This season hasn’t gone as planned for the Minnesota Twins as they currently trail in the AL Central by more than 10 games.
The Minnesota Twins will use the remainder of this season to evaluate their current roster. One player who will need to step up is Mitch Garver. The 27-year-old has done little to inspire confidence during the early parts of his MLB career.
However, Garver has time to change that narrative and his time starts now. With Minnesota out of contention Garver should have plenty of opportunities to show whether he’s a viable option in the Major Leagues.
Following the season-ending injury to Jason Castro, the Twins have had a black hole behind the plate. Bobby Wilson is solid defensively and offers very little with the bat hitting .116 with only six extra-base hits across 91 plate appearances.
It’s a small sample size for sure, but Wilson has a career .204 batting average so it’s pretty much in line with the rest of his career. Unfortunately for the Minnesota Twins, Garver hasn’t done much to separate himself from Wilson.
This was supposed to be the season that Garver started to put it all together behind the plate for Minnesota. However, Castro’s injury thrust him into a role that he is unprepared to fill right now. Now, we’ll take a look at Garver’s performance during this season.
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Looking at the numbers
Garver is hitting a respectable .266 and shows a little bit of pop in his bat. He has eight extra-base hits, three home runs, during 54 games this season. Garver has worked 14 walks but he has also struck out 42 times in 170 plate appearances.
Garver is an adequate backup catcher because of his bat. However, he doesn’t hit enough to cover for his defensive deficiencies behind the plate on an everyday basis. His numbers aren’t terrible but he fails the “eye test” each time he’s behind the plate.
Every ball in the dirt is an adventure when Garver’s catching. Although he has allowed “only” five passed balls in 359 2/3 innings, pitchers have been charged with 18 wild pitches when Garver is behind the dish. He lacks the mobility to consistently bet down and block balls in the dirt and frequently stabs at the baseball with a backhand.
He offers even less in terms of controlling the running game. Baserunners have attempted 25 stolen bases and been thrown out only four times by Garver. His 16% caught stealing is well below average and further shows Garver is not a long-term answer for the Twins.
Willians Astudillo offers more long-term potential than Garver defensively and will hit enough to be a viable MLB catcher. However, Garver has a huge opportunity right in front of him and needs to seize it. He will have every opportunity to play over the next three months and needs to make huge strides defensively.