Twins Gchat: What are you expecting from Miguel Sanó this time around?

@DerekWetmore: I’ve got a can of worms for you. Miguel Sanó is back with the Twins. What do you expect from him this year?

@PhilMackey: Honestly, very little. I’m keeping expectations low. It’s hard to convince me a guy with conditioning and injury issues and the second highest strikeout rate in MLB history is set to all of the sudden become the monster player we all thought he would be a few years ago. If he settles in as a .240/.315/.490 power hitter who stays healthy for 130 games long-term, I’d say that’s a win for Sanó. But it’s not the type of productivity I would sign to a long-term extension.

DW: Yeah, I think we should separate the 8-year expectations from the 5-month expectations. If Sanó can be a masher who strikes out 35% of the time but hits for big power and can hold his own at third base – that’s a good player! And the popular narrative that he’s a negative value player makes me want to push back. If he does all those things I said, then he’s a valuable addition to the Twins in the middle of the season. And if he’s Joey Gallo then it’s the type of player that can really help you come October.

DW: What’s the % chance this goes way better than expected and Sanó is a star? Or, if you like: What’s the % chance this goes way worse than expected and Sanó is a bust?

PM: Honestly, I hate to be a buzz kill, but there’s a better chance he’s a bust than an all-around star. But to put percentages on both — 30% chance he turns into a star, 40% chance he’s a bust. The other remaining percentage represents Sanó just being a powerful DH who strikes out a lot. By the way, as I type this, the Twins just reached 80 home runs on the season. It’s mid-May!

DW: Twins “on-pace” home run stats in the Juicy Baseball era will never not be fun. … I guess I’m the conservative one yet again, because I look at Sanó’s potential outcomes on a little bit more of a bell curve. You could point to any trouble he’s had along the way and build a case against him ever “figuring it out.” You could also spin the on-field performance and say he’s gotten a number of bad breaks with injuries, and the last time he had a long stretch of uninterrupted healthy baseball, he was a really good hitter.

Real world is messier than that and I think the “gray area” is the most likely outcome for the Twins’ third baseman. I’ll say 10% chance he’s a star long-term; 10% this just doesn’t work out in any meaningful capacity in Minnesota. The rest is along a sliding scale on which Sanó is a 2-to-4-win player (FanGraphs) each year. That guy helps the Twins win games, but never challenges Mike Trout for largest contract in baseball history.

Nelson Cruz placed on injured list, Luis Arraez promoted from Rochester