Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Contemplating Miguel Sano

The big topic around the Twins as the opening of camp nears is the starting rotation. But Miguel Sano casts a big shadow over the coming season, and that deserves more acknowledgement that it gets.

Sano is coming off surgery to put a rod in his shin after the stress reaction that sidelined him for much of September. He is being investigated by MLB after a creditable allegation of sexual assault and seems likely to get some sort of suspension. 

And this weekend, for the first time I know of, somebody in the Twins hierarchy specifically and on the record put his work ethic on question. That came from Paul Molitor this weekend in this illuminating sit-down with the Pioneer Press' Brian Murphy.

We've gotten hints of this before, notably from Jim Souhan's controversial column last September that implicitly blamed fouling a ball off Sano's shin on Sano's weight. It contained one attribution that was so vaguely worked that it could have been a ticket taker. (I typically avoid Souhan's "work," but that one raised such a fuss that I read it, then dismissed it as his usual slop.) Murphy's piece is, in contrast, sourced, with direct quotes, and thus far more creditable. It's far more meaningful that Molitor had doubts about Sano's work ethic than that Souhan or Patrick Reusse do.

Questions of journalistic competence or intent aside, the question for Molitor and the organization is: What do they do with Sano? He's clearly a talent capable of being a force in the lineup, and two-and-half years into his career, the Twins still are waiting for a full season of his best. Molitor concedes in Murphy's piece he's had mixed results getting to him. That he voices those concerns for print may signal a turning point.


  1. I agree that there is/should be concerns about Sano. I read the article you referenced and understood it to be concerns about his overall professionalism. One of the problems with some players is that they get by on raw talent. Sano likes the game and probably works hard when he is at the park. He may not entirely understand that if he wants to be great and be great for a long time, hard work and smart work has to extend beyond the ballpark. That is what being a true professional is.

    There are certainly many players who seemed to have trouble with some of that. I think Hrbek falls in that category. He changed a beautiful natural swing in order to hit more home runs. He wouldn't or couldn't control his conditioning. David Ortiz was another at least early in his career.

    A lot of players never reach or stay very long at their "ceilings". While guys like Moliter and Pete Rose not only reached their peaks but stayed there for a long time.

    The concern for Sano should be there. It may be why the Twins are rumored to have floated his name in trade talks. It could turn out to be a huge mistake to trade him, but if he can't become more professional, he may never reach his vast potential.

  2. Tough decision, maybe this will be his wakeup call.

    Sano may be spending too much time appreciating his talent and no5 enoug- trying to improve. He has too much love for long HR's which count the same as bloopers. He will be way more useful when he thinks in terms of team W/L's.