Jump to content
Twins Daily
  • Create Account
  • This is It For Miguel Sano: What Now?


    Ted Schwerzler

    The Minnesota Twins placed Miguel Sano on the 60-day injured list due to complications from his knee surgery. After a torrid stretch rehabbing, and a small six-at-bat sample in his return, the end of Sano’s career with the organization is now likely here. How will it be remembered?

     

    Image courtesy of Jordan Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

    Twins Video

    When Miguel Sano was signed out of the Dominican Republic as a teenager, he was so highly desired that a movie was made about the process. A physical specimen was so hotly contested that bone scans were necessary to determine his actual age prior to Major League Baseball allowing a signed contract.

    Prior to playing a single professional game, Sano was ranked as the 94th best prospect in baseball by Baseball America and the 35th best prospect by Baseball Prospectus. His status and hype only rose from there, and he ultimately topped out as the 4th best prospect in baseball according to MLB Pipeline. He wound up representing Minnesota in the 2013 Futures Game.

    Sano made his debut for Minnesota on July 2, 2015, going 1-for-4 against the Kansas City Royals. Crushing 18 homers and posting a .916 OPS, Sano wound up finishing third in the American League Rookie of the Year voting, trailing only (now teammate) Carlos Correa and Francisco Lindor. The offensive production was good enough for a 149 OPS+ that season.

    The first of Sano’s rolling regressions then took place in 2016. While still above league average with a 108 OPS+, his 25 home runs came alongside the caveat of a gaudy 178 strikeouts. Walking 53 times his rookie season and striking out just 119 times, Sano added just a single additional walk despite the massive boost in whiffs. It was in this season that a poorly-constructed Twins club also put their hulking slugger in right field. That went as expected and was somewhere between comical and disastrous.

    Sano did become a first-time All-Star in 2017 and competed in the Home Run Derby. By this point, he had ballooned as a player and a personality. He was somewhat of a polarizing figure for Twins fans and deciding whether the juice was worth the squeeze had begun. In the years that followed, it became an annual tradition to suggest Sano was fat, lazy, or unathletic. The truth probably never lied solely on any of those terms, but there was something to be said for their application. Sano was available for just 71 games in 2018 and only 105 a year later. He did play 53 games in the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, but his 90 strikeouts led the league.

    After his 2019 bounce-back, which included a .923 OPS, Derek Falvey and Thad Levine decided to opt for an extension rather than the annual arbitration process. Three years at $30 million was never going to break the bank, and if there was any upside to be had at all, he should blitz by the terms of the deal.

    Playing just above league-average the past two seasons, the 20-game sample in 2022 was the sad trombone to this whole story. 96% worse than the league average, Sano going out with a whimper couldn’t be more true. He looked most competent during a stretch at Triple-A St. Paul this season, but there was never a point in which that translated to Major League success.

    There’s zero chance the Twins are picking up a $14 million club option this offseason, so the $2.75 million buyout will be his last paycheck from the organization. At 29 years old, it would be shocking if this was the end of his career, but there’s no denying the two sides would be best to part ways.

    Sano has generated 8.4 fWAR for Minnesota during his time, and despite losing on his contract extension, the organization has received a financial surplus thanks to his earlier years. Sano’s 162 career homers rank 12th all-time for Minnesota, one behind Tom Brunansky. His 1,042 strikeouts are second in team history, behind only Harmon Killebrew, who played in over 1,600 more games.

    No matter how you feel about Sano at present, there’s a good chance you’ve felt differently about him at various points during his tenure with the Twins. From hyped prospect, to prized rookie, to All-Star, to wishing there was more, the cycle as a whole probably could’ve gone much better in the eyes of many. That said, there were some great moments as well, and the expectation or longevity might have always been acceptable in a vacuum.

    As Minnesota will do this offseason, it’s now time to bid Sano adieu. What were your favorite moments? Does his career or production here live up to what you expected?

    MORE FROM TWINS DAILY
    — Latest Twins coverage from our writers
    — Recent Twins discussion in our forums
    — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
    — Become a Twins Daily Caretaker

     Share


    User Feedback

    Recommended Comments



    Featured Comments

    The Sano to Killebrew comparison jumps off the page. From Harmon to Hrbek we have had some exceptional 1B players.  We hoped that Miguel would follow up and be the next great but is very disappointing for everyone and I would think for him as well

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    Feel bad for him but his time in Minnesota is definitely over. He has no place to play and his offense has disappeared. Yeah, he might get a HR once in awhile, but its not worth it.

