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Twins Minor League Talk 29 May 2020
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Report From The Fort: Mulling Marwin's Ugly Spring

FT. MYERS, FL – Marwin Gonzalez signed with the Minnesota Twins on February 25th, with spring training already underway. Last year, two free agents joined up in similarly late fashion, and as we all know, things didn't work out so well with Lance Lynn or Logan Morrison.

With this in mind, should we be concerned about Gonzalez's spring struggles?
Image courtesy of Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
For his part, Gonzalez says he is starting to feel better at the plate following his late start.

"I've been seeing the pitches better and slowing down the game," he said on Wednesday. "That's a good thing."

His results offensively haven't necessarily been reflective. Through Friday, Gonzalez had managed three singles and two walks in 24 plate appearances, to go along with nine strikeouts (39%). It'd be nice to see him build some sort of momentum heading into the season, given that the switch hitter figures to play a pivotal role in the middle of the Twins' lineup.

For what it's worth, the 30-year-old Gonzalez was slow to get going at the plate last year, posting a .217/.291/.321 in April and May before turning it around with an .805 OPS the rest of the way.

The greater concern right now might be his glove. To my eye, Gonzalez has not looked very good at third base. I've only been here to watch a handful of games – and in that time I've seen a lazily bounced throw, a misplayed hot grounder, and an extremely errant throw charged as an error – but people I've spoken to that've been around much longer haven't been particularly impressed either.

Asked how he feels about his defense at third relative to other positions, Gonzalez says he doesn't see much difference – "I think I can play in the infield, same level at all four (positions)," he opined – but his defensive metrics don't grade out particularly well with a -6.7 UZR/150 and -1 DRS in 576 career innings at the hot corner.

His manager expresses "nothing but full confidence in Marwin’s ability to play just about anywhere on the field."

"I don’t make judgments really in spring training at all, but watching the guy get his work in and watching his hands and watching his feet and watching his transfers and things like that, I think it’s easy to feel really good about him," said Rocco Baldelli.

Perhaps Baldelli is right. Maybe we shouldn't make anything out of Gonzalez's spring performance. After all, Lynn and Morrison both played quite well last spring after coming aboard. I remember being on hand for his dominant debut against the Orioles last year, when he finished Grapefruit League play with a 10-to-2 K/BB ratio and just one run allowed in seven innings. Morrison, in a more extended sample, hit .290/.353/.419 over 31 AB. Neither of those impressive showings portended any kind of regular-season success with the Twins.

So it's just another reminder to take spring results with a grain of salt. Still, Twins fans will be feeling a little more comfortable come Opening Day if Gonzalez shows a little more sharpness here down the final exhibition stretch.

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I'm not too concerned about his bat, but it does seem like he's going to be a poor 3B defensively. 


Let's see how Adrianza did in his 223 innings at 3B last year:

(min 200 innings)

UZR: 24th/56

DPR: 30th/56

Range: 15th/56


Looks like Adrianza is the better bet defensively at 3B.

    • glunn, ewen21 and SomeGuy like this
Mar 23 2019 04:19 PM
Reason # 12 why Ehire Adrianza isn’t going anywhere.
    • Twins33, Danchat, DocBauer and 1 other like this
Mar 23 2019 04:22 PM
Astudillo should start at 3B and catch once a week. Work Gonzalez in when La Tortuga takes an off day after catching and then let him spell Schoop once a week until he's warmed up. If Austin doesn't make the team, then Garver can give Cron a breather at first once a week. Don't just play Marwin because he's making $10.5 mill. Free La Tortuga!
    • glunn, jimbo92107, bluechipper and 5 others like this

Going by UZR/150, Marwin just isn't really a good utility infielder, as a 3B/SS/2B. He's done OK at 1B, except in 2017--although then you're playing an average-ish bat at a position where you'd really like plus-production. Ideally, he would be used most often as a reserve corner OF. He's been a fairly good defensive LF.


If he's the semi-regular 3B, or spends most of his time in the infield, it's probably going to cut into his value.


    • mikelink45, Doctor Wu and SomeGuy like this

Gonzalez has been doing much better the last week.Also of note:He was nursing a right shoulder injury earlier the spring and not sure how much that had to do with his earlier ineffectiveness.


