The Twins are reportedly considering sending Miguel Sano down. Why? He’s slumping lately and his defense has been poor. Which, well, his defense is always going to be poor. Twins manager Paul Molitor, however talks about it as a big picture issue:
“I think it goes along the lines with young players who get to the big leagues and they either subconsciously, or their agents, someone’s telling them they’ve got everything figured out and go enjoy the life,” Molitor said. “It’s contrary to what’s real in terms of you don’t want to ever get too comfortable. And there are other guys we’ve had discussions with as young players to keep their focus on how they got here, why they’re here and [doing] what they need to do to stay here.”
Given how much the Twins have jerked Sano around I think it’s a bit much to put all of this on his maturity or complacency or whatever it is Molitor is not so subtly implying here. He’s basically a natural DH but the Twins moved him to right field, which seemed doomed before he even played there, and are now trying him at third base. That’s not likely to work either. Sano has a great arm, but his glove and defensive instincts are just not cut out for anyplace but maybe first base and the Twins already have a third baseman.
His recent slump aside, Sano has been a decent hitter this year and he certainly showed last year that he’s capable of doing damage at the big league level. While he won’t be playing first base as long as Joe Mauer is around, just putting him at DH and letting him do the one thing we know he can be good at seems like a good idea. I realize it’s hard for a lot of people to get their mind around a 23-year-old becoming a full-time DH, but it has happened.
Indeed, if the Twins had gotten their heads around that concept in the early 2000s, the past several years may have looked very different for the organization.