We’re back at it! Last fall and winter, Twinkie Town writers graded every Minnesota Twins player that touched the field during a game in a Twins uni in 2019. (If you’re interested in those, click here.) The series this offseason will grade the individual performances of each player from 2020, who 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. To peruse the grades from 2020, click here. Lets take a look at one of the most versatile players in baseball today.
The nature of the Swiss Army Knife is that it is an imperfect tool. The knife blade is relatively small and flimsy. The scissors are tiny, and don’t cut well. Trying to turn a screw is a chore, and the whole package is unwieldy. Yet that old knife will get anything done you ask it to do. Returning for the 2020 Twins as a baseball Swiss Army Knife was Marwin Gonzalez. It wasn’t always pretty, but he was a huge part of the success the team enjoyed.
Josh Donaldson was signed to be the Twins third baseman, and Miguel Sano was moved to first base. Luis Arraez was handed the reins at second base, and both C.J. Cron and Jonathan Schoop walked away and signed with Detroit. None of these moves panned out entirely as planned, and Marwin Gonzalez was the biggest reason why nothing went completely sideways.
Donaldson only played 26 games at third for the Twins this year—Gonzalez played 23. He added another 21 games at second while Arraez was injured, and 14 at first in lieu of Sano. Eight games in right field rounded out Gonzalez’s season, as he participated in 53 of 60 contests.
Offensively, it was a down year for Gonzalez, as it was for many players in the league, and he fell short of the banging highs of his 2017 career season again. He hit .211/.286/.320 with 17 walks and five dingers. Again, not fantastic, but good enough, given the defensive versatility he offered, and the league-wide sixty-game slump that took place. He isn’t Nelson Cruz and wasn’t signed to hit balls a mile—his role is to fill in where- and as-needed, and he did that job well.
Defensive metrics are not my strongest suite, but they generally tell us that Gonzalez wasn’t any great shakes at any position. His range factor was below league average at every position he played. His fielding passed an eye test though, and was generally adequate. The flip side to that is he may have made plays look spectacular that other fielders would have made look routine.
Marwin Gonzalez has a specific job, a specific role on the team, and at that role he continued to excel. Another twenty-to-thirty points on his batting numbers would move him into “A” territory. As it stands, he still passes with flying colors.
How would you grade Marwin Gonzalez’ season
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