It’s probably going to be a few years before any conversation surrounding the Twins doesn’t involve Miguel Sano and Byron Buxton, and the month of April, at least on the offensive side of the ball, raised two questions. First, “what’s wrong with Byron Buxton?” and second “Holy smokes, did you just see what Miguel Sano did?”
Buxton’s well documented struggles revolved around his strikeouts and inability to make contact. He only had 4 hits in his first 11 days, exemplifying his ugly start. Things are starting to turn around a bit, though. He has a .227 average in the last 14 days, and a .300 average in the past week (not including today). He has 4 hits in the past 5 games, matching his total from the first 11. If trends continue, Buxton is due for a very good month of May.
Sano hasn’t been having any issues to start the season, it seems. He leads the team in home runs, with 7. He leads the American League in RBI, and his OPS in the quadruple digits. He hit his 50th career home run today, doing so faster than any Twin in history. He’s batting .316 through the first month of the season, and is now walking at an 18.6% rate. In short, Sano’s hot start is one of the primary drivers to the Twins’ impressive and wholly unexpected start to the season.
Those are the two things that can be said in response to the Buxton and Sano questions highlighted above. Buxton strikes out too much, and all Miguel Sano does is hit. Well, given Buxton’s recent turn around, and frankly, the way Sano is, after today’s game, their strike out rates stand at 37.2% and 33% respectively. Interpret that however you feel is appropriate.
Buxton is too speedy for his current BABIP to linger in the .256 range. So long as he continues to make contact, his numbers will improve across the board. Sano’s BABIP is actually well higher than even the best hitters, and his high average will undoubtedly come down. The good news is that most of his value doesn’t come from his contact hitting, and his power won’t go anywhere. The rest of the team might continue to stumble, but Buxton and Sano look well positioned to make May even better than April.