Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Sano Should Have Been at Third Base All Season ... at Rochester

The handling of Miguel Sano is a good example of the Twins recent focus on immediate results over long term development. He was called up last year because the Twins were in a pennant race and needed his bat in the lineup. His power played well until the league figured him out. Then his inability to make contact, as evidenced by his propensity to strike out, caught up to him. That was apparent at the end of last season and continued into this season without the hot start to mask it in his statistics.

The assumption by fans and sports writers seemed to be that Sano was a DH last year and a right fielder this year because he was blocked at third base by Trevor Plouffe. But it appears that the truth was a little different than that. His glove at third base wasn't ready to play in the big leagues. This is actually similar to David Ortiz, who never learned to play the field and became a career DH. It would be a tragedy if the Twins lack of patience resulted in the same thing happening to Sano. Sano, unlike Ortiz, has the tools to be a good fielder. But he needs lots of repetitions to get there and he is unlikely to get them in the big leagues with impatient owners demanding immediate results.

With Plouffe hurt and the terrible record, it probably makes sense to have Sano play out the year at the big league level. But if he hasn't shown improvement both in the field and at bat, they ought to send him to Rochester to start next year rather than hoping he will somehow figure it out in the major leagues. Its not that Sano isn't "ready", its that the Twins don't have the patience to let him develop fully at the big league level. The experiment in right field was just and example of that impatience.

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