Once a highly hyped prospect, Sano has devolved into a one-trick pony providing power and little else. The 2020 campaign was no different, as he showed off his home run stroke but provided little else:
186 At Bats
.204 Batting Average (38 Hits)
13 Home Runs
0 Stolen Bases
.278 On Base Percentage
.478 Slugging Percentage
.301 Batting Average on Balls in Play
He was hitting the ball hard (47.9%) and didn’t take a flyball-centric approach (39.6% flyball rate), while displaying an elite Exit Velocity (95.2 mph, placed him second behind Fernando Tatis Jr.). With all of that working in his favor, what’s not to like?
His inability to make consistent contact looms large, as he struggled to make contact against all types of pitches (Whiff%):
- Hard – 15.04%
- Breaking – 25.00%
- Offspeed – 30.34%
Maybe part of the inflated marks were due to a short sample size, but it’s not like he’s ever been impressive. He owns a career 16.1% SwStr% and 37.0% strikeout rate, so while his 19.1% and 43.9% marks, respectively, were elevated they also weren’t completely surprising.
A career .241 hitter with ample power, it appears that this simply is who he is. The power is there, and over a full season he should continue to produce 30+ HR power. However it comes at a price, and with power not so hard to find there’s better value elsewhere. The name is intriguing, but there’s little chance of him finally putting it all together.
Sources – Fangraphs, Baseball Savant, Brooks Baseball