As we count down to opening day, we’ll be taking a look at each position for the Twins, the presumed starter, and the other options in the organization. First up, designated hitter.
The Presumed Starter: Nelson Cruz
Presumed is probably not necessary here—barring an unforeseen injury, Cruz will be the DH for the Twins when the first pitch is thrown at Target Field. The Twins signed him to a free agent contract worth $14 million this offseason for that express reason. Zips projects Cruz for a total of 2.2 WAR in 2019. Szymborski’s formula has the slugger pegged for .266/.348/.500, and 30 home runs. Baseball Reference, meanwhile, expects him to hit one more long-ball, but be a bit lower in each of the triple slash categories. He’s been selected to the All-Star game in five of the last six seasons, does he still have what it takes at age 38?
The Bench Guys: Uh, probably nobody
You could maybe consider a backup first baseman a bench guy for the DH position, and throw Tyler Austin or perhaps even Lucas Duda into this category. Realistically, if Cruz takes a day off, whoever happens to be swinging a hot bat, and is not playing in the field will slot here. If Cruz does miss extended time for any reason, the Twins could turn to Austin or Duda, if they are still around. Otherwise Jake Cave, Marwin Gonzalez, or a committee could settle into the DH role. By the end of the season, Brett Rooker or Luke Raley could even be making a case to take the role from Cruz next year, and could get some playing time.
Next up... Right Field
How do you feel about the Twins DH going into the season
This poll is closed
Cruz is still an all-star, and will be a leader. This is great!
Eh, it will be somewhere around average
I’m worried, Cruz is getting older and isn’t the player he once was.