Third base will be maned by committee in April with Gonzalez likely getting most of the starts.Sano is about a week ahead of schedule as well, so he might return before May. Lots of off days in April.

    • glunn, mikelink45, DocBauer and 3 others like this
Mar 23 2019 05:58 PM
Gonzalez 0-3 with 3 Ks today ... Astudillo at the ready
    • mikelink45 likes this

Was not a big fan of him before the trade and still not. Cave, Astudillo, Adrianza, and Austin can do everything Gonzalez can do.

    • BJames likes this
Mar 23 2019 09:11 PM
Maybe I’m just not seeing them, but last year you made frequent updates about who was released. I haven’t seen any this year. Have they really not released that many guys?

Hey, we have Adrianza in the wings!


Brock Beauchamp
Mar 23 2019 09:28 PM

Someone please let me know why I should care if Gonzalez has a bad spring.

    • Mike Frasier Law, stringer bell, beckmt and 7 others like this


Someone please let me know why I should care if Gonzalez has a bad spring.

This...man start the season, he will be fine.  Probably not great, but Sano is not great there.

The bullpen should be our focus, I'm terrified where we are right now


Same reason I want to see how Buck reacts to a regular season slider breaking outside of the zone from Bauer before I think he has arrived....

    • Kevin, DocBauer, CUtomorrownight and 1 other like this
Mar 24 2019 12:18 AM

Well, at least we hit that point where we're so ready for the season we've forgotten that Spring Training is irrelevant.


It's irrelevant.Mull no more.

Well, at least we hit that point where we're so ready for the season we've forgotten that Spring Training is irrelevant.


It's irrelevant.Mull no more.

Irrelevant? In 2018, Boston led the Grapefruit League with a 22-9 record. Look how the season turned out for them. Houston was second at 21-9, and they had a good season too. In third place was Baltimore, who... um, errr, never mind..............

    • Twins33, stringer bell, h2oface and 6 others like this

Of the guys we picked up this Winter, it looks like they'll be Batting 5-6-7.I don't think any of them should have a long leash.We'll have guys on the Bench at can hit just as well. We'll see how Rocco plays it.I was not to pleased with Paul same line-up everyday last year and lack of benching non performers.  

Mar 24 2019 08:07 AM

Someone please let me know why I should care if Gonzalez has a bad spring.

He signed late. He had an ailment that held him out even longer. He can't even put the bat on the ball 46% of the time right now.

He'll probably be fine later, but that isn't who I would choose to start and bat 5th on Thursday.
Mar 24 2019 08:41 AM


Irrelevant? In 2018, Boston led the Grapefruit League with a 22-9 record. Look how the season turned out for them. Houston was second at 21-9, and they had a good season too. In third place was Baltimore, who... um, errr, never mind..............


I remember Dan Vogelbach's 2018 MVP award started with his Spring Training leading 7 home runs.We all shoulda seen it coming.

    • ashbury and beckmt like this

His defense is overrated.He gets a ton of praise for how many positions he can field but not much focus on how he is below average everywhere but 1B and corner OF. He is a bat first utility fielder.I bet quite a few players in MLB could play this many positions at a below average level if they were asked to.


I doubt he comes anywhere close to his 2017 season offensively (or Escobar of last season).A .250-.260ish batting average with an OPS in the low to mid .700s that can give a lot of the starters rest is what I'm expecting.Still a valuable player.


I'm kind of hoping they roll with Adrianza as the starting 3B until Sano returns and Gonzalez rotates among all his positions. 

    • tarheeltwinsfan likes this
Mar 24 2019 06:28 PM
There is a lot of space between below average and bad. I think it is a rare skill set to be play several positions at an adequate level with a bat that is at least league average. I am not confident that his play at SS is still adequate but I think he will be at least adequate at 3B, 2B and LF and provide a good deal of flexibility.
    • Mike Frasier Law likes this
Mar 24 2019 07:12 PM

Keep calm and carry on.

Mar 25 2019 10:51 AM

It's fair to criticize Marwin so far and I wouldn't be surprised if things didn't work out.


All that being said, I can't imagine watching Adrianza for the past, what 3-ish years or so and thinking to myself "THAT is a guy I want to play more"


Marwin may not work out, it happens, but banking on Ehire Adrianza of all people baffles me

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