Minnesota Twins: Miguel Sano’s Patience Paying Off Early

lhodgin
Apr 18, 2017; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Twins third baseman Miguel Sano (22) rounds the bases after hitting a home run during the eighth inning against the Cleveland Indians at Target Field. Cleveland won 11-4. Mandatory Credit: Jordan Johnson-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 18, 2017; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Twins third baseman Miguel Sano (22) rounds the bases after hitting a home run during the eighth inning against the Cleveland Indians at Target Field. Cleveland won 11-4. Mandatory Credit: Jordan Johnson-USA TODAY Sports /
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Miguel Sano has struggled with plate discipline since breaking into the majors with the Minnesota Twins. Now, its helping him become more successful.

Miguel Sano is working on cementing himself as the next face of the Minnesota Twins franchise. One of the slugger’s biggest struggles in 2016 was plate discipline, but watching his at bats in Friday night’s contest against the Tigers, those struggles seem to be behind him.

If you look back at Sano’s plate appearances in 2016, you’ll notice a common theme; he loved to chase pitches high and outside.

That led to a whopping 178 strikeouts in 116 games on the heels of 119 strikeouts in just 80 games in 2015. The flip side to that is his massive .915 OPS in 2015 and respectable .781 OPS in 2016.

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There is no doubt that Sano has power, but it was often feast or famine. Strikeout or home run, there was no in between.

Fast forward to Friday night against arguably one of the best pitchers to face the Twins in recent memory, Justin Verlander.

Verlander was placing his pitches on the outside part of the plate and Sano wasn’t biting. He walked twice and struck out twice so while it wasn’t the most exciting night at the plate, it was a consistent night.

Probably the most important statistic in this discussion is the 14 walks that have been issued to Sano already this season. In 2016, he only walked 54 times over 116 games. He is clearly being much more selective in what he is swinging at in 2017.

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Finally, his batting average in 2017 is already .235 compared to .236 in all of 2016. Overall, Sano is showing that he is stepping up and taking his role as a key player for the Twins seriously. He has clearly worked hard in the off-season to be a bigger contributor to the club.

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