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Game Thread Twins @ Royals 6:05pm cdt 8/8/2020ad

Minnesota Twins Talk Yesterday, 09:02 PM
1. Dedication: If i were clever, i would dedicate this game thread to the pioneers of Twins Daily. But i wasn't around in the before time...
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Where are they now? Ex-Twins in 2020

Minnesota Twins Talk Yesterday, 09:52 PM
I said in the 2019 thread that I would start this forum thread...    Let's start populating it. How many former Twins are on ro...
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Future Roster Transactions

Minnesota Twins Talk Yesterday, 03:39 PM
Jake Odorizzi gets activated today to face the Royals, filling out the 28-man active roster which will include 16 (!) pitchers. The way t...
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Royce Lewis on YouTube

Twins Minor League Talk Yesterday, 10:16 PM
Twins top prospect Royce Lewis started his own YouTube page since the quarantine started. He's posted several entries. Some are short. So...
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2020 Twins Transactions

Minnesota Twins Talk Yesterday, 10:16 PM
There haven't been many yet, but I'll start this today...   The Twins just announced that Zack Littell (hamstring) has been placed o...
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Passan: Twins to Sign Catcher Alex Avila

Jeff Passan of ESPN reported Friday morning that the Twins had an agreement with veteran catcher Alex Avila on a one-year, $4.25 million deal. The 32-year-old posted a .774 OPS and started 49 games behind the plate for the Diamondbacks last season.
Image courtesy of © Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports
As Passan noted, the catching market has developed quickly, so it's good to see the Twins lock down Jason Castro's replacement.



Speaking of Castro, Avila's skill set matches up nicely to the former Twins backstop. Avila is a left-handed hitting catcher who boasts a career .241/.358/.417 slash line (.775 OPS) against right-handed pitching.

It's not a perfect comp, as Castro has more power and is the better defender, but Avila will provide the Twins with a veteran presence who is adept at getting on base.

Avila is no stranger to the AL Central, as he spent the first seven years of his career with the Tigers, was with the White Sox in 2016 and then returned to Detroit in 17. Alex's father, Al Avila, is the current executive vice president of baseball operations and general manager of the Tigers.

He's been with the Diamondbacks the past two years, following up a disappointing 2018 with a solid performance last season. Among the 48 catchers with 200 plate appearances last season, Avila ranked fourth in OBP (.353), 15th in OPS (.774), 19th in wRC+ (97) and 23rd in WAR (1.3). Avila also graded out as a positive pitch framer for Arizona last year, trailing Castro by a small margin (3.2 FRM vs. 2.8 FRM, per FanGraphs).

Just a couple weeks ago, Cody Christie mentioned Avila as one of the underrated free agents who would be a good fit for the Twins.

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68 Comments

I like this move. If we can't bring back Castro, this is the next best thing. Jeffers should be ready for 2021.
    • birdwatcher, nokomismod, gagu and 5 others like this

People may not see this as a big deal but this is a fantastic signing. Avila is a similar style player to Castro but actually does a lot of things better. 

 

Castro gets a lot of credit for his defense, specifically his framing. Avila actually grades out better. He's actually in the 92nd percentile in all of baseball. That's huge not just for our young pitchers, but for the whole staff.

 

His offensive numbers look unimpressive, but he got on base at a higher clip than Castro, which was Castro's best offensive skill. While Avila hit close to .200, his expected batting average was closer to .250. Even without tweaks, his offense could improve dramatically just as a result of better luck.

 

This is a fantastic backup catching option and will slot in perfectly for 60-70 games next year. And it came at a price that won't affect financial flexibility in any meaningful way.

    • birdwatcher, nicksaviking, Oldgoat_MN and 8 others like this

I wasn't initially a fan of this signing because of his K issues but his K rate is closer to 30% versus right handers so I can live with that especially with his excellent walk rate.Alex looks like a solid platoon mate with Garver and it sounds like his defense has improved as well.Solid pickup for the Bomba squad.

