The Eye Test
While the stats clearly show Garver got off to a slow start for the Minnesota Twins in the beginning of the year but has been playing much better since June, one additional measure I like to take into account here is the eye test. In the first few months of the season, Garver simply looked nothing like he does now. He didn’t look completely helpless at the plate or anything, this is more of a testament to how much he’s improved this season. His demeanor is much more confident and comfortable than it was before, which makes complete sense. Early on, he’s still getting used to the big league setting (he got a little bit of time with the Twins last year, but only 23 games worth). The injury to Castro may have had an adverse effect on Garver initially as well. Nobody expected Castro to suddenly be out for the season, and it’s reasonable to assume some of the growing pains for Garver came as he transitioned from a backup role to splitting time with Bobby Wilson, to eventually becoming our starter. It’s likely going to take some time to get used to everything.
Try it for yourself. Go to Youtube and look up one of the Twins games from earlier on this year (MLB’s account uploads lots of old games periodically). Take a look at Garver’s at bats then, and then watch a Twins game this week and see what he looks like now. He just seems to be much more comfortable and relaxed at the plate, and the results have followed. Take their game against the Rangers on Friday night. Garver came up to the plate with the bases loaded and the Twins down by 3 runs. Early on in the season, this probably doesn’t amount to anything. But now? Garver took a few pitches and then laced a 1-2 pitch to the gap for a bases-clearing the bases which tied the game.
The difference is night and day. It’s difficult to quantify, but Garver just looks much better than he did early on in the season.