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Grading the 2019 Twins: Ehire Adrianza

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(oh yeah, this was still going on)

Washington Nationals v Minnesota Twins
I can only think of one possible pun on “Adrianza” and it’s too poignant to play off. Thus, this is a pun-free caption.
Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

Welcome back to the “Grading the 2019 Twins” series. In case this is your first foray into the series or you’ve forgotten after a month between articles: the author discusses a player’s 2019 season and hands out a letter grade, then everyone else votes in the poll at the end and chats about it in the comments. Previous entries to the series can be found in the links below.

Though never a full-time starter since joining the Minnesota Twins in 2017, Ehire Adrianza has received praise from high places.

While general manager Thad Levine spoke well* of Adrianza at 2018’s Baseball Prospectus Q&A, describing him as “a guy that’s extremely capable,” the seventh-year utility infielder received an incredible honor from Rocco Baldelli on September 29 last year, managing the Twins in their final game of the season against the Kansas City Royals.

Do I even need to go into his on-field performance knowing that?

(Of course I do. Who’s kidding.)

The Twins signed Marwin Gonzalez as a utility upgrade shortly before the 2019 season; the only notable news regarding Adrianza was his switching his jersey number to 13. But 13 was far from unlucky; while González was often the first utility player out of the dugout (114 games, 463 plate appearances), Adrianza spent more time on the field than off, playing in 84 games with 236 plate appearances. In those games, Adrianza saw time at seven positions: all four infield spots, both corner outfields, and pitcher.

So not only he can pitch, he can manage. Just like Charlie Brown... wait.

Returning to the bat, Adrianza slashed .272/.349/.416 in 2019, his highest marks across a full season and good marks for a part-time infielder not known for his power, contributing five bombas to the Twins’ record-setting mark of 307. Adrianza’s bat included a handful of clutch moments, including a solo shot off Justin Verlander on April 29 for the only run of the game, and a game-tying triple — Max Kepler would single him home for the win — to help beat the Oakland Athletics on July 21.

On the field, Adrianza graded out as a generally average fielder — at worst, slightly below average at some positions — never a bad thing for a team’s super-utility man.

Is Adrianza going to be a team’s best option anywhere? Unlikely. But is he a bad option? By no means. He won’t provide much power, but can get on base at a good rate and fill in wherever is needed. By that measurement, Adrianza’s 2019 was just fine.

Adrianza has already received a one-year Twins contract for 2020, so Minnesota fans should look forward to seeing more of his talent on the field this coming year. The Twins may have an exciting infield — Miguel Sano, Luis Arraez, and Jorge Polanco being joined by Josh Donaldson — but Adrianza should not be ignored.

Overall Grade: B+

*NOTE: The Levine quote about Adrianza comes during the first fan question in the audio at the bottom of the linked article, asked at 55:42 by me. I could have sworn he’d said more than that one phrase, but I couldn’t find it after a full listen.

Poll

What grade would you give Ehire Adrianza’s 2019 season?

This poll is closed

  • 22%
    A
    (54 votes)
  • 63%
    B
    (155 votes)
  • 13%
    C
    (33 votes)
  • 0%
    D
    (1 vote)
  • 0%
    F
    (1 vote)
244 votes total Vote Now