Jump to content

Providing independent coverage of the Minnesota Twins.
Subscribe to Twins Daily Email

The Forums

Article: Could Martin Perez Be 2019's Anibal Sanchez?

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 10:42 AM
Last season, the Twins signed then 34-year-old starting pitcher Aníbal Sánchez to a one-year contract, a move that confused most of their...
Full topic ›

Article: Minor League Pay: Some Progress at Last?

Other Baseball Today, 10:41 AM
When the Cedar Rapids Kernels host the Lansing Lugnuts in a three-game series beginning July 13 of this summer, Lugnuts players will have...
Full topic ›

Leadoff Batter

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 10:41 AM
In most games this spring I've noticed Kepler being used as the leadoff batter. And based on results thus far (yeah, yeah, small sample s...
Full topic ›

Twins and Gibson Discussion and Extension

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 10:32 AM
http://www.startribu...lier/507159692/   Interesting to see how this plays out. I'd have to think an extension is likely since the T...
Full topic ›

Article: Twins 2019 Position Analysis: Starting Pitcher

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 10:42 AM
Nowhere has the reforging of this team's identity over the past half-decade been more apparent than in the starting rotation. Five years...
Full topic ›

What Can Duda Do for You?

When the Minnesota Twins' non-roster invitees to spring training were unveiled, there was a previously unreported name among the bunch. Long time New York Met, and former MVP candidate, Lucas Duda was heading to Fort Myers for the beginning of his 2019 season. Having signed C.J. Cron and with Tyler Austin already in tow, the minor league deal was the avenue for Lucas to get his chance with the Twins. The question is, will it work and should it?
Image courtesy of © Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
The reality is that there’s a decision looming on Tyler Austin. Of this trio, he’s the guy out of options and has the shortest track record. Acquired from the Yankees in exchange for Lance Lynn last season, he performed admirably in 35 games with Minnesota down the stretch. The .782 OPS was hardly otherworldly, but it was enough to warrant a longer look. Through three big league seasons, Austin has just 404 plate appearances to his credit and has never gotten consistent playing time. For that to change with the Twins in the year ahead, we’d probably be in for some sort of surprise.

C.J. Cron is the expected heir to Joe Mauer at first base. The .816 OPS he posted during 2018 was a career high, and it came during his age-28 season, his first and only with the Tampa Bay Rays. After launching 16 long balls in three consecutive seasons, he turned in 30 over 140 games as a regular. Batting right handed, Cron doesn’t have traditional platoon splits. He owned a .767 OPS vs righties and a .930 OPS vs lefties in 2018. While it’s obvious that he performs better against southpaws, the power was almost entirely skewed the opposite way. Only eight of his 30 home runs came against lefties, though the doubles production was more evenly distributed. As an arbitration player, Cron will make $4.8 million this season.

Minnesota’s front office grabbed Duda on a non-guaranteed pact that will pay him $1.75 million if he’s on the big-league roster. Per Jon Heyman, there are incentives in the deal that could push it north of $3 million in total compensation. At 33-years-old, and a traditional platoon player, that could push the Twins bill north of $7 million if they go with this combination. Given the production though, it could be a nice tandem.

A down year last year saw Lucas own just a .731 OPS, coming off an .818 mark in 2017. From 2011-2015, he owned an .803 OPS and averaged right around 20 bombs per season. On Rocco Baldelli’s squad there isn’t room for him to be a regular, but the left-handed side of a platoon makes sense. Last season he saw 265 plate appearances vs righties and put up an .813 OPS with 12 of his 14 home runs. Over the course of his big-league career, the split disparity plays out as well. Duda owns an .839 lifetime OPS against righties as opposed to just a .642 OPS against lefties.

Should the Twins go this route, it would also need to fit into their current roster construction. Assuming the starting lineup is composed of the usual suspects, we should have a pretty good idea of the bench as well. Mitch Garver is going to be the backup catcher, with Ehire Adrianza acting as the utility infielder and Jake Cave operating as the fourth outfielder. This blueprint leaves only a spot for a fourth bench bat should the Twins begin season with 12 pitchers. Not needing a fifth starter until into April, that seems like a pretty good bet. Garver bats right-handed, while Cave is a lefty, and Adrianza can do both. Garver is the only guy in that trio with any semblance of being a power bat however, so Duda can bring that dynamic as well.

