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Tyler Austin Traded to San Francisco

Well, that didn't take long. Days after being designated for assignment, Tyler Austin has been traded to the San Francisco Giants for minor league outfielder Malique Ziegler. Austin only received five plate appearances for the Twins this season.

This brings an end to Austin's brief tenure with the Minnesota Twins. He was acquired July 30, 2018 in the deal that sent Lance Lynn to the New York Yankees.
Image courtesy of © Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Heading into this offseason, it appeared Austin had the inside track at the starting first base gig. His overall batting line of .236/.294/.488 (.782 OPS) was uneven, but there's never been any questioning his power.

Well, a C.J. Cron waiver claim and Nelson Cruz free agent signing later and Austin was quickly on the outside looking in. He was out of options, so when the Twins DFAed him over the weekend it appeared to be only a matter of time before he was with a new team.

At least the Twins have something to show for him.

Malique Ziegler was the Giants' 22nd-round pick of their 2016 Draft. He grew up in Des Moines, Iowa and played his college ball at North Iowa Area Community College. A right-handed hitting outfielder, Ziegler comes to the Twins having hit .245/.339/.376 (.714 OPS) in 143 career minor league games.

Zigler has some speed, he's hit nine triples and has 38 stolen bases in his career, and has a knack for getting on base. He's drawn 66 walks in 627 career plate appearances, which works out to a solid walk rate of 10.5%. There's still a fair amount of swing and miss in his game, especially considering his relative lack of power, as Ziegler has 24.3 K%.

Maybe the biggest shockwave from Austin's departure from the organization is in how it relates to the first base/DH depth chart.

The Twins have some guys already at the major league level who are able to move around -- Marwin Gonzalez and Willians Astudillo both can play just about anywhere, Miguel Sano has some time a first base and Max Kepler spent quite a bit of time there in his minor league career. So there's no shortage of options should Cron or Cruz miss time.

If you're someone knocking on the door, such as Brent Rooker or Luke Raley, however, Austin moving on represents one more road block removed on the road to the big leagues.

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182 Comments

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Twins_Fan_For_Life
Apr 08 2019 11:32 AM
Good for Tyler. Good for the twins. In years past the twins would have built around a player like Tyler. Good to see they went out and got better players. I think Austin will have a nice big league career in a franchise that has a need
    • luckylager, Yoke, glunn and 12 others like this
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LA VIkes Fan
Apr 08 2019 11:36 AM

I agree. Let him go somewhere that eh can get steady at bats and he might actually have a good career. At least this way he can get a chance. I'm assuming he'll be the LF since they have Brandon Belt at 1B and a weak OF. 

    • glunn, pbrezeasap, nicksaviking and 3 others like this
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operation mindcrime
Apr 08 2019 11:38 AM
Welcome Ziegler!
    • glunn, pbrezeasap and blindeke like this
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Badmanbuxton
Apr 08 2019 11:47 AM
Melissa Lockard does a great job covering Giants prospects, and this is what she had to say about Malique in an “under-the-radar” column a few weeks ago:

“Malique Ziegler, OF: In many ways, Ziegler’s season was the reverse of Bond’s. Also a member of the Augusta opening day roster, Ziegler got off to a torrid start with the GreenJackets. The 2016 22nd-round pick hit .275/.405/.522 in April and was arguably the Giants’ top position-player prospect that month. Then he strained an oblique, which curtailed the rest of his season.

Ziegler missed nearly all of May, June and July, so it wasn’t surprising that when he returned to the GreenJackets in late July, his timing wasn’t what it had been before the injury. He posted a .556 OPS in 29 games after his return.

Despite the disappointing finish, there’s still plenty to be excited about regarding Ziegler’s future. When healthy, he profiles as a potential top-of-the order hitter. He is an above-average athlete who runs well and can drive the ball into the gaps. He also has a solid grasp of the strike zone and is a potential plus defender in center field. Ziegler will be 22 throughout the 2019 season and could get an opportunity to start the year in San Jose if he has a strong spring.”
    • glunn, birdwatcher, Thrylos and 24 others like this

San Fran is just gobbling up all these Twins fringe waiver players. Looks like Ziegler's more "organizational depth" than anything at this point, but he could be a nice player. We won't know for many years if the Twins got the better of this deal.

 

Good luck Tyler, that chip on his (and his father's) shoulder is only going to get bigger.

Given Ziegler's hometown is Des Moines, I wonder if the Twins will start him out in Cedar Rapids rather than Fort Meyers.  

    • bighat likes this
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Ex-Iowegian
Apr 08 2019 12:13 PM

Good luck, Tyler.

Hope it all works out.

Kid from Des Moines? Gotta love it.

    • birdwatcher likes this

Too bad for TA the Giants have an entrenched 1B and fewer opportunities at DH.

 

There is some platoon opportunity though. Wouldn't be surprised if Austin hit more homers than Belt in fewer at bats. (He actually did last year).

Who is worse in the OF, Austin or Belt?

Good luck in San Fran, Tyler, and welcome to Malique.

Great seeing the Twins get something in return for a player who just didn't have a spot on the roster after last winter's moves.That isn't something we would have seen in the past.

 

Not certain whether to be excited about what they got in return.I guess the bad news is he will need to go on the 40-man roster this November or be eligible for the Rule 5 draft...seeing he was 19 years old when drafted/signed in 2016.Not a lot of position players get selected, so that probably isn't going to be a problem.  

