Replacing Luis Arraez at Second Base
Image courtesy of © Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports
Although Arráez isn’t performing to the standard he set in his rookie season, he’s been having a very solid sophomore year for the Twins slashing .288/.336/.337 and showing improvement on the defensive side of the ball. That said, after a rough August and having multiple occasions where he was noticeably in pain while running the bases he finds himself on the IL for the first time in his career.
The Twins will give him a couple weeks to get the knee healthy before entering the playoffs but we are looking at the possibility of needing someone to fill in through the rest of the regular and postseason. This article will look at who that could be and a quick summary of what that might look like.
Given his experience, both at second and on a playoff team, he will likely benefit the most from Arráez’s absence. As valuable as his versatility is, Gonzalez has been dreadful at the plate this season slashing .204/.285/.288 this season. With a career BABIP of .306 some might see it as unlucky that his 2020 BABIP is at .238, and his statcast numbers would support that idea. Many of his advanced metrics are right around his career norms so Marwin could really benefit with more consistent playing time and some positive regression.
As bad as Gonzalez has been, Adrianza has been worse. I don’t think anyone expected Adrianza to match what he did in 2019, but I don’t think anyone expected him to slash .174/.250/.232 either. For Adrianza it’s likely his pitch selection that is at least part to blame as he’s making contact on pitches out of the zone much more than he did last season and over his career, other than that his batted ball metrics are actually similar to 2019. That said, throughout Adrianza’s eight year career, 2019 was though he can’t get much worse I trust Marwin to turn it around before him.
Blankenhorn is staying fresh, or as fresh as he can, over in St. Paul with Lewis and would provide the same versatility that Marwin currently does. In a normal season I would not be a fan of giving a prospect a shot at a part-time role on a playoff team but, of course, this isn’t a normal season. Coming in as the Twins 18th ranked and third oldest prospect according to MLB.com, Blankenhorn isn’t going to wow you with his bat or his defense. That said, Marwin and Adrianza aren’t wow-ing anyone right now either so what’s the harm in giving Blankenhorn a shot?
Obviously, he is naturally a shortstop but sliding over to second isn’t what's keeping him across the river. What is keeping him from the Twins active roster is that he’s not on the 40-man roster. The Twins top prospect will likely need to wait until 2021 to make his MLB debut.
Gordon just recently fully recovered from COVID-19 and reported to the Fort Myers complex to begin baseball activities. If not for the long recovery, this just might have been the opening he needed to make his MLB debut.
What are your thoughts? Stick with Marwin and Adrianza or give Blankenhorn a shot? I’d be surprised if the Twins put a rookie in this position so I’m guessing we’ll be seeing a heavy dose of Marwin and Adrianza over the next two weeks, if not longer.
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