    • wabene and Captain Torii like this

Solid backup catcher.

    • wabene likes this

Brandon really likes this move!!

 

And yes, they seem to love Jeffers and he should be ready by 2021... and Rortvedt should be in the equation then too. 

    • beckmt, Danchat, goulik and 9 others like this

Thanks TTKiller for the mention of his defense.He fits well with Garver as a left handed hitter.Although I seem to recall that he was very good defensively back whenever playing with the Tigers, I wasn't certain that was true.If it is it fits perfectly with Garver starting 90+ games a year, Avila at 50+ and Astudillo getting 10-20 starts at some point during the year.

    • wabene, Captain Torii and In My La-Z-boy like this

"It's not a perfect comp, as Castro has more power and is the better defender, but Avila will provide the Twins with a veteran presence who is adept at getting on base."So are we getting better?

 

The rotation is about to be lead by Berrios, Oddorizzi, Pineda, ?,?Is that better?Cron is gone, no answer is provided yet.Has the BP improved?Now we have a second catcher that is good, but not quite as good as the last one.  

 

So where is the forward momentum?  

Time for a big one.

    • notoriousgod71, sweetmusicviola16 and Dome Dogg like this

I'm heading down to Hennepin Avenue right now to put my blanket down on the parade route. 

    • birdwatcher, nokomismod, goulik and 5 others like this
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SF Twins Fan
Dec 06 2019 08:28 AM

Meh... He fills a need, is cheap and is only signed for one year but not excited about him.

    • gunnarthor and mikelink45 like this

Should be good enough as the backup catcher. Let him play vs. right hand pitchers and it'll be alright.

 

If Garver gets hurt and Avila is the starter for a while, I won't be real jazzed up.

"It's not a perfect comp, as Castro has more power and is the better defender, but Avila will provide the Twins with a veteran presence who is adept at getting on base." So are we getting better?

The rotation is about to be lead by Berrios, Oddorizzi, Pineda, ?,? Is that better? Cron is gone, no answer is provided yet. Has the BP improved? Now we have a second catcher that is good, but not quite as good as the last one.

So where is the forward momentum?
Time for a big one.


The current alternative is Austudillo. Yes, this move made them better.
    • birdwatcher, Twins33, Mike Frasier Law and 7 others like this
"So are we getting better? I would say after the performance of our catcher platoon last year holding serve there is quite good. Also while Castro may have the slight edge at framing Avila guns em down better so a wash.
    • birdwatcher, Mike Frasier Law, Dantes929 and 3 others like this
I really liked Vogt if not Castro, as I stated in the other thread, but this is a fine move for 1 yr. Solid, experienced, some power, and just a decent compliment to Garver.

Since the other thread is destined for closure...

 

158 Ks in 358 ABs in last 2 seasons.If the team needs a hit in late innings I assume you pinch hit with Turtle and let him catch an inning or 2.

Avila does strike out a lot, but he also walks a lot, so using ABs will overstate his K rate. He has 435 PAs the last two seasons -- which still means a very high 36.3% K rate!

 

I was going to say, his career rate is only 29.1%, but that was from his early years. He's been above that mark every year since 2013 (33.0% in that time).

    • Oldgoat_MN likes this

 

"It's not a perfect comp, as Castro has more power and is the better defender, but Avila will provide the Twins with a veteran presence who is adept at getting on base."So are we getting better?

 

The rotation is about to be lead by Berrios, Oddorizzi, Pineda, ?,?Is that better?Cron is gone, no answer is provided yet.Has the BP improved?Now we have a second catcher that is good, but not quite as good as the last one.  

 

So where is the forward momentum?  

Time for a big one.

Him and Castro are fairly similar on offense and his defense and on base ability look better so yes, I'd argue we got better. It's okay to enjoy these smaller moves that shore up the roster. It's a good signing.

