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  • What To Do With Miguel Sano


    Cody Pirkl

    In case you haven’t heard, Miguel Sano has begun his yearly early season slump. As he struggles to contribute anything at all to an offense that has been inconsistent at best, what can the Twins do with Miguel Sano?

    Image courtesy of Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

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    The offense as a whole has failed to match a surprisingly strong start to the season for the Twins pitching staff. Few hitters have shown any kind of consistency, but it’s plenty easy to key in on right-handed slugger Miguel Sano.

    Every year it’s seemingly the same with Sano. Struggle for the first month or two, make some adjustments, iron out the timing at the plate and finish the season looking like everything has been fixed only for the same cycle to be repeated again. Perhaps in a touching tribute to the banning of pitchers hitting in the NL, Sano has been particularly terrible to begin the season in 2022.

    Yes, Miguel Sano is yet again approaching the record books after becoming the fastest player in Major League history to 1000 strikeouts at the end of 2021. Through six games it’s been particularly frustrating to watch, which has fans already wondering: What can we do with Miguel Sano?

    Cut Him
    As is tradition, the calls to cut Miguel Sano or try to send him to AAA have already erupted. The latter scenario is downright unrealistic. Sano would have to essentially be cut and re-signed in agreement with going to St. Paul, a situation that would never play out. Another team would surely pick Sano up on the league minimum, and he would most certainly prefer to play in the MLB elsewhere than in AAA here.

    Some would call this an upgrade to the team, but there aren’t any legitimate replacements at first base. Alex Kirilloff is out for the foreseeable future after his recurring wrist issue flared up and players like Jose Miranda who have some experience at first base aren’t the kind of player you ship a veteran out for. Not to mention the fact that the Twins likely would never pay the $9.25m remaining on his deal to play elsewhere.

    Bench Him
    An adjustment is likely in order for Sano to catch up to fastballs and barrel up breaking balls again. So why not have him work exclusively on making adjustments with the coaching staff in an environment where he’s not dragging down the lineup? Even if the Twins had an obvious short-term replacement at first base, Sano’s main issue is timing. Perhaps it is a mechanical tweak that helps him lock-in, but tee work isn’t going to do him much good.

    We saw in 2019 when Sano was struggling to keep his strikeout rate below 40% for the first two months that he benefits from working through his timing issues by getting his reps in during games. There isn’t much substitute for live pitching when it comes to a player with such significant swing and miss tendencies.

    Ride It Out
    This leads to the most likely option, the Twins are likely going to ride this out. After all, Sano has shown time and time again that their patience will pay itself off. Taking an at-bat away from Miguel Sano is taking him one step further from breaking out and being one of the better hitters in the lineup for at least some period of time. The second halves of his seasons are always better than the first, and at some point, he’s going to return to being a legitimate middle-of-the-order bat.

    Is it an ideal scenario to have a player with such crippling gaps in production in the lineup? No. I’d guess the Twins' front office would go back in time and undo the extension they signed Sano to if given the opportunity. It’s also hard to imagine a scenario where they pick up his $14m option for 2023. That being said, Miguel Sano is likely here for 2022 for better or worse.

    We’ve been watching him since 2015. It’s time to be realistic about the Miguel Sano situation. He’s going to be beyond frustrating until he’s on one of the most ungodly heaters we’ll see from a player this season. It may hurt the Twins' season tremendously, or perhaps he’ll play a large part in them returning to the postseason. Be as frustrated as you’d like, but Miguel Sano likely isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.

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    And if he must play, where does he bat in the lineup? Following the premise that he must play to get out of the slump, then bat him first so he will get more at bats and get out of the slump more quickly. Nope, that is just ridiculous. The best scenario may be an injury which requires a minor league rehab, where he can work on his timing and not cost the Twins games. Sano reminds me of the old definition of a man being in an average temperature when he has one leg in a 35 degree bucket of ice and the other leg in a 125 degree bucket of hot water. It averages out to be 80 degrees, but is very uncomfortable.

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    There is no doubt that patience has run out on Sano for Twins fans.  The current situation is just exacerbated more with the continuing wrist problems of Kirilloff. 

    I disagree with the take that you can't bench Sano for the likes of Miranda.  Get Miranda up to the Twins and in the lineup consistently.  It was already a huge risk to have BOTH Sano and Gary Sanchez in the lineup at the same time, especially hitting in any proximately to each other.  Twins fans have seen enough.  it's time the front office did.  Package him in a deal to Colorado where he can DH and hit 80 HR's every season.  

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    Aren't we just all tired of the same old ******** year in and year out? It's just exhausting. I get that he is an above average player, but his game is borderline unwatchable after all these years and it might be best for both sides to just have a clean break, hopefully as soon as the trade deadline. Not sure we can get much for him, but anything is something I guess.

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    This may be the only area of weakness on the team where I won’t criticize the front office. The blame here goes to whom ever is trying to teach him. Essentially the guy is too talented to not wait on. Play it out, hopefully he comes along some time this season. He certainly doesn’t need to be in the lineup every day. I am pulling for him, but without much hope. 

