Skip to main content
Publish date:

Is Miguel Sano finally turning a corner for good?

This is the best he's looked all season.
Miguel Sano

In Tuesday's "Game of the Year" between the Twins and Yankees, we saw another reason why it's foolish to give up on Miguel Sano.

Sano clobbered two home runs but it was his second in the eighth inning that caught our attention. With the Twins down one run to the Yankees, Sano launched a missile over the bullpens that traveled 457 feet and left the bat at 111 mph.

Sano is now up to 16 home runs on the season and he's averaging a home run every 11.5 at-bats. Since going 0-for-7 in Minnesota's 18-inning loss to Tampa Bay on June 27, Sano has turned things around.

In his last 20 games (67 at-bats), the slugger is slashing .299/.397/.701 for an OPS that's over 1.000 with seven home runs and 12 of his 20 hits going for extra bases.

He is striking out 34 percent of the time during that stretch but that's actually an improvement from where he was earlier this season.

After missing the first six weeks of the season, Sano came out of the gates sluggish. He was hitting just .195 through his first 31 games with an on-base percentage of .278, but the most daunting statistic was that he struck out 56 times (47 percent!) in 118 at-bats.

Sano's now laying off bad pitches and having longer at-bats. His first home run in Tuesday's game came after an eight-pitch battle with Domingo German. 

Is it just luck?

Great question. After all, we see baseball players go through hot streaks all the time. A good indication of luck for a hitter is BABIP (batting average on balls in play) BABIP measures how often a ball in play — defined generally as any batted ball that did not clear the outfield fence — goes for a hit.

During his recent stretch of impressive play, Sano has a BABIP of .351 while having a true batting average of .299. Typically you want the two numbers to be as close as possible. So yes, he's been a tad lucky and a regression could be coming.

However, Sano has one of the best "hard hit rates" in the MLB this season. Hard hit rate is a statistic from MLB's Statcast which is defined as a hit with an exit velocity of at least 95 mph. Only Aaron Judge has provided a higher hard hit rate than Sano this season. Here's the leaders:

  1. Aaron Judge, 63,7 percent 
  2. Miguel Sano, 55.1 percent 
  3. Matt Olson, 52.8 percent 
  4. Joey Gallo, 52.3 percent 
  5. Keston Hiura, 52.1 percent

Hasn't he done this before?

We've also seen Sano go through stretches like this before, where he looks like the player that scouts and fans always thought he could be, and then he falls off a cliff.

If we're using his recent hot streak of 67 at-bats and his slash line of .299/.397/.701 as a reference, we do know he hasn't had a stretch of games this season that have been this good and he never had a stretch of games like this in 2018 (which was a lost season for him). 

You'd have to go back to 2017 when Sano was an All-Star that he was this dominant. In his lone All-Star season, Sano slashed .264/.352/.507 which led to a wild-card berth for the Twins.

During that season, Sano had a run from late April into May that was even better than his current outburst. In a 20-game stretch from April 25-May 21 (73 at-bats), Sano slashed .370/.465/.685, which to be honest is unsustainable but still extremely impressive.  

So yes, he has put up these numbers before but a slash line of 299/.397/.701 seems a bit more plausible. However, the 2017 season was obviously Sano's best and that's the type of year you'd like to see from him.

Because of injuries to core players, Sano has played in every game (12 straight) since the All-Star break. 

Even if he's striking out 34 percent of the time, if Sano can have prolonged at-bats, hit the cover off the ball, and park baseball's into the seats, he'll be in the lineup for good.

And that's something Twins fans and others have been wanting from Sano for five seasons now.

Related: 'Game of the year': Twins fall to Yankees in instant classic at Target Field

Next Up

Anthony Edwards

Ant puts on a show to help Timberwolves beat Pacers

A third-quarter surge gave the Timberwolves their seventh win in their past eight games.

Mikko Koivu

Wild to retire Mikko Koivu's No. 9 jersey

Koivu will be the first player in franchise history to have his number retired.

Boebert-Omar - Flickr Gage Skidmore

Rep. Boebert refuses to apologize for Islamophobic comment toward Rep. Omar

A phone call Monday between the two lawmakers ended abruptly.

Patrick Peterson

Vikings place Patrick Peterson on COVID-19/reserve list

The Vikings cornerback said he was vaccinated in August.

flickr - thin ice warning - USFWS Midwest

'Numerous' reports of eager anglers falling through ice

Conditions are still unpredictable, and can vary even across a single body of water.

covid

Minnesota health officials watching closely for omicron variant

Health leaders do not yet know how transmissible or severe the new variant is.

school bus stop pixabay

School bus driver charged in fatal hit-and-run will plead guilty

Another motorist told the driver to call 911, but he instead got on the bus and drove off, charges say.

Franconia Sculpture Park - Lorie Shaull - Flickr

5 outdoor destinations to explore around the Twin Cities

There's something for everyone on this list of overlooked spots.

Child mental health counseling

As pandemic continues, so do efforts to improve child mental health access

Children's Minnesota has announced it will open its first inpatient mental health facility for under 18s.

Dalvin Cook

Mixed reports on Dalvin Cook's injury status

The Vikings running back could miss two games...or he could play Sunday.

Tanner Morgan

Tanner Morgan returning to Gophers for 6th season

Two Gopher QBs have already entered the transfer portal.

Allina Health Richfield - 407 W 66th St, Richfield, Minnesota - June 2019 - CROP

Charges: Clinic locked down after man tried to enter, threatened passersby

Staff at the clinic suspected he was intoxicated, according to the complaint.

Related

Miguel Sano

Do the Twins really need Miguel Sano?

What should Minnesota do with the slugger?

Miguel Sano

Miguel Sano and his future in Minnesota

Twins Daily breaks down what the future holds for Sano.

Miguel Sano

Miguel Sano's blast helps Twins clinch playoff spot

Sano smashed a home run onto Waveland Avenue to beat the Cubs on Saturday night.

Miguel Sano

Miguel Sanó's grand slam helps Twins split doubleheader

Sanó has five home runs in his past seven games.

Miguel Sano

Miguel Sano's 2 HR power Twins past Cleveland

Sano entered the game with one hit on the season.