answer is not much at all.  And that is your answer on his supposed value...

 

 

Matters less what you get for him if there is a viable replacement ready to fill his role and perform at/above his level.  That day may now be on the horizon.

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6 hours ago, TwinsChupacabra said:

Just ask yourself, what could you get in return if the Twins trade Sano?  The answer is not much at all.  And that is your answer on his supposed value.

How many more years will we have to debate this?

I will admit, in 2019, he had a great year.  But so did almost everybody on the team.  It was a fluky year.

When the last game is played in 2021, Sano's stats are going to show an overall poor season.  It was predictable.

 

 

I was critical of Sano when it was unpopular to be critical of him.  However, I think you are being overly negative.  His career wRC+ is 118 which is about 10 points above league average so that's not exactly poor.  He had a wRC+ of 125 in 2017 and 137 in 2015.  In 2016 he was leauge average.  His one truly "poor" year was 2018 when he struggled to a wRC+ of 83.  This year he had a poor April and a good month of May.  History does not suggest he will have a poor overall season.

As for his return, a guy who can really carry a team the way he can could have significant value at the deadline.  His contract terms are reasonable enough that a large market team would consider the 2022 salary and option in 23 ta plus.  For those who say his value does not matter, I disagree completely.  Cashing in on assets is how you continue to be good.  There are a number of teams that have demonstrated this the last decade.  This singular focus on the present is a good way to be bad perpetually.

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I have also been a big critic of Sano.  The story shows his hot streaks, but what about his cold ones?  They are longer and horrible - including his poor playoff performances.

But also as others have also stated, the Twins do not have anyone else better at this time, so I'm fine that they keep putting him in the lineup for now.

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His streaks are great, but we have gone through 1/3 of a season waiting for the streak.   The last four games - 10Ks, 2 H.   Is the streak over?  Sano is all or nothing and there are so many games with nothing.  There is a play - Waiting for Godot - that makes me think of Sano.  Game after game we are waiting for Sano.  But in the Sano play he suddenly gets really hot, we get really excited, his stats are aglow and on the flip side of his streak we can say he has an wRC, a Slugging pct...but when he is bad we have only those memories and LOB.  

I see some changes in his approach, but then I see a day like yesterday and I have to admit his new approach was my wishful thinking.  He had four Ks against Kremer, Pluko and Akin!!!

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Yes, he'll always be streaky. What will make him a better offensive player is the ability to reach base when he's struggling. Sano needs to go no further for an example than Nelson Cruz. When Nelson is not going great (like now), he's able to sneak a few through the right side and hit a few mistakes. Sano, OTOH, misses those opportunities. 

Miggy has drawn his share of walks, which is commendable, but he hasn't really become a more complete hitter. Until he does, there is too little boom and too much bust.

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He has always been a guy that gets on a hot streak and we all say he figured it out.  Then he gets in huge slump where he cannot even touch the ball.  I think at this point he is who he is.  He will have long stretches of terrible hitting and then good stretches of MVP level hitting.  

You cannot count on him carrying your team, but he can do it for some time.  You just need to accept you will want him to be benched for weeks at a time. 

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The return from trading Sano may be better than we think.  We don't know how he is going to hit over the next 45+ days.  Should he have two week long streaks like the one last week, it could be mid-July and he is sitting around 20 home runs on the season.  A team in the hunt for a championship needing a DH/1B just might pay a lot more than we think to fill out a hole in their lineup.  And should Sano not work, maybe they trade Cruz to that team and move Sano into the DH spot most games with Kirilloff playing first. 

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Sano has had a terrible March/April and a good May, but there's also some weird stuff in there to date. He's always been a player with pretty even splits, but this year he's gotten utterly destroyed by LHP, which has never been a problem before. Norm that out and his season looks a lot better.

Contact levels and BA are low all over MLB, so in context Sano still looks frustrating to Twins fans but clearly there's plenty more where he came from. He's going to be a streaky hitter: it's who he is. But you can survive that. The contract the Twins signed with Sano is actually a smart one, because once he gets deep into his 30's and that bat speed slows down, he's almost certainly going to have longer cold streaks and shorter hot ones. But for now, he should be able to adjust and be a low-average, good on-base, great power performer who can play a solid 1B and cover you at 3B if needed. That's pretty good value.

Yes, the K's can be maddening. But that's also part of the game right now. But he takes really good ABs, so it's not like he's flailing around. If they can find a way to keep him in a position to do damage on fastballs in the strike zone consistently...he's going to finish the year as an above-average 1B and an important power-producer in the Twins lineup.

Will Kirilloff be ready to replace him? Sure, but as we've seen this year, you need depth. Trading Sano doesn't get you a lot in terms of MLB-ready talent; you're gonna get guys who are in A-ball with upside that will need time to develop. It makes no sense to me to trade Sano unless you think the team is a total disaster and needs a total tear-down, and I'm not convinced of that.

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I've made peace with Sano being a streaky hitter. I enjoy watching him play when he's on a hot streak and have learned to sweat it out when he's cold. That's been a part of the Twins experience since I've been following, I'd be disappointed to see him traded away, even if that may be the best thing for the team.

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I make no excuses for him in regard to his "streakiness". Despite some injury setbacks, he's experienced enough now they shouldn't be as prelevant as they are. But it's also hard to argue with a career OPS of .824.

He's just not consistent enough to put him in a 3 or 4 spot in the lineup. But he's so damn dangerous you don't want to put him lower than 5 or 6. The misnomer about him is that he's only a feast or famine player who takes poor AB. The truth is, he takes great AB and works the count. The problem might be that he is not aggressive enough at times and ends up SO with 3-2 counts, etc.

Sorry for bad recall, but during a recent broadcast they were relaying that one of the things the staff was working with him on was looking for a pitch early that he could handle vs working the count. Sounds crazy, right? But it also makes a lot of sense when you think about it. When you have that dangerous of a bat, maybe being  a little more aggressive early...unless you're just getting out of the zone offerings...makes real sense. Maybe being a little more pro-active is the key for him.

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It looks like the euphoria is over. Against KC, today 3K, 7 LOB. A batting average that is nearing the O’s Chris Davis recent years of futility. It is really frustrating to see Sano flailing at sliders low and outside. 

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