While Marwin Gonzalez enters the Astros’ organization on a minor-league deal, where will he fit in?
What did the Houston Astros’ acquisition of Marwin Gonzalez possibly add to the playoff roster? The answer, it all depends. Which Gonzalez are we getting, the 2019 version or the 2021 version.
The Original Marwin Gonzalez
Marwin played two seasons in 2019 and 2020 with Minnesota and had an OPS+ of 95 and 69 respectively. Gonzalez was surrounded by a rock solid lineup in 2019 and ended the year with 19 doubles, 15 home runs and 55 RBIs to go with his .264 average, playing in 114 games.
He also smashed with runners in scoring position, hitting .298 with 37 RBIs in 2019, a stat that could greatly help the Astros, especially considering their recent struggles with RISP. In 2020, a year just filled with uncertainty, he was on pace for a similar output but his surrounding teammates stats were down collectively, so the abbreviated season was less than ideal for a role player like Gonzalez.
Marwin Gonzalez in 2021
Marwin 2021 has had poor production, hitting a paltry .202, but there are a few bright spots. Gonzalez has notched two home runs and 10 RBIs in innings seven plus, giving a decent crunch time spark. This is especially helpful if his main role is pinch hitting late in the game. Marwin is also hitting .364 at Yankee stadium, which may come in handy in October if the Astros have to play in the Bronx.
Where does Marwin fit in the lineup? I think it’s just a matter of who needs a day off in the infield and who needs to be pinch hit for late in the game. I see Marwin as a possible second off the bench player depending on who started, especially considering his late game stats, hitting .500 this season in extra innings and .300 in the seventh inning.
More from Climbing Tal's Hill
- Just how much better is the Houston Astros playoff rotation than the rest?
- Houston Astros: A Lineup Change to Spark Offense
- Astros prospect Hunter Brown throws 6 shutout innings in debut
- Always faithful Astros World Series champion Josh Reddick defends the title
- Michael Conforto declines Astros’ 2-year, $30 million offer
I think most importantly Marwin Gonzalez will give more veteran players more time to take off and be rested for October. He will greatly benefit from being surrounded by plenty of power hitters, forcing pitchers to give him better pitches to attack, so should fill in between seven-to-nine hitters. That fact, combined with his switch hit ability will prove truly beneficial when faced with a tough lefty late in the game.
The Astros may be rolling the dice on signing Marwin but it just might be worth the risk. If Marwin can come anywhere close to the clutch postseason performances of 2017, he will be a welcome addition to the bench for Dusty Baker.
I for one am all for this signing, as he will be easily added in September with the expanded roster and he will provide more versatility off the bench, especially hitting off dominant right handers. Now the Astros have a clear go to pinch hitter in late game situations where matchups matter even more. Anyway they use him, I think we all can use a little game two of the 2017 World Series Marwin Gonzalez every now and again!
After hustling to a win on Friday, the Astros are back in action on Saturday at 6:05 p.m. with Framber Valdez countering left-hander Kolby Allard. Down in Triple-A, the Sugar Land Skeeters activated shortstop Jeremy Pena from the 60-day IL, released right-handed pitcher Carson LaRue and announced that right-handed pitcher Austin Hansen had Tommy John surgery.