Minnesota Twins: Analyzing the Twins’ options to rebuild the infield

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ATLANTA, GEORGIA - OCTOBER 03: Josh Donaldson #20 of the Atlanta Braves reacts after advancing to third base on a double by teammate Nick Markakis (not pictured) against the St. Louis Cardinals during the sixth inning in game one of the National League Division Series at SunTrust Park on October 03, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GEORGIA - OCTOBER 03: Josh Donaldson #20 of the Atlanta Braves reacts after advancing to third base on a double by teammate Nick Markakis (not pictured) against the St. Louis Cardinals during the sixth inning in game one of the National League Division Series at SunTrust Park on October 03, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /
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MINNEAPOLIS, MN – APRIL 18: Miguel Sano #22 of the Minnesota Twins makes a play to get out Lonnie Chisenhall #8 of the Cleveland Indians at first base during the fifth inning of the game on April 18, 2017 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
MINNEAPOLIS, MN – APRIL 18: Miguel Sano #22 of the Minnesota Twins makes a play to get out Lonnie Chisenhall #8 of the Cleveland Indians at first base during the fifth inning of the game on April 18, 2017 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) /

Moving Miguel Sano to first base

This is the most common idea on how to revamp the Twins infield and it is the most likely of the scenarios that will pop up in the coming weeks. While Sano’s strength has been his bat, the bigger topic of discussion has been about his defense, where he has been good, but not great at third base during his major league career.

Sano’s performance in the hot corner can be measured by UZR, which attempts to quantify which plays a player makes and should make by determining how many runs he saves. Throughout his career, his UZR hovered just under -2.0 runs saved, but last season, those numbers completely went off the rails.

Sano tied for second in MLB last season with 17 errors at third base behind Boston’s Rafael Devers, who had 22. That number is staggering considering that Sano played just over half a season (91 games) at third base and that sent his UZR projection over 150 games to -19.9 according to FanGraphs.

With a pitiful performance at third base, the Twins briefly experimented with Sano at first base over nine games and while he did make a pair of errors in those games, it wasn’t near as damaging as his time over at third base.

By moving Sano, it could at the very least serve as a stop-gap until Brett Rooker or Alex Kirilloff is ready for their major league debut. In the short term, the Twins would be allowed to dive into a third base market that’s deeper than what’s available at first base and could also improve their defense in the process.

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