Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Miguel Sano and big outfielders

I was reluctant to buy into the notion last fall when the Twins first started talking about playing Miguel Sano in the outfield. But as the offseason progressed, it became increasingly obvious that they are serious about it.

Sano said last weekend at Twins Fest that he's dropped five pounds. Since he reportedly weighed 268 at seasons' end, that would still leave him well over 260 pounds, and it's been a long time since someone that large played outfield regularly in the majors -- probably not since Frank Howard.

Baseball Reference lists Hondo as 6-foot-7, 255 pounds, but at least one source says he reported to spring training in 1971 pushing 300 pounds. Howard had serious power and had a strong throwing arm when a young player but was always slow and a poor defensive player. I'm quite confident that Sano is a superior runner.

The Twins are obviously counting on Sano's innate athleticism to make him an acceptable outfielder this spring. And it should be noted that if few outfielders are as large as Sano, even fewer third basemen are his size. Baseball players of Sano's bulk are rare, period, but when they do appear they are almost always first basemen or pitchers.

Look at it this way: We are years away from the Twins having an opening at first base. There is legitimate concern that if Sano is limited to DHing that his weight will balloon even higher (he apparently gained weight last season after his hamstring injury limited his activity). I don't know that there's any more issue with Sano's size as a corner outfielder than there is as a third baseman.

Meanwhile, the Yankees have an outfield prospect they're said to be quite high on, Aaron Judge, who is listed at 6-7, 275. That makes Sano look ... well, probably not small, but less startlingly huge than if he were standing next to me. Sano may be less of an outlier than we think.

1 comment:

  1. I just wish they would show as much confidence in Buxton and announce that they are planning to play the two together. Buxton's range might mitigate Sano's lumbering presence.