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    Like it or not I'm  sure Sano is here through this season.  We are stuck with him.  I surely don't see any circumstance they pick up his option for next year.  When the season is done he will have hit 20-30 home runs.  Some of them meaningful and a couple of them mammoth shots.  He will have struck out about 33% of his at bats.  He is what he is.  Unfortunately he is very frustrating to watch.  Maybe this weekend he will set a new Twins all time record.  Currently he is 0-19 to start the season.  The Twins all time record to start the season is 0-21.  Go Sano

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    Can we trade Kirilloff's injured wrist for Sano's good wrist and then send Sano down for a rehab assignment until June while Kirilloff takes over first base?    it's still early  - I would keep Sano in the lineup for at least the rest of this month but start planning for a possible replacement.  This is really Sano's prove it year - he came in better shape - we have to hope something connects like the bat with the ball.  

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    The article did a poor job explaining why the Twins cannot send Sano to the minors.  Earlier in his career Sano was sent down.  Why, exactly, is it different now?  Sano simply never put in the work to learn how to work his bat through the ball.  He pulls off every pitch.  It was the same with Buxton until he committed to working it out.  And look how Buxton has improved.  It's ime for Sano to contribute...now, or he has to go.  

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    A solution would be to cut Sano, call up Miranda (somewhat struggling so far in St. Paul) and play Gio at first. Gio doesn't really have history there but I can't imagine he is a worse defensive option.  

    But as fans, we really don't know the story behind the scenes. Does Miguel work hard? Does he care? Those attributes can lift players out of slumps. I don't have that insight. But those are important considerations in evaluating marginal players and sadly, that is what Miguel has become. For years on these pages, people said " Sure cut him and watch him become the next Ortiz." I don't know much, but I do know that is no longer a risk. 

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    Wonder if we can trade Sano to Washington straight up for Josh Bell.  Maybe we throw in Thorpe in to make it a done deal.  I will be so happy when Sano is gone for someone that is consistent.  

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    We will be watching Sano throughout the season and then?  Will we resign him?  We traded for Gary Sanchez who is currently 4 for 18 and has 9 Ks.  This team likes the all or nothing sluggers.  That is why we drafted Aaron Sabato who currently has struck out 6 times in 10 ABs.

    I do not know the solution.  Maybe now that the pitchers have been taken out of the batter's box we can go back to the original mid 1800's rules where the batter can request the pitch he wants. 

    Buckle up, be ready to be amazed and then amazed again.  This is the Bipolar diagnosis for Twins fans. 

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    Not sure why you didn't explore trading him... 

    Could have .. should have included him in the SD trade and taken Hosmer back... Am SURE they would have done it.. 

    Get his name out there get what you can and move on. He may flourish somewhere else... who knows but he clearly is not getting it done here.. 

    Cut bait... 

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    I get it that it's early and we should withhold judgement, but these at-bats so far are non-competitive major league at-bats. Even if he does get his 20+ home runs this year, is it worth it if he's hopelessly outmatched in his other 500+ appearances? Nobody is going to give us jack for him in a trade, so to me the best option is bring up Miranda or put Arraez temporarily at first and give Sano some time on the bench to ponder his future in major league baseball. One thing I feel confident saying is that he's not going to turn into another Ortiz if we let him go.

    I'd love to be a fly on the wall to see if the problem is in his head, his heart, or with the coaching. Maybe it's a combination of everything. Rowson sure seemed to get a lot more out of these borderline guys (like Sano & Kepler) than the current regime.

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    I think he lost so much weight that he is emaciated ;).  Actually, he has such a consistent pattern of being feeble at the plate for the first month or two, only to do better the rest of the season, that one wonders if he lacks confidence early on or feels pressure to perform, and only overcomes it after having a decent game or two.  Maybe he needs a sports psychologist to work with him.  If it truly is a case where he needs a 150 plus at bats before he is comfortable, if I were the Twins, I would play him every inning of every spring training game, and/or have him play in the back fields a few days a week where he could lead off every inning just to help him get his timing back through repetition.  I honestly think he is trying as demonstrated by coming in 25 pounds lighter.  That is why I think it is a mental thing.

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    I often hear the comparison between Sano and Ortiz - we should wait because he could turn out to be David as he matures.

    So I looked at the last two seasons - and compared them to Ortiz age 27 and 28 seasons:  

    Sano 204/278/478/757  and 223/312/466/778  He struck out 371 times for those two years.

    Ortiz was traded to Boston when he was 26 so these are his first two years as a Red Sox

    288/369/592/961  301/380/603/983  He struck out 216 times total for those two years. 

    Even the last year in MN makes you question why they traded Ortiz 272/339/500/839

     

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    The analytics game and launch angle are not Miguel's friend. If only he could keep his bat level through the zone ....

    Vladdy Jr. strikes out a ton but his bat is level through the zone and he crushes more than he misses because of the mathematics of a level versus launch angle swing. Jorge Polanco may need some launch angle to hit a long ball but Sano only needs to hit the ball for it to disappear.