If I had to put odds on it right now, I’d imagine that both Cron and Duda are teammates out of the gate. Austin would hurt to lose, so I think the Twins would be best served finding a trade partner, but he’s semi-redundant playing behind C.J. The likelihood of just a three-man bench doesn’t seem like great roster management either, so thinking both players are on the outside looking in would strike me as odd.

We’ll see how each player is deployed throughout February and into March. At 33 and off a down year, Duda could be cooked and this all becomes clearer. For now, though, the speculation is all we’ve got.

  • nclahammer likes this

  • Share:
  • submit to reddit
Subscribe to Twins Daily Email

Subscribe to Twins Daily Email

28 Comments

 

 

Cron doesn’t have traditional platoon splits. He owned a .767 OPS vs righties and a .930 OPS vs lefties in 2018. While it’s obvious that he performs better against southpaws, the power was almost entirely skewed the opposite way. Only eight of his 30 home runs came against lefties, though the doubles production was more evenly distributed. As an arbitration player, Cron will make $4.8 million this season.

 

 

This is actually the best argument for why Duda is not necessary as a platoon player on the MLB roster, along with the fact that Cruz had .819 OPS vs RHP and .932 OPS vs LHP.That takes care of the 2 spots that Duda can play.

 

If Austin is to make the club it will be in a PT role mainly PH and OF (and occasional 1B and DH.)His main competition will be Cave and maybe Astrudillo, both of whom have options.Austin is better that Grossman at OF btw.He is a serviceable corner OF.The fact that Molitor did not play him there is on Molitor not on Austin.In the minors he played OF in twice as many games (327) as 1B (168).

 

I see Duda as Chris Carter's replacement for Rochester.

    • Danchat, LA VIkes Fan, Don Walcott and 1 other like this

Ever since he signed with us... I've had Camptown Races in my head on repeat. 

 

He certainly can do that for me. 

    • IndianaTwin, Don Walcott, Dave The Dastardly and 2 others like this

Yeah, no thanks. Duda's best baseball is behind him, and Austin's is ahead of him, I believe, and in a season where the Twins aren't going all in, it makes a lot more sense to try out Austin than Duda. If something happens to Cron, Duda would be a decent replacement for him... but I'd much rather have Austin on the roster.

    • Twins33, TheLeviathan, LA VIkes Fan and 5 others like this
I wouldn't call 2018 a down year. I'd call it a decline year. AAA or opt out is more likely. I agree with Thrylos. No need to platoon Cron when the difference between him and a declining Duda will be negligible against RHP.
    • Danchat, LA VIkes Fan and Sconnie like this
He’s here for injury insurance and to showcase if he’s still got it for injury insurance with other teams he can join after he doesn’t make the roster. Also doesn’t hurt to catch a little more pay.
    • LA VIkes Fan and Sconnie like this
So, you’re saying the club will go with a 4-man bench once the schedule picks up? What makes you think that? All indications are that 13 pitchers will be carried for the bulk of the year. Makes the topic moot.
    • Original Whizzinator likes this
Photo
specialiststeve
Feb 14 2019 09:27 PM

Cron and Austin will compete for the starting 1B job and the other being the DH. Duda is simply insurance. Reading WAY to much into this signing.... 

 

Cron and Austin will compete for the starting 1B job and the other being the DH.

 

Nelson Cruz might have an opinion on that...

    • ashbury, Mike Sixel, Danchat and 3 others like this
I miss 10-11 man pitching staffs. Would rather have an extra bat than carry a mop up pitcher
    • VATwinsFan likes this

If Austin is to make the club it will be in a PT role mainly PH and OF (and occasional 1B and DH.)His main competition will be Cave and maybe Astrudillo, both of whom have options.Austin is better that Grossman at OF btw.He is a serviceable corner OF.The fact that Molitor did not play him there is on Molitor not on Austin.In the minors he played OF in twice as many games (327) as 1B (168).


Three different major league managers have seen fit to give Austin 3 of his 65 (most with the Yankees) MLB starts in the outfield. And the last time he played more games in the OF than 1B/DH was the 2015 season. Since then, very few appearances in the OF, and even fewer starts there. Those numbers would suggest that he’s proven to a number of managers at various levels that he’s not a serviceable outfielder.
    • DannySD likes this

 

Three different major league managers have seen fit to give Austin 3 of his 65 (most with the Yankees) MLB starts in the outfield. And the last time he played more games in the OF than 1B/DH was the 2015 season. Since then, very few appearances in the OF, and even fewer starts there. Those numbers would suggest that he’s proven to a number of managers at various levels that he’s not a serviceable outfielder.