    • brvama, RaymondLuxuryYacht, howieramone2 and 1 other like this

Not sure what our infatuation with 4th outfielders is but I guess you can never have enough. For a marginal player like Austin I guess it is likely a take it or leave it proposition.His K rate is problematic so he is a flawed player as well.I just think that with a Platoon split and or more experience he actually has major league value.The guy we are getting doesn't even seem to have Austins level of potential but again i guess it is better than nothing.Giants got another marginal player from us that could turn into a solid player in time.For that price they can't lose on this trade.

    • jokin likes this

 

Melissa Lockard does a great job covering Giants prospects, and this is what she had to say about Malique in an “under-the-radar” column a few weeks ago:

 

Thanks for sharing.

 

That pre-injury 2018 line was a super small sample of course (86 PA), but a few of the underlying peripherals certainly weren't unsustainable: 12.8 BB%, 23.3 K%, .333 BABIP. He hasn't sustained anything close to that .246 ISO yet, of course.

 

FWIW, it looks like he had a similar cooling off in 2017, without injury. His 2017 OPS by month:

 

June: 1.001

July: .665 (further split into .754 first half of the month, .592 second half)

August: .539

 

Not that I necessarily buy that monthly splits are all that indicative of much...

 

Edit to add: also, this information would have been more encouraging if we had acquired him in the offseason. I don't like to appeal to authority, but I'm guessing the Giants wouldn't have traded him for Tyler Austin (to play outfield?) if Ziegler showed anything like that 2018 pre-injury line in camp this spring.

    • jokin likes this

 

I agree. Let him go somewhere that eh can get steady at bats and he might actually have a good career. At least this way he can get a chance. I'm assuming he'll be the LF since they have Brandon Belt at 1B and a weak OF. 

 

I'm going to be watching how the Giants deploy Austin... Keenly attentive to see what the Giants do with him.

 

What the Giants do... will answer questions about what the Twins didn't do. 

    • glunn, jokin and DocBauer like this
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nicksaviking
Apr 08 2019 01:58 PM

 

I'm going to be watching how the Giants deploy Austin... Keenly attentive to see what the Giants do with him.

 

What the Giants do... will answer questions about what the Twins didn't do. 

 

What was it you were hoping the Twins would do with him?

    • glunn likes this

 

What was it you were hoping the Twins would do with him?

 

Try him in the OF and see if he can platoon with Kepler, I'm guessing.......or at least PH sometimes and stay out there w/o being terrible.....

    • glunn likes this
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ChrisKnutson
Apr 08 2019 02:09 PM
I’m guessing Cave and Adrianza are next, at some point this season.

 

I’m guessing Cave and Adrianza are next, at some point this season.

 

Cave? I have my doubts, you need 4 OF. And Marwin and Astudillo are not OF. Can Garver play the OF?

    • brvama and Dman like this

 

Cave? I have my doubts, you need 4 OF. And Marwin and Astudillo are not OF. Can Garver play the OF?

Marwin played more in the outfield last year than the infield, iirc.

    • USAFChief, glunn, Thrylos and 5 others like this
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nicksaviking
Apr 08 2019 02:33 PM

 

Try him in the OF and see if he can platoon with Kepler, I'm guessing.......or at least PH sometimes and stay out there w/o being terrible.....

 

I wouldn't have minded trying him in the OF. Though even if they had, the way things are shaking out this year I wouldn't have wanted him to get too many at bats anyway. I used to be a platoon Kepler guy, I'm starting to buy into the hype and contract extension now though.

    • glunn, brvama, LA VIkes Fan and 4 others like this
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LA VIkes Fan
Apr 08 2019 02:33 PM

I think Cave is staying unless they can put him in a package for a pitcher. We have to have a competent 4th OF with Buxton's injury issues and Cave proved himself to be worth playing for extended periods last year.Wade or one of the new AAA guys might be as good but haven't shown it yet and Gonzalez and Astudillo are converted IFs who can survive a game or two, or even a week, in the OF, but can't be an everyday OF for a month. 

 

To me, the interesting decision comes when Sano comes back and we now have too any IFs. Who goes - Adrianza, Astudillo or (dare I say it), a trade of Marwin G? I might vote for a Marwin trade if we could get a decent reliever back...... 

 

    • Dman likes this
Cave has an option remaining.
    • Danchat and wabene like this
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yarnivek1972
Apr 08 2019 03:18 PM

Try him in the OF and see if he can platoon with Kepler, I'm guessing.......or at least PH sometimes and stay out there w/o being terrible.....


Giants’ Stadium (whatever they call it) is one of the largest outfields in MLB. You HAVE to have guys that can cover ground.

I’m surprised Baltimore didn’t claim him. I wonder at what point they simply bite the Chris Davis bullet.

 

 Marwin and Astudillo are not OF.

 

Astudillo is Kirby 2.0 at CF.Routinely jumps and takes HRs away...

    • glunn likes this

Tyler Austin looks to me like a 1B power hitter, period. Decent glove, but the big question is, will he hit 30-plus home runs per season with an acceptable OBP? If so, then the Twins possibly blew it. CJ Cron appears to be that guy, but just older, and maybe a little slower. 

 

Might not matter anyway. Twins could bring up a prospect that's better than either Cron or Austin. Brent Rooker should be that, if he works his butt off at fielding first base. Or they could stand pat for now, using Astudillo to back up Cron. Whatever gets El Cherubo on the field is okay by me. 

    • brvama, LA VIkes Fan and DocBauer like this

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