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The precious, but unnoticed help of Gonzalez

Posted by Thieres Rabelo , 06 June 2019 · 1,054 views

The precious, but unnoticed help of Gonzalez With recent struggles from Twins pitchers, for example, an early season discussion has been brought up this week. Did the Twins address well enough the team’s need during the offseason? Some people sure feel like they didn’t. But one offseason move (out of several others) that we can absolutely tell was right on the money was the Marwin Gonzalez signing.

Having played this season in six different positions throughout the field, while also batting DH and pinch hitting, “Margo” is officially one of the most useful pieces a team could have in the sport. Baseball Essential considered Gonzalez the best super-utility player in the game. He was an invaluable help overall during the first couple of months of the season, filling in for injured Miguel Sanó, starting 52 of the team’s 60 games.

But it took a while for most Twins fans to see Gonzalez as indispensable. He had a horrible first month offensively, batting .167, with a .501 OPS and 34 wRC+ in 23 games. Even though bad starts offensively have always been a part of his career, people started doubting him, on some level. Overall, he holds a .228 AVG, with a .675 OPS in his eight years in the league. Still, even specialists believed he was bound to lose at bats and become the third option to start at third base, once Willians Astudillo was having himself a hot start of the season. The Turtle was batting .327 with an .870 OPS by the end of April, so it was the natural choice then.

But then, things shifted. Since May 1st, he’s batting .304/.376/.500. In that span, only two other players drew more walks than him, who got 11. Also, Gonzalez has been left-handed pitchers’ nightmare, as he’s slashing .378/.425/.541 against them. He completely turned his season around. With 125 PA since the start of May, he’s been the fifth most used player in the offense, with more PA’s than everyday starters Jonathan Schoop and Byron Buxton, for example. He’s become a vital and dependable part of this MLB-best offense.

But that’s not even his biggest contribution. Not only is he doing some damage at the plate lately, but he’s also been playing Gold Glove-caliber defense. Being a bench player, he will never win such award, but that doesn’t change the fact that he’s an above average defender. And what’s more impressive about this? He does so in more than one position. Here are some defensive stats.

As a 3B (257.2 innings)
3 DRS
1.8 UZR
.989 FP
4 DPS
69 Assists
21 PO
1 Error (TE)

Gonzalez' three defensive runs saved would be tied for sixth best in MLB, if he qualified. He has as many as 2018 Gold Glove Award winner Nolan Arenado, who's already played over twice as many innings as him this year. He has saved more runs than players such as old friend Eduardo Escobar, Rafael Devers, Yoan Moncada, Matt Carpenter and José Ramírez, all of which have been on the field for at least 446 1/3 innings. Regarding his UZR, he would also be tied for sixth best in the game, beating names like Evan Longoria and Alex Bregman, the AL runner-up for the Gold Glove award last year.

When looking at his assists amount, he doesn’t rank very high in the league, but, of course, his sample time on the field is much smaller than the average everyday third baseman. If he had had the opportunity to play, say, 400 innings on the field, he would have an equivalent of 107 assists, which would rank him 5th in the league. Had he been there for 500 innings, we would be talking about a league second best 133 assists. But, of course, this is purely hypothetical mathematics.

As an OF (81 innings)
3 DRS
0.9 UZR
.933 FP
2 Assists
12 PO
1 error (FE)

In the outfield, Gonzalez also has a very small sample, which prevent him from competing with the everyday outfielder in the stats department. But, still, you can tell he’s not at all a bad defender there either. He has as many defensive runs saved as Mike Trout does and one more than NL MVP Christian Yelich. So, the Twins signed a player that, if starting regularly in his primary position, would compete for the league’s highest honours in defense. Not too shabby.

Far beyond the numbers, by watching Twins game on a daily basis, you can tell what a great defender he is. There hasn’t been a moment in which I’ve felt insecure about Twins defense in the hot corner or wherever “Margo” is on the field.

A lot of things could and should be fixed in the Twins roster. But having Gonzalez in the team guarantees that the bench isn’t one of them. It’s impossible to say for sure if Minnesota would be having the same success that they are having right now if he wasn’t a part of the team, but I imagine things would be much harder. Afterall, he might be the best and most prolific utility player in the game right now.

  • woolywoolhouse, tarheeltwinsfan, Eris and 3 others like this



I think he's the team mvp He's not the best player on the team, but he's the most valuable for Baldelli having options filling out the lineup card and helping to keep this lineup dangerous 1-9

    • tarheeltwinsfan likes this
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tarheeltwinsfan
Jun 07 2019 01:34 PM

 

I think he's the team mvp He's not the best player on the team, but he's the most valuable for Baldelli having options filling out the lineup card and helping to keep this lineup dangerous 1-9

I agree. Plus it appears that his good play is contagious. All I've read indicates he is a great team mate, which, I contend, adds wins. 

I disagree. He's way over-rated. His BA is .244 and OBP is .321. Very much average to possibly below average. One could argue that he has taken AB's away from Adrianza, Astudillo and Cave. All 3 can cover any position that Marwin has played and they are just as good offensively and defensively as he is. I also think Baldelli is using him too much and not playing his regulars enough. With scheduled off-days the only guys that need added rest are catchers and those who get banged up running into walls or with a nagging injury. Tell me that Adrianza, Astudillo, Cave, Tyler Austin or even Luis Arraez wouldn't be playing as well or better than Marwin if they'd been given the chance to play almost everyday like he has? Sorry, I don't understand the infatuation with an average player just because he can play multiple positions. He reminds me of Denny Hocking, a super utility player that was never good enough to own a position. 

 

I disagree. He's way over-rated. His BA is .244 and OBP is .321. Very much average to possibly below average. One could argue that he has taken AB's away from Adrianza, Astudillo and Cave. All 3 can cover any position that Marwin has played and they are just as good offensively and defensively as he is. I also think Baldelli is using him too much and not playing his regulars enough. With scheduled off-days the only guys that need added rest are catchers and those who get banged up running into walls or with a nagging injury. Tell me that Adrianza, Astudillo, Cave, Tyler Austin or even Luis Arraez wouldn't be playing as well or better than Marwin if they'd been given the chance to play almost everyday like he has? Sorry, I don't understand the infatuation with an average player just because he can play multiple positions. He reminds me of Denny Hocking, a super utility player that was never good enough to own a position. 

Ok. Adrianza, Astudillo, Cave, Tyler Austin and Luis Arraez aren't playing as well or better than Marwin. You asked.

    • dbminn and DannySD like this