 

 

Gardner, Judge, Hicks, Stanton on one vs. Bird on the other.

Of course the Yankees chose 1B for Austin last season.  

 

This does not say as much about Austin as about their other options in other positions.In the high minors he ended up in the same teams as Jake Cave,Mason Williams, Clint Frazier, and Billy McKinney (the last 3 top 100 prospects at several seasons.)

 

It is a numbers and opportunity game.

    • Mike Sixel and Riverbrian like this
Photo
jorgenswest
Feb 15 2019 08:41 AM
I would hope Austin has been working his tail of getting ready to show the Twins he can play corner OF. I think it is his only path to a significant major league career.
    • Riverbrian and LA VIkes Fan like this

Gardner, Judge, Hicks, Stanton on one vs. Bird on the other.
Of course the Yankees chose 1B for Austin last season.

This does not say as much about Austin as about their other options in other positions. In the high minors he ended up in the same teams as Jake Cave,Mason Williams, Clint Frazier, and Billy McKinney (the last 3 top 100
prospects at several seasons.)

It is a numbers and opportunity game.


Hope you’re right. Remain sceptical.

Hope you’re right. Remain sceptical.


I think you are both right. There was no opportunity in NY in the OF, and he's probably not great out there....

As for here? Well, they didn't play Astudillo at catcher the first time.....
    • Riverbrian, Tomj14 and jkcarew like this
Ask not what your Duda can do for you. Ask what you can do for your Duda.
    • ashbury and mickeymental like this

 

I think you are both right. There was no opportunity in NY in the OF, and he's probably not great out there....

As for here? Well, they didn't play Astudillo at catcher the first time.....

Yeah, certainly going to be hard with that organization to crack into the everyday lineup in the outfield. But I'd think Austin would have been out there more than he was...there's always some opportunity. Gardner has been terrible against lefties for some time now. But he was continuing to get the play in left, before Stanton and during periods when Hicks was out, etc.

 

Honestly, though...I have no idea how good or bad Austin would be in the OF...only suggesting that I think that ship has past. If it could work out, they should be looking at it, as it would be great to have a legitimate right-handed bat out there when needed. And so far, it's been just as difficult to discern whether Rooker will be considered a MLB outfielder.

    • Mike Sixel likes this
Photo
LA VIkes Fan
Feb 15 2019 10:44 AM

It sure seems like Austin only really has a chance to come north if the Twins start with a 12 man pitching staff rather than 13, unless someone gets hurt. With a 13 man pitching staff and a full-time DH we only have room for a 3 man bench. One has to be the other Catcher (Garver/Castro), one has to be the backup IF who can play SS since the 2B can't (Adrianza or Torreyes) and one the 4th OF who can play CF. Given that Cave outplayed Kepler last year at the plate and can play a decent to average CF, it seems like he's that 4th OF.Austin can be the backup 1B/5th OF/occasional DH only if there's one less pitcher and another bench spot, and he beats out Astudillo. I think we all know what Gardy would do - Astudillo so we have that all important 3rd catcher. Baldelli seems a little more flexible than that.... 

Photo
Don Walcott
Feb 15 2019 12:01 PM

 

This is actually the best argument for why Duda is not necessary as a platoon player on the MLB roster, along with the fact that Cruz had .819 OPS vs RHP and .932 OPS vs LHP.That takes care of the 2 spots that Duda can play.

 

If Austin is to make the club it will be in a PT role mainly PH and OF (and occasional 1B and DH.)His main competition will be Cave and maybe Astrudillo, both of whom have options.Austin is better that Grossman at OF btw.He is a serviceable corner OF.The fact that Molitor did not play him there is on Molitor not on Austin.In the minors he played OF in twice as many games (327) as 1B (168).

 

I see Duda as Chris Carter's replacement for Rochester.

Setting the bar kind of low there. I hope he can play OF better than Grossman.

 

We definitely need a right-handed bat to sub for Kepler or Rosario occasionally against tough left-handers more than we need another lefty bat.

I like Duda, but:

  1. I don't know what this signing does for him
  2. I don't know what this signing does for this team

This just seems like a mismatch / source of conflict for everybody involved.

 

Though it's fun to say we have The Dude / The Big Lebowski on the team, likely he's only going to be around for the blink of an eye. One year tops with an over/under of perhaps spring training only.....

