Minnesota Twins: 5 best catching groups of all-time

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MINNEAPOLIS, MN - SEPTEMBER 30: JaCoby Jones
MINNEAPOLIS, MN - SEPTEMBER 30: JaCoby Jones /
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No. 4- 1990 Catchers

Brian Harper and Junior Ortiz

In 1990 as the Twins were positioning themselves for a World Series the next season (OK, so they didn’t know that yet) they went 74-88 finishing 7th in the American League West. Another way of saying that is that the Twins finished last. Normally there isn’t much good to say about last place, but in 1990 there was a good duo of catchers.

That season Brian Harper was the primary catcher and was in the midst of several strong seasons for the Twins. In 1990 he hit .294/.328/.432 and added 6 home runs and 42 doubles. Those 42 doubles marked a career high for Harper almost doubling his 28 from the following season.

Harper’s backup that season, Junior Ortiz, came to the Twins in a trade that spring from the Pittsburgh Pirates with Orlando Lind in exchange for Mike Pomeranz. The veteran saw 71 games of action split between catching and DH. He hit .335/.384/.388 and 7 doubles. The 1990 season ended up being Ortiz’s best season of his career.

As a backup player, Ortiz came into the Twins clubhouse and contributed a 1.5 WAR. Harper tied his career high WAR from the previous season with a 2.8 WAR. Together the two catchers tied our number five catching pair with a combined 4.3 WAR. In a splitting hairs move, this pair moved into the four spot since two players truly contributed to this pairing as Ortiz proved to be a quality backup to Harper.

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