Tyler Austin Traded to San Francisco
Image courtesy of © Kim Klement-USA TODAY SportsHeading 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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