The race for the American League Rookie of the Year award is turning into a two-man race, and one of those players is helping the Twins climb back into the playoff picture.
Miguel Sano's 12th home run of the season, a three-run shot to dead center, jump-started the Twins in an 11-7 win over the Rays Tuesday night. It was Minnesota's fifth consecutive win.
Where would the Twins be without their prized 22-year-old rookie? Who knows, but probably not within a half game of the Rangers for the second Wild Card spot in the American League.
Sano and Houston Astros shortstop Carlos Correa appear to be the frontrunners to be named the league's top rookie.
CBS Sports calls Correa the frontrunner to win the award, with Sano, Cleveland's Francisco Lindor and Toronto's closer Roberto Osuna "in the mix."
In 68 games, Correa is hitting .278 with 15 homers, 43 RBIs, 28 walks, 11 stolen bases and he has an OPS of .857. In 45 games, Sano is hitting .287 with 12 homers, 37 RBIs, 30 walks, 12 doubles and he has an OPS of .989.
Sano's super high OPS doesn't qualify among the league leaders because he hasn't had enough at bats, but if it did, it would rank fifth behind Bryce Harper, Paul Goldschmidt, Joey Votto and Nelson Cruz.
According to ESPN, Sano has become one of three players in MLB history to rack up 12 homers and 37 RBIs in his first 45 career games before the age of 23. The other two are Albert Pujols and Hall of Fame member Orlando Cepeda.
It's no wonder Torii Hunter believes Sano has a chance to be one of the best hitters in Twins history.