Minnesota Twins: Why Miguel Sano has a perfect Home Run Derby Profile
By Nate Palmer
Minnesota Twins 3B Miguel Sano joins an exciting lineup for the 2017 Home Run Derby. Here is how Sano’s home run ability translates to Marlins Park.
Monday, July 10th, Miguel Sano is slated to be the seventh Minnesota Twin to compete in the Home Run Derby. Sano will face a field of several talented and often young participants. He will look to grow the list of Minnesota Twins‘ home run derby champions to two, by joining Justin Morneau, who was the champion in 2008.
Sano’s swing may make him the most exciting batter the Minnesota Twins have ever sent to the derby. Ever since he stepped into professional baseball, Sano’s strength has been something to be marveled. Now in the big leagues, there is proof that his strength can translate into consistent home run power. The baseball world saw that power translate as recently as July 1st when Sano hit the ball a distance of 465 feet against the Kansas City Royals. His longest home run of the year.
As Sano looks to win the home run derby, he will be met by several competitors that can be given similar accolades concerning their strength, power, and youth. Most notably, the group is headlined by rookie home run hitting phenoms Aaron Judge and Cody Bellinger. These two have exploded onto the scene and have impressive strength in their own right. Here is how the full bracket rounds out:
Giancarlo Stanton appears to be the favorite as he was awarded the #1 seed. Stanton also creates an intriguing story line for the derby as he is the veteran participant and represents the host team. While Stanton is an intriguing hitter, our real question here at Puckett’s Pond is whether or not Miguel Sano can translate his #5 seed into a derby championship.
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Marlins Park is not considered a hitter-friendly ballpark. It boasts dimensions of 340′ to left, 384′ to left center, 422′ to center, 392′ to right center, and 335′ to left. Using ESPN’s Home Run Tracker, a majority of home runs hit at Marlins Park have landed over the left or right field wall. Not a huge surprise since those landing spots require the ball to travel the shortest distance.
Most power hitters like to pull the ball, which Sano can certainly do with great success. What is unique about Sano’s home run spray chart, is that he has proven to be able to hit home runs to all parts of the ballpark. Again using ESPN’s Home Run Tracker, Sano’s home runs have gone to left 8 times, to center 8 times, and 5 times to right so far this season. According to distance and placement, if Sano were hitting all of his home runs in Marlins Park, 20 of his 21 home runs would have been home runs. The final 1 would have had a chance but may have hit off the center field wall instead.
For comparison, Sano’s first round opponent, and AL Central rival, Mike Moustakas has hit his home runs almost exclusively over the right field fence. Why might any of this be important come derby night? In Moustakas’ case, if some outside condition such as wind makes pulling the ball to right hard, he doesn’t have any other strategies to employ. Sano, on the other hand, has proven that he has the ability to change his approach to however the ball is carrying best that evening.
With so many prolific home run hitters, Sano isn’t the only participant with the ability to spread his home run power around the park. Aaron Judge and his 6’7″ powerful frame have also hit his home runs to all fields. Even though Stanton takes the #1 seed, Judge and his major league leading 30 home runs will likely end up as many experts pick to win the home run derby.
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There are plenty of reasons to have high expectations for Sano as he competes for the home run derby crown in 2017. Everyone watching should see a healthy amount of home runs leap off the bats of some of the most exciting hitters in the game Monday night. Miami weather will have a forecast that calls for a 100% of “Sa-no.” And one of those “Sa-No doubters” just might have Miguel bringing hardware back to the Twin Cities to start the second half of the season.