Minnesota Twins: Looking Back at Miguel Sano’s 2017 Home Run Derby

Minnesota Twins first baseman Miguel Sano bats during the ninth inning against the Cleveland Indians at Target Field. (Jordan Johnson-USA TODAY Sports)
Minnesota Twins first baseman Miguel Sano bats during the ninth inning against the Cleveland Indians at Target Field. (Jordan Johnson-USA TODAY Sports) /

The Home Run Derby was yesterday and Washington Nationals superstar Juan Soto beat out Minnesota Twins archrival José Ramirez, Albert Pujols, and Julio Rodriguez to take home the crown. He was the first Nats player to win it since Bryce Harper did it in 2018.

It’s almost poetic to look at it from the fact that it was Harper’s last year in Washington, and it may very well be the same for Soto. Let’s look at some of the other players that stood out, and how they compare to the last Twins player to be in the derby, Miguel Sano.

We look back at the last Minnesota Twins player to make the Home Run Derby.

Non-favorites stole the show, and two of the contestants with the worst odds coming into the Derby managed to stand out. Albert Pujols at forty-two years of age somehow was able to upset the No. 1 seed Kyle Schwarber in the first round.

Many were worried about how many bombs Pujols was going to be able to hit, and he ultimately had a remarkable showing with 35 home runs over two rounds.

The likely Rookie of the year Julio Rodriguez had the most impressive night tallying a total of 81 home runs in his path to a second-place finish. J-Rod put on a clinic hitting 63 bombs in the first two rounds and definitely reached the final more tired than Juan Soto (who needed only 34 homers to get there, two more than what Rodriguez needed to beat Seager in the first round).

Both Julio Rodriguez and Albert Pujols, and their performances in the 2022 Home Run Derby, provide a nice segway into the last Twins hitter to participate in the competition and one of the oddest showings of this new era with the set clock instead of outs.

The currently injured Twins power hitter, was one of the eight contestants in the Derby a few years ago in Miami. Aaron Judge was the winner that year, but a lot of people (including in the Derby broadcast) had Sano as a sleeper for the crown, and he did make it all to the way to the final, but in a very odd way.

Albert Pujols surprisingly topped 15 homers in each of his rounds, and that was certainly more than what the Minnesota Twins’ hitter Sano was able to do in his entire run. Sano was wildly consistent at doing just the bare minimum to either advance or at least keep things interesting,

Sano hit 11, 11, and 10 in each of the three rounds, and in only one of those two, did he actually stop early after having already advanced, he did so in the second round after beating Sanchez with roughly 40 seconds left on the clock.

Looking at this new format the gap, between Julio Rodriguez’s 81 home runs and the 32 that Sano hit in 2017 is the biggest one by two contestants to make the finals without tie-breaking rounds involved.

It’s been a while since a Twin has participated in the Derby. Hopefully, someone joins the party next year and we can have another memorable run like Sano had way back in 2017.

Next. Grading the Twins’ First 5 Picks in the 2022 MLB Draft. dark