On Thursday afternoon it was announced that Miguel Sano was to be activated off of the disabled list after missing the last 24 games of the season. After injuring his left hamstring earlier in the year, he was placed on the disabled list and once the injury improved was required to play five games for Triple-A Rochester, a minor league affiliate of the Minnesota Twins. In those five games, Sano had a .375 batting average with two home runs and three RBIs. While this is a small sample size against minor league pitching, it is still promising to see Sano post these numbers after the injury. Miguel Sano’s return to the lineup is perfect timing for the Minnesota Twins because he adds more depth, flexibility, and power to the lineup as the team’s schedule becomes more important moving forward.
One of the most notable qualities about Sano is the power that he brings to the plate. Eddie Rosario is currently the team leader in home runs with nine this season, but he is not typically known for his power. When Sano has been healthy this season, he hit five home runs, over half the amount that Rosario has hit. After watching the Twins lineup for the past few games, it is evident that the team is lacking a true power hitter. Sano has had problems striking out in the past, but he is the batter that could fill the void of power hitter. Plus, adding another good batter to the batting order can help others in the lineup begin to hit better as well.
Getting Sano off of the disabled list also adds flexibility and depth to the Twins lineup. When he is not the designated hitter, Sano is typically at third base but also has some experience at first base. Since he is coming off of the disabled list with a left hamstring injury, it would probably be best to have him be the designated hitter until manager Paul Molitor is confident in Sano’s ability to stay healthy while playing in the field. However, once they are confident in his health, it would be useful to have Sano play first or third base to give players like Eduardo Escobar, Joe Mauer, or Logan Morrison a day to rest if needed. With the way Escobar is currently playing defensively at third base and if first baseman Joe Mauer returns to the lineup sooner rather than later, it seems like Sano would fit in well as the designated hitter since he does provide power to the lineup and has had a history of injuries. Nevertheless, it is nice for Minnesota to have plenty of options looking ahead to when the team is fully healthy.
Sano has the chance to make an immediate impact on the Minnesota Twins and it is important to his own career that he performs well, especially since he had been somewhat disappointing before last season. It is a great time for him to come back to the Twins as the next stretch of the schedule is quite important for the team to perform well. In their next 23 games of the season, 17 are against division opponents. The other six games are against the Seattle Mariners and the Los Angeles Angels, two AL West teams that are playing very well in the first two months of the season. If the Twins want to make a move in the first half of the season, to prove that they are legitimate contenders in the AL Central, now is the time to do so and adding Miguel Sano to the lineup should help the team’s cause. He has to stay healthy and hit well, but now is a perfect time for Sano to prove that he can positively impact the Minnesota Twins.