When the Twins signed Marwin Gonzalez late in the offseason, you pretty much knew what you were getting with the super utility man. He consistently hit around .260 with an OPS around .740 and that was great for the role the Twins envisioned him in until Sano got injured. He was supposed to be an everyday player who subs in for someone different each game, but once Sano was out, Gonzalez had a new role as the main third baseman. Marwin became the Opening Day starter and would be there until Sano returned, but he got off to about the slowest start possible.
For the first month of the season, Gonzalez hit just .167/.244/.256 (.501) with a wRC+ of 34 and a K% of around 25%. He played above average defense so that is what kept him in the lineup until he started to heat up once May began. His struggles were most likely linked to him not having a full Spring Training due to his signing in late February.
He was bound to heat up eventually and when May rolled around he really started to get it going. Since May 1st, Marwin Gonzalez has played a pivotal role in the Twins success by hitting .317/.388/.517 (.905) with a wRC+ of 142 while dropping his strikeouts by 4%. In this time he has also played seven different positions and batting in six different places in the order.
If Marwin can continue the streak he is on now or really anywhere near it then this signing will be another outstanding move by this Twins front office. It may not be sustainable for him to hit like he is right now because his BABIP in May is .389 but we will see.
For those of you (like myself) who are really into the Statcast statistics, Marwin Gonzalez is doing extremely well there. He currently holds career highs in barrel% (7.6), exit velocity (90.5), launch angle (11.9), and hard hit% (45.8). Here is a quick chart I put together of his average exit velocity rising right along with his expected batting average.
Marwin Gonzalez may actually be the main reason that the legendary Willians Astudillo was sent down. Both play largely the same role but with Gonzalez playing as a better fielder and much better bat lately, there is no room for the versatile La Tortuga.
Going back to the defense, Gonzalez has been above average at both third base where he has played over 220 innings and in the outfield where he has played just over 80 innings. While it’s not exactly gold glove caliber fielding, it has still been great for the role he is in and extremely valuable for everyone. Here are his Ultimate Zone Ratings at third base and in the outfield.
- 3B: 1.8 UZR (11th out of 30)
- OF: 0.9 (56th out of 158)
Overall, Marwin Gonzalez is making a case as the most valuable addition this offseason along with guys like C.J. Cron, Nelson Cruz, Blake Parker and Martin Perez. His ability to take over at any position and play at least average defense is an extremely valuable tool that every team should be striving for with a player. Hey maybe we will even get to see him play all nine positions in one game if the Twins clinch the division early enough.