It’s clear to see that this addition for the Twins is solely of the backup variety. The contract alone speaks to that, but the most glaring reason has to do with Mitch Garver. Right now there rests no option where he won’t be apart of the everyday line-up after a monster 2019 campaign.
Avila adds a somewhat steady left-handed bat that will fill in nicely when Garver needs a day off. Plus, it fills the upcoming void by Jason Castro who will most likely ink a starting role elsewhere in the not-so-distant future.
Alex Avila’s Value
It’s a rather odd thought that an individual with a perennially low batting average would still draw demand but never the less, he caught the Twins eye.
Avila has shown above-average power, not anything that will win the home run race, but more padding for the slugging percentage line. Many haven’t been able to get a good understanding of Avila and his 2019 season with the Arizona Diamondbacks surly didn’t help clear anything up.
This past season alone, while hitting .270/.353/.421, Avila was one of the better players in terms on finding a way on base. A bulk of that came via his 17.9 percent walk rate which ranked third-highest among batters with at least 200 plus plate appearances.
In the same breath, however, Avila managed a 33.2 percent strikeout rate which ranks 12th among batters with at least 200 plate appearances. The emphasis for the eleven-year veteran will come against right-handed pitching when possible. For the reason, his career performance against lefties (.212/.307/.311) speaks volumes. His .241/.358/.417 mark against righties helps strengthen that argument.
Defensively Avila has shown a lot of value to help out his overall cause. He will enter the 2020 campaign with a 30% caught-stealing rate. Even with limited game action in 2019, Avila still nabbed 11-of-21 would-be runners.
A secret positive for the 32-year old has been his development of pitch framing. That has been primarily a product of the Diamondbacks who groomed him into an above-average pitch framer.
While the move as a whole won’t turn many heads, it still provides great depth for the Twins. Minnesota still needs to overhaul their pitching staff. Adding Avila only helps that process and will give the Twins more legroom to grow.
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