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2022 replacement player comparisons


The Twins made a big splash with trades and by signing Carlos Correa this summer.  Correa had started slow and has been injured but will his 2022 season improve?  According to my Magic 8 ball, “Signs point to yes.”  There are a number of “replacement” players on the Twins roster because of those trades, signings and non-signings.  Here’s a quick review of the replacements.  Their stats through 6/6/2022 are below.

Gary Sanchez replaced Mitch Garver at C    Gio Urshela replaced Josh Donaldson at 3B   *Carlos Correa replaced Isiah Kiner-Falefa at SS   **Luis Arraez replaced Nelson Cruz at DH    ***Emilio Pagan & Jhoan Duran replaced Taylor Rogers

Let’s address the *’s first.

*Although Kiner-Falefa walked through a revolving door for the Twins, he would have been the starting shortstop at least to start the season.  **The DH has been a slot for multiple players this season.  Luis Arraez, the MLB leader in batting average, didn’t really have a position at the beginning of the season.  As I wrote late last season, how do you keep a future MLB batting champion out of the line-up?  You can’t.  So, Luis has been the designated fielder, playing different positions and DH.  So, we’ll use Luis as our DH comparison.  Although Nelson Cruz didn’t finish with the Twins in 2021, many people predicted his possible return in 2022.   ***Taylor Rogers would have been the closer for the Twins to start the season this year.  There were multiple players used as the closer in 2021 but Rogers was the only one left of the three to fill that position this season until he was traded.

Name/AVG/HR/RBI/OBP/OBS/% of games played                                                                                                  

Sanchez/ .229 / 7 / 27 / .289 / .735 / 76.8%         
Garver  / .220 / 7 / 16 / .295 / .719 / 67.9% (DL & rehab)

Correa  / .279 / 3 / 16 / .344 / .751 / 62.5% (COVID)         
Kiner    / .274 / 0 / 12 / .324 / .645 / 92.6%

Urshela      / .268 / 5 / 23 / .326 / .722 / 87.5%           
Donaldson/ .229 / 5 / 17 / .337 / .737 / 74.1% (DL)

Arraez / .358 / 1 / 13 / .447 / .854 / 83.9% (should be 100%)     
Cruz    / .251 / 5 / 28 / .335 / .699 / 91.1% 

Name / ERA  /  IP  / SO /SV/Save Opp’s                                                                                                                                

Pagan / 3.00 / 18.0 / 22 / 7 / 10  &  Duran / 2.13 / 25.1 / 36 / 4 / 4       
Rogers/ 3.00 / 26.0 / 24 / 18 / 21

Do the Twins have the better player at each position?  Here’s what I think.  I’ll take Sanchez over Garver.  Garver has played only 14 games at catcher and 20 at DH and we have plenty of players to fill in at DH.  Garver's numbers will probably improve but I like Sanchez for now.  Correa is my pick at shortstop.  As long as he plays and isn’t injured, he provides platinum defense, silver slugger offense and he’s one of the best shortstops on the planet.  Although the numbers are close, I take this brand of Urshela over Donaldson 100 out of 100 times for 3 reasons.  1-Urshela has been good, 2-Donaldson is gone and 3-Donaldson’s contract has also left the building.  Arraez is my pick at Designated hitter/fielder or what ever you want to call him.  Don’t misunderstand, Nelson Cruz can pick up an offense at any time but he might be finally showing some signs of aging.  I loved watching Rod Carew, Kirby Puckett and Joe Mauer hit.  I’m not trying to compare Arraez to these past Twins, but I love watching Arraez hit.  I’ve always enjoyed players commanding an at bat and hitting .300+ every year more than the long ball.  As far as the closer goes, I’d take Rogers.  With the exception of 2 recent games, he’s been lights out.  Yes, Pagan has been getting better and we’ve now seen Duran’s fastball but this is about the comparison.  I have plenty of thoughts about the Rogers trade and how we would’ve seen Duran this year any way, but this is about the replacement comparisons and not about who won the trade.

The Rogers trade and the other trades could be examined but, for me, that’s a better subject later in the season.  What do you think about the “replacement” players?

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A little too soon to tell.  It will be more interesting to look at this at the 3/4 pole.  I am thrilled with the Gio for Donaldson trade.  I would give the slight edge to Gio as their OPS is about the same and Gio is fun to watch at 3B.  Plus, they got rid of the contract.  

I am a big Garver fan.  Always have been so I hated to see him go but Sanchez has been the more valuable player.  The Correa for IKF is a no brainer.  I am not sure I see Arraez as the Cruz replacement, but Cruz has really fallen off.  He defied father time and he was fantastic while he was here.  Was it time to let him go?   Yes.  All of these moves look quite good especially given how adamant some people were that there was no chance we did not get worse at these positions.

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