At some point, Miguel Sano will launch a towering home run that elicits the same kind of oohs and aahs reserved for the grand finale of a Fourth of July fireworks show.
Will that be worth it, the occasional Bunyan-esque bomb sandwiched between a whole lot of strikeouts and feeble at-bats by the Twins first baseman?
“The kinds of at-bats that he's having don't look any different to me than the at-bats that he normally gets. But when he gets a pitch to hit, he's obviously got to hit those pitches.”
It feels inevitable. Frustrating as heck, but inevitable.
Sano looks lost at the plate again. His season has started with a whimper, much like previous Aprils.
He batted four times Wednesday across a doubleheader vs. Boston at Target Field and produced one walk, two strikeouts and a harmless foul out on 13 pitches.
To be fair, not much is going ideally for the entire Twins team right now, losers of five in a row after the doubleheader sweep.
Co-aces Kenta Maeda and Jose Berrios posted a pair of underwhelming outings against the red-hot Red Sox. Clutch hitting continues to be missing. Shortstop Andrelton Simmons, who declined to get vaccinated with the team, was placed on the COVID-19 injury list after testing positive. And Byron Buxton didn't play in either game because of hamstring soreness.
At least the sun poked through the clouds for an inning or so. Other than that, belch.
So, no, Sano's hitting isn't the lone problem. Maybe not even the biggest problem. But it's an eyesore without an obvious or quick fix.
His 18 strikeouts are tied for third-most in Major League Baseball. His .079 batting average ranks last. His .158 slugging percentage ranks next-to-last.
Slow starts happen all the time in baseball. Sano's slump feels more pronounced because he gives the impression of being an automatic out when he steps into the box.
Manager Rocco Baldelli's view is that Sano is being selective at the plate and swinging at good pitches. He's just missing them. Is that supposed to be more reassuring than him chasing pitches out of the zone?
"The kinds of at-bats that he's having don't look any different to me than the at-bats that he normally gets," Baldelli said. "But when he gets a pitch to hit, he's obviously got to hit those pitches."
Sano sat out the first game before being asked to pinch-hit in the seventh (last inning) with a runner at second and the Twins trailing by one run.
He struck out on three pitches.
He made solid contact on the second pitch, but the liner hooked foul down third-base line. Next pitch, he swung and missed on a 96-mph fastball down the middle.
Sano posted an MLB-high 90 strikeouts in the condensed 2020 season, with an unsightly 44% strikeout ratio.
He's not whiffing with the same frequency so far this season (37.5%), but his only real contribution offensively has been a team-high 10 walks.
So what are the Twins' options?
Patience might be the only realistic short-term plan. Ride it out and hope he finds one of his hot streaks.
Sano is 27 years old and in his seventh season. He has 2,300 plate appearances. This is who he is as a hitter. Pick a cliché: All-or-nothing. Feast-or-famine.
The acceptance of strikeouts in modern baseball has made Sano's skill set tolerable to teams who bank on a power surge every so often as a tradeoff.
The Twins could try and trade him, but Sano's value isn't exactly soaring right now. They could bench him, but that's not a long-term solution. Plus, he's making $11 million this season — third-highest on the team — after signing a three-year, $30 million contract in January 2020.
His at-bats have become frustrating to watch as his strikeouts pile up. The Twins front office saw enough value in his approach to reward him with financial security.
In other words, grit your teeth at those aimless swing-and-misses because the organization does not sound willing to pull the plug.
"This is something that Miggy has worked through in the past and worked through it fine," Baldelli said. "We have a plan and we're going to stick to that plan to help him start getting on top of some of those pitches and not just miss them."