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    He's a lot more than frustrating to watch...he's annoying. Every pitcher in the league knows to throw it a foot outside, or in the dirt, and he'll swing at it. Sure, every once in a while, someone makes a mistake and throws him a cookie for him to hit in the 3rd deck. That's what makes him have at least some value. I think the best possible solution is to trade him. They should have done it already, because he's been the same player ever since he came up. He's not going to all of a sudden learn what pitches to swing at, or lay off of. He has no plate discipline or plan up there. Just swing as hard as he can every time. He is what he is. You can't just release him, and sending him back to triple A probably does nothing. He's not going to get it. With Kirilloff gone, there's not really a guy we can plug in there either. I'd bet we're stuck with him for the rest of this season, and then...who knows? 

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    8 minutes ago, CRF said:

    He's a lot more than frustrating to watch...he's annoying. Every pitcher in the league knows to throw it a foot outside, or in the dirt, and he'll swing at it. Sure, every once in a while, someone makes a mistake and throws him a cookie for him to hit in the 3rd deck. That's what makes him have at least some value. I think the best possible solution is to trade him. They should have done it already, because he's been the same player ever since he came up. He's not going to all of a sudden learn what pitches to swing at, or lay off of. He has no plate discipline or plan up there. Just swing as hard as he can every time. He is what he is. You can't just release him, and sending him back to triple A probably does nothing. He's not going to get it. With Kirilloff gone, there's not really a guy we can plug in there either. I'd bet we're stuck with him for the rest of this season, and then...who knows? 

    The problem is, when he's thrown that cookie, it is usually fouled off straight back during his prolonged slumps.  Then we get to listen to Dick explain how he's right on the pitch.

    It's kind of like the Kepler swing at one that is a foot outside then watch a belt high fastball middle in.

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    The Twins glorifies Sano "moonblasts", encourages him to increase his launch angle, pull, put a hugh swing on the ball etc.. It seems like some time after ST, when San unlearns what he's taught, then he starts to hit. Why not forget all this "moonblast" crap and teach Sano how to hit. Level off his swing, make it compact and train him to keep his eye on the ball. He'll strike out less, get more hits and with his strength he could have more line drive HRs. 

    I don't fault Sano, I fault management. As long as they prioritizes those "moonblasts" he will continue to SO until he unlearns what he's taught. "Moonblasts" don't turn me on and his SO really turns me off. His "moonblasts" aren't worth all those SOs. So management wake up!

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    Trade him to the Red Sox. Worked really well for them last time. Demand a sack of baseballs. A case of beer if he becomes Big Papi 2.0. 

    Then call up whoever is playing first base for the Saints. I don't even care who it is, they're bound to be a better hitter and as good a fielder. This 2020 squad is quickly devolving into fool's gold, and nobody exemplifies that like Sano. 

    The Poof came early this season. Sano's a hole in the lineup until July. High-average, power hitting Kirilloff is gone. Paddack looked like he just converted from shortstop for his first game. Is he un-coachable, or is he too hiding arm problems? 

    Okay, I'm projecting misery because I just had a Pfizer booster yesterday. Chills, sore joints, headache, nausea, Kinda entertaining, in a way.... Back under the covers...

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    1 hour ago, gunnarthor said:

    It's been six games. His babip is .000, it's usually over .300. If he had those three hits, he'd be closer to Kepler's line. Relax. His line will probably be very similar to last year. 

    I agree. I am willing to wait.  I think he is just one of those players that doesn't do well in the cold.  He heats up right around mid May and once he gets going pitchers try to pitch around him and his bat becomes dangerous.  I still think he will have a big year this year but we will see.  We need to just hang on until he gets it going and all will be well.

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    50 minutes ago, mikelink45 said:

    I often hear the comparison between Sano and Ortiz - we should wait because he could turn out to be David as he matures.

    So I looked at the last two seasons - and compared them to Ortiz age 27 and 28 seasons:  

    Sano 204/278/478/757  and 223/312/466/778  He struck out 371 times for those two years.

    Ortiz was traded to Boston when he was 26 so these are his first two years as a Red Sox

    288/369/592/961  301/380/603/983  He struck out 216 times total for those two years. 

    Even the last year in MN makes you question why they traded Ortiz 272/339/500/839

     

    It's worse than you think.

     

     

     

     

     

    The Twins didn't trade Ortiz to Boston.

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    2 hours ago, ToeJoe said:

    The article did a poor job explaining why the Twins cannot send Sano to the minors.  Earlier in his career Sano was sent down.  Why, exactly, is it different now?  Sano simply never put in the work to learn how to work his bat through the ball.  He pulls off every pitch.  It was the same with Buxton until he committed to working it out.  And look how Buxton has improved.  It's ime for Sano to contribute...now, or he has to go.  

    I think you just missed the "Cut him" section of the article, which perfectly explains why the Twins won't be able to send him to the minors.  Bottom line, he's out of "options," which means that we can't send him down without exposing him to other teams.

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    All of us knew ahead of time everything you were going to say about sano. It's the same every year. But next year he gets 14 million. We can not wait the money. So here's my idea. Wait and see if a contending nation league team needs a dh. Find someone who will trade us a defensive 1 st baseman. Sano led the team with 15 errors last year. Maybe that improves the team.

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