    • birdwatcher, chpettit19 and wabene like this
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sweetmusicviola16
Dec 06 2019 08:47 AM

 

"It's not a perfect comp, as Castro has more power and is the better defender, but Avila will provide the Twins with a veteran presence who is adept at getting on base."So are we getting better?

 

The rotation is about to be lead by Berrios, Oddorizzi, Pineda, ?,?Is that better?Cron is gone, no answer is provided yet.Has the BP improved?Now we have a second catcher that is good, but not quite as good as the last one.  

 

So where is the forward momentum?  

Time for a big one.

2 more SP spots and Cron's spot left to get better. I still expect one of those SP to be filled by who we already have.

 

So far you are right in that we are not better.We have some everyday players who it wouldn't surprise if we see some regression. I don't see Odo or Pineda being as good either. Berrios I think will be even better. We lost a few coaches too. CWS is better, and even if they don't win the Central yet will be a harder W when they are played.

 

"So are we getting better? I would say after the performance of our catcher platoon last year holding serve there is quite good. Also while Castro may have the slight edge at framing Avila guns em down better so a wash.

Framing is far from perfect, but Baseball Savant pegs Avila as a better framer. Castro declined a bit to the point where Garver actually rated better in 2018 by some metrics. And I 100% agree, the arm will be awesome.

    • wabene likes this

Also, while Avila is still good at drawing walks, his 2019 stats were inflated a bit by intentional walks. Avila batted primarily in the 8th spot in front of a pitcher last year, and drew 7 IBB in only 201 PA. If you remove those IBB from his BB and PA, his OBP would drop from .353 to .330, his OPS+ from 100 to perhaps 92 or so. (Still a good walk rate, with only a .207 AVG!)

    • by jiminy, Dman, SF Twins Fan and 1 other like this
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Battle ur tail off
Dec 06 2019 09:01 AM

Good move. I like this guy as a backup catcher. I am very curious though why more effort wasn't put into retaining Castro? Last year's catching situation was flat out, the best in baseball, offensively anyway. 

    • SQUIRREL and by jiminy like this

 

Good move. I like this guy as a backup catcher. I am very curious though why more effort wasn't put into retaining Castro? Last year's catching situation was flat out, the best in baseball, offensively anyway. 

The answer is money, right? 

    • Shaitan and Battle ur tail off like this

It's a solid move for a bench player. Good for us.

    • Twins33, howieramone2 and bighat like this

 

2 more SP spots and Cron's spot left to get better. I still expect one of those SP to be filled by who we already have.

 

So far you are right in that we are not better.We have some everyday players who it wouldn't surprise if we see some regression. I don't see Odo or Pineda being as good either. Berrios I think will be even better. We lost a few coaches too. CWS is better, and even if they don't win the Central yet will be a harder W when they are played.

 Yes, its likely some will regress but so much depends on Sano and Buxton coming in, doing well and staying healthy.That would make up for some regression from others.Might not be record breaking but should still be a good offense.Rosario could improve. Another year from surgery says Pineda should be better and fresher once the suspension ends. I have less faith in Berrios than I do in Odorizzi and Pineda. I would have had a lot of confidence in our pen if Dyson wasn't a bust but still more than going into last year. I have lots of confidence that Dobnak, Graterol and Smeltzer can improve on what Perez and Gibson gave us. I don;t expect them to win 100 but I expect them to contend which is enough to make me look forward to the season.

    • Dman and wabene like this
Nice backup signing. And thankfully they saved money.
    • SQUIRREL, Twins33 and bighat like this

FWIW, Castro was only predicted to get 2/10 by MLBTR, so his salary might end up similar to Avila's. Although Castro probably has a better case to get a starting job somewhere rather than re-signing as a backup to Garver (MLBTR slotted him with the Angels).

    • birdwatcher and wabene like this
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operation mindcrime
Dec 06 2019 09:12 AM
Solid move at roughly half the cost of Castro's 2019 salary!
    • bighat likes this