    My worry is that Buxton could be becoming Sano-lite. Buck has demonstrated power this year, but with his chronic injuries, his once awesome tools are diminished. His 'k' rate is alarming. Many of his critical AB's have been pretty ugly. He doesn't play CF as much. This has not been a good season for him, despite 26 HR's. He needs to be a big factor down the stretch. I wonder if it will happen.

    But since this thread is about Sano...I'll just say, good-bye Miguel. Its time.

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    As I stated in the other "goodbye Sano" article, his career is a disappointment due to potential, hype, and hope. But I can't say he's a failure as he's enjoyed ML success where so few ever do. And he's enjoyed some success, earned an award or two, been on playoff teams, and earned millions of dollars for himself and his family. Failure, no, disappointment, yes.

    He's a big human being and will remain one. Despite various reports over the years he was working hard to get in to great shape, I don't feel he's ever really invested himself in doing so. But beyond that, I just feel he was never willing to "mentally" develop his approach. I never expected him to completely re-invent himself. At some point, you are what you are. But his natural power is so significant that I've always felt if he just "held back" his stroke for better contact, ALL of his "good" numbers would have risen while still hitting a ton of HR, just more 400' shots and fewer 430' plus bombs. 

    I could see him going overseas on a deal, though who knows how that works out. But I'm betting someone offers a small deal with incentives to play 1B and DH. And remember, everyone has the DH now. And more than likely, someone is either going to A] believe they can still "fix" him, or, B] be OK with his "streaky" hitter history and accept that as a dangerous #7 type hitter.

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    1 hour ago, DocBauer said:

    ...I could see him going overseas on a deal, though who knows how that works out. But I'm betting someone offers a small deal with incentives to play 1B and DH. And remember, everyone has the DH now. And more than likely, someone is either going to A] believe they can still "fix" him, or, B] be OK with his "streaky" hitter history and accept that as a dangerous #7 type hitter.

    I could definitely see him taking a deal for Korea or Japan where Sano might earn $1-2MM per year if he doesn't receive an MLB offer. Top salaries in Korea are about $2MM and Japan about $4MM.

    Sano will almost certainly have to take an MLB deal at league minimum or close to it, if he even gets an MLB contract, which I doubt he will. There's just no reason to risk an MLB contract for a player who has 1 year in the past 5 where he was well worth a roster spot.

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    I share everyone's feelings about Sano. Some real hope, following by a roller coaster of emotions leading to a disappointing ending. I do hope that Miami gives him a chance. Playing for Rowson in a warm weather city is his best chance of regaining whatever he has left. I feel for the guy but he has no place on the Twins. 

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    2 hours ago, PDX Twin said:

    He lost me when the harassment allegations hit. Such allegations are rarely proven, but in my experience usually true. That his play since then has spiraled downward has made me less conflicted about disliking him.

    Agreed, though I found myself defending his numbers and reading more into them than there really was. I was conflicted about Sano as a Twin because he had shown the tantalizing promise and been accused of harassment that I can’t forgive him for.

    at least now I don’t have to feel conflicted anymore. 

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    Bummed out. Clearly some major talent, but most of the potential wasted due to injuries (some truly random, but a lot set up by his own admissions that fitness/diet wasn't a big priority in many offseasons). 

    Don't know him enough to say for sure, but from the outside he looks like someone gifted with so much ability he just leaned on that rather than working to build on it. It can get you to the bigs, but talent plus work beats raw talent in the race to be elite. For sure, I think he fell in love with distance to the detriment of hitting (even with a clear example/mentor in Nelson Cruz), but that's not news.

    I also always thought the Twins did a major mis-service by not sending him down during his first regression. Nobody likes that, but sometimes you need to be benched, or get a chance to reset out of the spotlight to take the final step. But that's a guess, too.

    Maybe, despite the flash, he just wasn't good enough to stick, or too big to stay healthy. Definitely bummed out, though, because the potential was only touched in flashes.

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    Sano is the ultimate example of "Oh, what might have been,"  I agree with others who have mentioned that he never really seemed to go "all in" on getting in shape, and adjusting his approach.  But, goodness, what natural power he has.  I really thought he was going to be something special but it never happened.  The promise of a "new and improved" Miguel every year really never came to fruition, until in the end, it became painful to even watch him at the plate.  But, life can be strange.  Maybe he will catch fire elsewhere.

     

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    When Sano was on, he could hit anything out of the ballpark.  When he was off, it was strikeout after strikeout.  I wish the guy luck at his next stop.  I know the Twins have held on this long because of a guy named David Ortiz, who they probably gave up on too early back in the day.  Maybe Sano still becomes Ortiz v2.0, but probably not at this point.

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    If only he could have worked to hit the other way occasionally we would have still seen homers and tons of doubles instead of a bunch of strikeouts and a few 500 foot homers.  What could have been ;-(

    Good luck to him wherever he lands.

