This is another installment in our series grading the individual performances of the key members of the 2019 Minnesota Twins. Each player will receive a classic grade on the scale of A through F, based on their hitting, fielding, and whatever else the author wants to consider. Check out our previous installments on C.J. Cron, Miguel Sanó, Max Kepler, Byron Buxton, and Nelson Cruz by clicking the preceding links. Today, I’ll take a look at Marwin González.
The 2019 Minnesota Twins added the final free agent to their roster on February 25, signing ex-Astro Marwin Gonzalez to a two-year, $21 million deal. González had spent the first seven seasons of his career in Houston, and his addition to the roster was expected to provide the Twins with a utility player with a bat that could be inserted into the starting lineup at several positions.
There was some wariness attached to the move, as González, signed so late in February, had much less time to acclimate to the Twins and work with the rest of the team. Nearly one year earlier, the Twins had signed Logan Morrison on the last day of February, and he flopped in Minnesota.
After the first month of the season, that wariness turned to worry. Through April, González played in 23 games and put up a dreadful slash line — .167 AVG, .244 OBP, and .256 slugging — with just 13 hits and 21 strikeouts.
But before visions of Morrison could implant themselves in Twins fans’ heads (wrong holiday, sorry), González started hitting. From May 1 through the end of the season, González slashed a respectable .285/.340/.450 and provided his share of bombas, clutch hits, and clutch bombas, including an August 13 three-run blast off Josh Hader to prove the Twins a come-from-behind win.
Overall, González’s season was statistically unimpressive. Among the 10 Twins with at least two plate appearances per game, González ranked seventh in batting average (.264) and OBP (.322), and last in slugging percentage (.414). But starting from May 1, those numbers jump up to fifth (.285 AVG), sixth (.340 OBP), and ninth (.450). While not providing consistent power, González did become more reliable as the season went on.
Importantly, though, González showed his versatility throughout the season. He appeared at six different defensive positions during the season, including 44 games in right field (mostly when Byron Buxton or Max Kepler were injured) and 40 at third base (mostly with Miguel Sano sidelined, in a sport which does not have sidelines). González graded out positively for his defense, receiving a defensive WAR grade of 0.7 from Baseball Reference and 2.2 from FanGraphs.
While his bat may not have been the best on the team, González remained a starting-caliber player throughout the year and showed his versatility was not diminished from his time in Houston. He’s under contract for one more season, so Twins fans will have the enjoyment of watching González roam the Target Field grass — and infield dirt — once again.
Overall Grade: B-
What grade would you give Marwin González’s 2019 season?
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