Sano is the Twins' No. 2 prospect -- and No. 4 overall, according to MLB.com -- but lately, he has looked more like a polished veteran. Tuesday, the 22-year-old fought off a 98-mph fastball to tie the game in the eighth inning. A day later, he went 3-for-3 with two home runs in the Twins' 11-1 victory over the Rangers.
In addition to his two homers, Sano had six RBIs, a sacrifice fly and a walk. His two homers went a projected 836 feet, according to Statcast™, and his six RBIs in one game tied a Twins rookie record.
Sano said he has seen more offspeed pitches than he did at Double-A Chattanooga, but he has responded well.
"I tried to make adjustments every at-bat," Sano said. "I try to read the pitcher."
After homering on a fastball earlier in the game, Sano got six straight offspeed pitches in his second at-bat and he made Rangers starter Nick Martinez pay.
"I wasn't sure if he was going to get a pitch to hit there with an open base but the guy made a mistake when he got to 3-2 and he hit that one -- you don't see many balls in the upper deck," Molitor said.
Sano's patience has been on display since he got the callup in early July, and while his strikeout total is high, he's also walking and getting on base at a good clip.
"I think that he continues to show remarkable patience in his at-bats, paying attention on the side to see how guys are pitching, particularly to other right-handed hitters," Molitor said. "I think the first home run was impressive for me because the guy almost quick-pitched out of the stretch with a man on second and he threw a fastball down and in and somehow stayed inside and hit it as far as he did."
And he's not lacking in confidence, either, though he's played in just 33 Major League games. When the Twins signed him in 2009, he was just 16, but despite that, he told his future teammate Joe Mauer that one day he'd be up in the Majors hitting in between Mauer and Justin Morneau, both All-Stars that year.
"He told me, 'Really? I said 'Yeah, I can be," Sano recalled. "I know Morneau is not here, but I'm here."
And his at-bats have become must-see for both his teammates and fans alike.
"Especially when he gets an opportunity to drive in runs or has people on base, you're kind of getting that feeling, you start [to] expect something good to happen," Molitor said.
Betsy Helfand is an associate reporter for MLB.com.