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    5 hours ago, PDX Twin said:

    He lost me when the harassment allegations hit. Such allegations are rarely proven, but in my experience usually true. That his play since then has spiraled downward has made me less conflicted about disliking him.

    You’re entitled to your opinion, but I doubt your experience has any relevance whatsoever as it relates to a professional athlete making millions of dollars in a foreign country.

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    I’m going to that big guy. Nothing like hearing him crush a ball. I think it was 2019 at Kauffman stadium where this Royals fan in front of us seemed to really  relish throwing shade at Miguel. He came into the game struggling and stuck out on his first at bat but with a good looking cut. Next at bat he tattooed a ball that ended up being a game winning home run I recall. I felt like he could have been one of those rare guys to lift his team to another level but not it never happened. Best of luck!

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    He just couldn’t catch up to a good fastball above the belt. For all the strikeouts he didn’t chase that much. He just swung and missed at strikes. It’s a tough league when they find your weaknesses they are going exploit them until you adjust. He never seemed to be able to do that. I wish him well. 

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    Yes it's time for Sano to go.  I imagine someone will sign him for next year on a cheap contract.  The first guy to 1000 strikeouts in such a short time. That's what I remember.  Feast or famine.  Sadly far more famine.  Good luck Miguel!

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    It wasn't the number of strikeouts that was so, well striking, it was how they happened with the same three pitches, ending with the low and outside pitch.  How a major league player with all the tools available to him could be so consistently hopeless against any pitcher who could throw those three pitches was always amazing to me.  Is it really that hard to recognize a slider that is going to end up a foot outside and a foot low?

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    No chance he'll be back this season unless twins are totally out of the race and they just want to give him some courtesy AB's to say goodbye. He just never learned to be a legit major league hitter. Sort of like Adam Brett Walker...could hit the ball a mile..when hr connected...which wasn't very often.

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    1 hour ago, beterday said:

    It wasn't the number of strikeouts that was so, well striking, it was how they happened with the same three pitches, ending with the low and outside pitch.  How a major league player with all the tools available to him could be so consistently hopeless against any pitcher who could throw those three pitches was always amazing to me.  Is it really that hard to recognize a slider that is going to end up a foot outside and a foot low?

    LOL,  I didn't catch your real name, or which major league team you played for.  But for most of us, YES, it would really be that hard to recognize a slider from a ML pitcher.    And to those who were lost to Sano when he was "accused" of harrassment,  the charges weren't proven.  And I don't know either, whether they were true or not, but let's not discount what damage can be done by being falsely accused.  Good luck Miguel,  I for one hope you become the next Big Papi.

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    I think this assessment of Sano underrates his 2019 season, but over all it's a pretty fair assessment of his time in MN.

    the hope was he would develop into a perennial all-star contender and he had the ability to get there with his prodigious power and good patience. You hoped he would be a 30-40 HR guy at 3B who would eventually transition to 1B-DH later in his career. he wasn't far off on the HRs, clearing 30 twice and 25 two more times. he moved off 3B sooner and reduced his overall value faster. The injuries started piling up, and reduced his effectiveness at the plate. (It's odd to think that 2021 was his "healthiest" season where he played the most games)

    We took a loss on the contract during the contract years (too many injuries with diminished ability) but more than made up for it in earlier team-controlled years, so it's not like we lost money here. The RF experiment was a dreadful one and one of the moves that suggested the previous regime needed to be turned over, so...thanks for that?

    I think "mixed" is the right final assessment. there were some big moments and great stretches. there was never the sustained success, but the great runs at the plate always raised expectations which always seemed to fall short.

    It's time to move on. I expect someone will take a flyer on him for 1 year and $1-2M next season. He doesn't have significant splits as a hitter, and I don't know how other teams will view that. Less because he won't have a clear platoon role as a lefty masher, or more because he can just fill in as a power bat without needing to care about platoon advantage? But He's probably worth taking a flyer on at that kind of price...it just won't be here. And that's the right move.

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    Geez. I hate this situation, but Ted’s writeup is about perfect. He really fairly represented every facet of this issue.

    I feel like I’ll always hear the Tiffany song “Could’ve Been” in the back of my mind whenever I think of Sano. 

     

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    When they tried to get us to swallow he would be fine in right field I got worried. Then it was third base, then first base then DH with no justification for his spot in the lineup. Then we hoped Cruz would mentor him. He’s had the most chances of anybody I can remember. Kepler is not far behind. Time to move on.

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites




    Join the conversation

    You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
    Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

    Guest
    Add a comment...

    ×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

      Only 75 emoji are allowed.

    ×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

    ×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

    ×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

    Loading...

×
×
  • Create New...