Byron Buxton, Miguel Sano Need to Fix The Same Problem For 2017
The Minnesota Twins aren’t your run-of-the-mill 103-loss team. Yes, the starting rotation is a mess and new chief of baseball operations Derek Falvey has a lot of work to do, but he inherited what should be a nice core at the MLB level.
Two players getting the most attention in this regard are Byron Buxton and Miguel Sano. While they boast vastly different skill sets on the diamond, there was one aspect of the game in which they both struggled with equally in 2016: striking out way too much.
This isn’t exactly a new problem for either of them, though.
In a disappointing 46-game stretch in 2015 as a rookie, Buxton struck out 31.9 percent of the time. He then watched his strikeout rate balloon to 35.6 percent in 331 plate appearances this past season in multiple stints with the Twins.
On the other hand, Sano broke out in 2015 by hitting 18 home runs in 335 plate appearances. His 35.5 percent strikeout rate wasn’t great; but that number was easier to swallow with a 15.8 percent walk rate and 150 wRC+. Since his strikeout rate didn’t improve (36 percent) and both his walk rate (10.9 percent) and wRC+ (107) took nosedives in 2016, it’s something worth being concerned about.
In order to be the cornerstones this organization wants them to be, they must cut down on the strikeouts. And they can do that by taking back control of the strike zone.