Minnesota Twins: Three Takeaways from Ryan Jeffers’ big first night
By Otto Johnson
Ryan Jeffers made his Major League Baseball debut yesterday, and it couldn’t possibly have gone any better for Jeffers and the Minnesota Twins.
The Minnesota Twins’ Ryan Jeffers was called up yesterday in a flurry of roster moves made my by the Minnesota Twins. The move was necessitated by primary catcher Mitch Garver being moved to the IL:
Losing Garver and Byron Buxton to injury isn’t fun (though this may help Garver fix the issues he was having), but Ryan Jeffers was quite impressive in his first start at the big league level. Here are three takeaways from his first game in the bigs:
Ryan Jeffers Takeaway No. 1: He belongs in the Minnesota Twins lineup
I interviewed Ryan Jeffers back in January, and we talked about how well his 2019 went. That 2019 season is the one that put Jeffers’ bat on the map. He slashed .296/.383/.453 across 167 games while hitting 21 homers and 82 RBI. The Twins always knew he could hit.
What they really hoped is that he’d be able to bring that ability to the next level. We know it’s only one game, but it really looks like he’ll be able to pull that off. Jeffers went 2-3 and was hit by a pitch in his four at bats yesterday. He also knocked in a run and scored one himself. The bat is for sure ready to play.
Ryan Jeffers Takeaway No. 2: The Glove is shaky, but Jeffers is steady
Jeffers has been known for his glove even longer than his bat, and that glove is part of the reason he was the Twins’ No. 8 prospect going into the season. He struggled a bit early on with the catching side of things, but he did a couple other things really well, including helping Jose Berrios escape his funk.
We’ve talked a lot over this season about Berrios and his struggles this year, but he put together his best game of the year on Thursday night, striking out 9 and allowing just one hit and one walk over six innings. I don’t think it was a coincidence it was Jeffers’ first start.
The Brewers don’t have a bad lineup, yet Berrios still diced them up with helpful pitch framing and catching from the Twins’ rookie backstop. I know it is just one game, but Jeffers did do a very strong job behind the dish, despite his early struggles.
Ryan Jeffers Takeaway No. 3: Jeffers will be the Minnesota Twins catcher of the future
If there were doubts about it, this definitely helped ease them. Alex Avila is 33 and while he has been a very solid backup catcher, it has become clear that Avila probably won’t be back in a Minnesota Twins uniform next year. He’s a one year bridge guy.
As for Mitch Garver, he really bust onto the catching scene last year, but his struggles have brought up a lot of questions over whether or not he’s the guy going forward. He’s definitely a piece of the Twins’ plans going forward, but he may end up taking Avila’s role as a top-notch second guy.
I’ve always thought highly of Jeffers, and if he can continue to have games like this (no, he won’t hit like this every game), I don’t see a reason he can’t become the catcher of the future that the Twins want him to be.