Gardner, Judge, Hicks, Stanton on one vs. Bird on the other.
Of course the Yankees chose 1B for Austin last season.

This does not say as much about Austin as about their other options in other positions. In the high minors he ended up in the same teams as Jake Cave,Mason Williams, Clint Frazier, and Billy McKinney (the last 3 top 100 prospects at several seasons.)

It is a numbers and opportunity game.


Yep... that’s why the possibility can’t be dismissed. Players are deployed based on availability all the time. Nick Senzel is learning OF as we speak because the Reds have Suarez and Scooter at 3B and 2B. The list of these type of position shifts is lengthy.

No idea if he can play OF but playing 1B with Yankees would not be a trustworthy indicator in my opinion.

Do I trust Molitor usage with the Twins as an indicator. I absolutely do not.

Austin should have received OF time in September. He did not. I’m not ready to blame Tyler Austin’s ability for that.

Lucas Duda could certainly push Austin out the door if Austin isn’t capable at a different position. Casualties like that happen all the time.
I actually find Cron, Austin, and Duda rather unappealing options for 1b. All are one dimensional sluggers. All will strike out, a lot. None will hit for average or walk much. None will provide provide much defense at first. None provide any positional flexibility. Austin is likely to worse than Grossman, probably similar to Astudillo in the outfield. You need to be able to run to be any good in the of.

I would prefer a more complete hitter than any of these guys at first. It wouldn't hurt if the guy could catch the ball too, given the rest of the infield.

Since we are not going to get what I want, I expect what we get is Cron. The other 2 get dfa'd with maybe 1 of them ending up at AAA. The backups at first are Kepler and Sano.

I actually find Cron, Austin, and Duda rather unappealing options for 1b. All are one dimensional sluggers. All will strike out, a lot. None will hit for average or walk much. None will provide provide much defense at first. None provide any positional flexibility. Austin is likely to worse than Grossman, probably similar to Astudillo in the outfield. You need to be able to run to be any good in the of.

I would prefer a more complete hitter than any of these guys at first. It wouldn't hurt if the guy could catch the ball too, given the rest of the infield.

Since we are not going to get what I want, I expect what we get is Cron. The other 2 get dfa'd with maybe 1 of them ending up at AAA. The backups at first are Kepler and Sano.


100%, and the FO wasn’t dealt any of these guys. These are the cards they chose. It would of been nice to get Mauer on a one year deal or Moustakas short term. Micheal Brantley has picked up a first base glove for Houston. Marwin or Manny could’ve created a shuffle. I’d rather give Astudillo a shot there than Duda.

 

Micheal Brantley has picked up a first base glove for Houston. 

 

Flexibility is a natural by-product of depth. 

 

The Astros have depth and they strive to keep themselves deep. Lose Marwin... Make a trade for Diaz... Problem solved. 

 

As they stand right now... they have Springer, Reddick, Marisnick, Kemp, Brantley and even Bregman who can play OF plus this Tucker Kid who is knocking on the door.

 

They have Gurriel, White and Brantley to play 1B. Altuve, Diaz and Kemp to play 2B. Bregman, Gurriel and Diaz to play 3B. Correa, Bregman and Diaz who can play SS. 

 

They have purchased insurance for everything. They are bulletproof.  

 

Michael Cuddyer was asked at the Winter Meltdown about his playing multiple positions and he said something along the lines of "I'm a Ball Player". 

 

Austin, Cron, Duda... sign as many as you like but in the end... They can't all play 1B. Someone will have to track some flyballs or we end up being a team that has extreme depth at 1B and lacking depth every place else. 

    • DocBauer likes this
Photo
RatherBeGolfing
Feb 15 2019 03:13 PM

If only one of the MLB rule changes had been being able to put 3 first basemen on the field and in the lineup at a time... then we'd be set!

    • Riverbrian likes this

 

I actually find Cron, Austin, and Duda rather unappealing options for 1b.

 

Austin could be OK, but yes the story is pretty much written for the other two. 

 

And yeah, right now they are all of a similar profile. They could all swap uniforms and no one would notice.


Similar Articles


by Cody Christie , Today, 08:25 AM
Photo


by Tom Froemming , 14 Mar 2019
Photo


by Seth Stohs , 14 Mar 2019
Photo


by Tom Froemming , 13 Mar 2019
Photo


by Seth Stohs , 10 Mar 2019
Photo