When many hear the name Miguel Sano they think of a monster of man that can hit monstrous home runs. Or a man that was in the middle of some nasty allegations last offseason. Or a ball player that can’t stay healthy and live up to all the hype. In the grand scheme of things he could be all of those thoughts. Regardless of your thoughts on Miguel Sano, one thing is true for the 2019 fantasy baseball season….he’s a very nice later round third base draft option.

Miguel Sano will turn 26 years old this season and is still waiting to play over 116 games in the major leagues. Sano has battled injury after injury in his short career including last season where he only played 71 games and has a rod in his shin due to his latest injury. All these injury concerns could be a major reason why Sano is the 23rd third baseman being drafted in the NFBC DC drafts since 1/1, good for pick 222.23 overall.

In the 71 games Sano played in 2018 he only hit .199 with a .286 BABIP, both career lows. He had a career high 43.8% ground ball rate, which is less than ideal for a power hitter. The odd thing for Sano was he still had a pretty solid 41.2% fly ball rate with that ground ball rate. It’s been a consistent part of Sano’s career. He’s had a GB rate of 34% or better and a FB rate of 40.5% or better each season since 2016.

Even though Sano only hit .199 in 2018, he still managed to hit 13 home runs with 41 runs batted in and 32 runs scored. Overall not bad for a man that hit .199 in 71 games. I know we aren’t supposed to project things out like this, but imagine him playing 142 games (again never played more than 116) while hitting 26+ home runs with 82+ RBIs and 70+ runs. If those were his final counting stats then many would be in on drafting Sano.

We shouldn’t just dwell on the injury ridden 2018 season, even though he’s been injured most other seasons. In 2016 and 2017 he was a very decent power source hitting 25 and 28 home runs. He also drove in at least 66 RBIs and scored at least 57 runs. He’s been very productive while not playing many games.

A couple major changes need to take place and very well could take place in 2019. First being health. Yes, it’s hard to predict injury but early reports from new Twins Manager Rocco Baldelli have been very positive. Baldelli is telling the rest of the Twins management and beat writers that they are all going to be very impressed with Sano’s overall health and conditioning going into to 2019. Second, an improvement to his strikeout rate would be great for all facets of his production. In Sano’s last 3 MLB seasons he has strikeout rates of 36%, 35.8% and 38.5%, obviously less than ideal. A good indicator things may change in this result is his small sample in the Dominican Winter league where he struck out only 24.5% of the time in 49 at bats.

Most of the Sano news isn’t great. He has a low batting average, hits a ton of ground balls, strikes out a lot and struggles with health. Yeah, it doesn’t look good, but at the same time it doesn’t take much to make things much better. Just a little improvement in each category leads to a fantasy baseball monster. Even with all the downsides he did have an 11.8% barrel rate and a really good hard contact rate of 42.5%. Again, the positives are there for Miguel Sano.

At pick 222.23, the end of round 14 in a 15 team league leaves a lot to be excited about for Miguel Sano. Improve some plate discipline, improve the BABIP leading to a better BA and things could be good to go. The projection site THE BAT agrees as they project Sano to play 138 games with a .240 average, 31 home runs, 84 runs batted in and 79 runs. If these projection sites are in the ballpark like they usually are then Miguel Sano will be a steal on fantasy baseball draft day.