Miguel Sano didn't arrive with quite the same hype as Kris Bryant last year, but he delivered similar results, albeit in half as many at-bats. His power stroke may have actually instilled more fear in opposing pitchers, too, considering he would have had a top-10 walk rate (to give him the second-highest OPS among third base-eligible players) if he had the at-bats to qualify. The problem is he's not third base-eligible anymore. There's also that whole issue of him striking out more than every third at-bat, which could catch up to him in his first full season. He has Giancarlo Stanton-like upside, but only a fraction of the players that arrive with that kind of potential live up to it over the long haul. Still, Sano's DH-only status to begin the year could make him a middle-round bargain, especially since he figures to be outfield eligible soon enough.
Minnesota intends for Sano to begin the season as the starting right fielder, GM Terry Ryan told MLB.com. "He's bought in," Ryan said. "But we've certainly asked that question. You have to be on board with it and he's on board." Sano has been working on his outfield defense in his native Dominican Republic and the Twins say they'll bring Torii Hunter in as a special assistant in spring training to help him to learn the new position. It may have looked like a ploy to increase Trevor Plouffe's trade value early in the offseason, but Sano's move to the outfield looks set to happen with the Twins recently agreeing to a one-year, $7.25 million deal with Plouffe. Of course, Sano will still have to demonstrate he can play the outfield in spring training and not be a major liability on defense.
Sano decided to shut it down in winter ball in order to work on his conditioning and outfield defense for the rest of the offseason, MLB.com's Rhett Bollinger reports. He is not hurt, but simply felt it would be a better use of his offseason to work on what appears to be an impending position change to the outfield. Working on his conditioning will also prove key to a move to the outfield, so it is good to see that Sano is being proactive about this switch. However, there are still a variety of scenarios that would result in Sano playing more third base or DH than outfield in 2016. Regardless of where he plays, Sano will probably hit cleanup and serve as a great source of home runs and RBI.
The Twins continue to insist that Sano will play in the outfield in 2016, with Trevor Plouffe remaining at third base, Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports. This should be met with a lot of skepticism, as it seems like the Twins current roster construction calls for Plouffe to be traded. Joe Mauer, Byung-ho Park, Max Kepler, Kennys Vargas, and Oswaldo Arcia are all limited to either first base, DH or corner outfield, so there are simply too many pieces on the roster right now. Eddie Rosario appears to have a firm hold on left field, and if Sano can handle third, that makes the most sense. Kepler certainly looks like an everyday player, and Sano is obviously one too, so conventional wisdom suggests the team will find a way to make room for both of them. Still, according to the team, if the roster remains unchanged, Sano would start the year in right field.
Rookie DH Miguel Sano wasn't in the starting lineup for the Twins on Wednesday, but he came through in a big way, hitting a pinch-hit home run in the 12th inning to give Minnesota a win and keep them in the AL wild-card hunt. Sano had been out the lineup for the last two days as he worked through a mini slump, but his 16th homer of the year, a shot to left, put the Twins ahead. He is now hitting .281 with 43 RBIs.
The Twins held designated hitter Miguel Sano out of Wednesday's lineup for the second straight game. Torii Hunter will be the team's DH for Wednesday's contest. Sano is hitting .207 with three home runs and four RBI in his last nine games.