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Getting Gonzalez AB


Physics Guy

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When rumors started floating around last week about the Twins' interest in Marwin Gonzalez, I found myself quite surprised. While I still contend that the Twins would be better off spending said money on Keuchel or Kimbrel if they would sign a two or three year contract, it is hard to find fault in adding another above average bat for the lineup. My concern now is how do the Twins find 500 AB for Gonzalez when all of the starting positions are essentially spoken for.

 

I did some digging and believe it can be done without sacrificing continued development of our younger players. Let's start with the assumption that the following players will hold down starting positions followed by the number of plate appearances I would project them to get this coming season.

 

C - Garver, Castro - 650

1B - Cron - 550

2B - Schoop - 550

SS - Polanco - 600

3B - Sano - 550

LF - Rosario - 600

CF - Buxton - 550

RF - Kepler - 600

DH - Cruz - 550

 

This totals up to 5200 PA for the starters. Last season the Twins tallied a little over 6100 PA not including those taken by pitchers. That leaves 900 PA for the bench. The 650 PA for the catchers is approximately what they totaled for the team last year. Since Gonzalez can essentially sub for any of those positions, I think it is easy to see that he can get to 500 plate appearances this year.

 

Baldelli will need to be creative and use Gonzalez as a true super utility player. Looking at the projected PA, Gonzalez would need to account mostly for PA at 1B, 2B, 3B and OF. I will guess that he will play 3B the most (with Sano slotting in to take away some PA from Cron) followed closely by OF, then 2B and SS. I doubt they will actually play him at 1B much as I would guess that Gonzalez is a better 3B than Sano. If Gonzalez can perform with the bat near past levels while moving around this much it would be of great benefit to the Twins. They can keep players healthy with roughly a game off once every one or two weeks.

 

Adding Gonzalez puts the Twins at 11 position players with the 10 above. The Twins are likely to have 13 pitchers and 12 hitters on their roster. Since Astudillo and Cave both have options, it is likely they start in AAA. In order to get to 500 PA, Gonzalez will need to be the primary sub for the OF so Cave should be in AAA. I like both Cave and Astudillo, but having options dooms them to AAA. That leaves Austin and Adrianza for the final spot. Maybe the Twins keep both at the start of the season and only have 12 pitchers, but it is likely one will hit waivers at some point. My choice would be to keep Austin as a bat off the bench, especially since we have Torreyes likely at AAA as a fallback in case we lost Adrianza on waivers. If Adrianza doesn't get claimed, the Twins have solid depth at AAA in case of injuries, possibly better depth than we've had in some time. The more I look at this signing, the more I like it. Now find a way to sign Keuchel or Kimbrel.

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    that sounds just fine by me....the option thing means a lot more than people wanna admit. Someone has to really fall on their face if they are out of options. The mysterious shoulder problem that Adrianza has makes the decisions even easier barring a superstar performance by someone like Duda. It means the position player battles more clearly defined. The bullpen is a way different story.

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    This is my guess for opening day...

    SS Polanco

    LF Rosario

    DH Cruz

    3B Sano

    LF Kepler

    1B Cron

    2B Schoop

    C Castro/Garver

    CF Buxton

     

    Bench - Marwin Torreyes Cave (Adrianza DL)

     

    Berrios/Gibson/Odorrizi/Pineda/Perez

     

    Reed/May/Rogers/Parker/Romero/Hildenberger/Mejia

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    Yes, Cave is the better player because of the defensive abilities he brings over Austin, but their hitting stats are similar: 

     

    Cave  283 AB 18BB 102 K .265/.313/.473

    Austin 244 AB 19 BB 95 K .232/.287/.480

     

    Austin also has a stronger track record in the minors. With the proclaimed intention to get Gonzalez 500 PA, that makes him the top sub in the OF. This means Cave gets most of his AB as a PH and occasional OF. I would argue that good teams have depth ready to step in when needed.  I want

    Cave playing every day, same with Astudillo. Austin profiles well in the role he would have on this lineup as a PH/occasional DH/1B. I would have no problem whatsoever with Cave as the 12th man, it's just not what I prefer. We will just have to agree to disagree. I don't think it makes much difference either way.

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    Those PA look like the players’ upper bounds, especially for Sano, but otherwise looks pretty close.

     

    I also think the Twins break camp with 12 or only 11 pitchers, though that doesn’t really create extra PAs.

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