His issues have been mostly self-inflicted to this point, but now a seemingly minor, accidental injury has become something more severe for Miguel Sano.
After years of conditioning issues and related injuries that overwhelmed his talent, Miguel Sano seemed to take action and showed up this spring in great shape. But he also came to Minnesota Twins spring training with a cut on his right heel, suffered when his Dominican Winter League team was celebrating a championship in January.
Sano has been in a walking boot up to this point, in order to keep the cut from re-opening as caution was well-warranted. He was apparently making good progress though, with Dan Hayes of The Athletic reporting last Thursday the cut was 80 percent healed and Sano would be re-evaluated in a week.
But on Tuesday, five days after that optimism, Twins chief baseball officer Derek Falvey told reporters the news has turned for the worse regarding Sano.
This was apparently the second debridement procedure Sano has undergone on his lower right Achilles. There are no indications of the first procedure being made public, surely so as not to inspire pessimism about Sano. He is expected to be out until May.
It seems like longer ago, but Sano burst on the scene with 18 home runs in 80 games for the Twins in 2015 as a 22-year-old. He looked like a polished, discerning hitter (.385 OPS, 15.8 percent walk rate), even while striking out 35.5 percent of the time. He still struck out a lot over the following two seasons, while hitting 53 home runs over that span, but Sano took fewer walks (11 percent walk rate) while hitting the ball to the opposite field less and less. Last year was a lost year, with a demotion all the way down to High-A ball to work on everything.
Patrick Reusse of the Minneapolis Star Tribune once said of Sano, “he can be Miguel Cabrera or Dave Kingman, and it’s up to him which one.” He was on the fast track to becoming Kingman, until apparently seeing the writing on the wall this past offseason.
This latest injury is clearly not his fault. But when it comes to why he’ll never fulfill his potential, Sano is quickly entering the category of “it’s always something.” Marwin Gonzalez is now in line to go into the season as the Twins’ primary third baseman.