Minnesota Twins 2018 positional recap, part 2- First basemen

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DETROIT, MI - September 19: Tyler Austin #31 of the Minnesota Twins celebrates scoring a run in the second inning with teammates while playing the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park on September 19, 2018 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
DETROIT, MI - September 19: Tyler Austin #31 of the Minnesota Twins celebrates scoring a run in the second inning with teammates while playing the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park on September 19, 2018 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) /
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Minnesota Twins
MINNEAPOLIS, MN – SEPTEMBER 11: (L-R) Tyler Austin #31, Willians Astudillo #64, Joe Mauer #7 and Max Kepler #26 of the Minnesota Twins celebrate a grand slam by Mauer against the New York Yankees during the fifth inning of the game on September 11, 2018 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) /

Let’s shift our focus to a brighter spot, Joe Mauer. It still wasn’t elite Joe, but his overall season was solid. He finished with a .282 average and .351 OBP in 127 games played. There were, however, a few more rounds of injuries, including another bout with concussion symptoms. It clearly wasn’t Mauer’s best season, but it wasn’t too bad either.

If the 1B news from the season ended there, the outlook for 2019 would be pretty bleak- Morrison won’t be back, Sano didn’t provide any reasons to count on him as a starter next year, and Mauer is considering retirement. Thankfully, the Minnesota Twins were able to add a solid, young first basemen in Tyler Austin after trading Lance Lynn to the Yankees for Austin and minor league pitcher Luis Rijo.

Austin was essentially everything that Morrison was supposed to be, but younger and cheaper. He’ll never hit for much average (his career average is just .232 over 120 games in the MLB), but he provides legit power to the lineup. He has yet to get a chance to play a full season in the majors, but he could easily top 35-40 home runs in a season, albeit while hitting no more than .240. He’ll strike out a fair amount, but in today’s MLB, that’ll play just fine.

With the Twins, Austin hit .236 with 9 home runs in 35 games, including a few moonshots-

https://twitter.com/statcast/status/1030642187300753415

In a season with more disappointments than excitement at first base, Austin gave the team a much needed boost at the position. He’s been a pretty consistent player during his time in the MLB, and having someone like that with big power will be great for the team moving forward.

To round out the rest of the 2018 season at first base, we have to mention that Adrianza, Gimenez, Garver, and Petit all got a bit of playing time at first base, but nothing notable. It was all in more of a backup/emergency capacity, and none of those players figure to play much of a factor at first base in the future. Only Adrianza and Garver are expected to be with the team next season, and while both may see a few innings at first base, it is unlikely that either gets significant time there.

Let’s switch our focus to what to expect in 2019.

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