The Minnesota Twins haven’t had a solid everyday catcher for more than 2 consecutive years since Joe Mauer, but Mitch Garver is here to change that.
Amidst the Minnesota Twins season full of disappointment, I thought we’d take some time to look at a few of the bright spots we’ve found this year. One of these is Mitch Garver. Since Joe Mauer switched from catcher to first base, the Twins haven’t ever had a consistent, solid option at the catcher position. Drew Butera, Juan Centeno, Ryan Doumit, Eric Fryer, Josmil Pinto, Chris Herrmann, John Ryan Murphy, Kurt Suzuki, Wilson Ramos, Bobby Wilson, the list goes on and on. Jason Castro has been the most consistent catcher we’ve had since the Joe Mauer era, but as all Twins fans know, while he’s great defensively, he doesn’t bring much to the table offensively. Catcher has been a very volatile position for the Twins for nearly the past decade.
After Castro tore his meniscus in mid-May, the Twins were forced to give Mitch Garver a bigger role, whether they were ready to or not. With no ill will towards Castro, this injury has been a blessing in disguise, of sorts. The 2018 season won’t amount to anything, so we might as well give our young guys a shot to prove themselves at the major league record and work through some struggles now, rather than waiting until next year when we have a shot at competing again and struggling then. This has worked out perfectly for Garver.
The Basic Stats
Success didn’t come immediately for him. In Garver’s first 26 games after Castro went down, he hit just .200 with 15 hits (only 4 for extra bases, all doubles), 7 walks, and 20 strikeouts in 75 at bats. The next day, though, he recorded a 3-hit outing which seems to have sparked an abrupt turnaround. Since then, the Twins have enjoyed a slash line of .309/.377/.515 from Garver in 44 games, with 9 doubles, 2 triples, and 5 home runs. His K:BB has also drastically improved since his rough stretch after taking over as the primary catcher, coming in at 27:16 over the past 44 games.
The monthly splits show a very similar story:
Things started off fine in April and March, though he wasn’t seeing much playing time. Then in May, the month that Castro went down and Garver’s playing time doubled, we saw some struggles. His OBP was actually not terrible at .294, but the glaring stat in that month is the poor .200 batting average. After May, though, Garver took off. Give it a look, the stats speak for themselves.
July was clearly Garver’s best month, but June and August were pretty good as well. A dip in BA from .316 in July down to .261 in August is a little bit concerning at first look, but there’s actually not much to worry about. The months are very similar- A few more runs scored in August, same number of hits, one more double, one less home run, same number of RBIs, though a few less walks and a few more strikeouts. The biggest difference is that he simply had 12 more at bats in August than July. The production really didn’t drop off much at all from July to August, so good news!