Minnesota Twins: Jeffers offers promise, but another Catcher is Needed

Minnesota Twins catcher Ryan Jeffers hits a single in the seventh inning against the Detroit Tigers. (Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports)
Minnesota Twins catcher Ryan Jeffers hits a single in the seventh inning against the Detroit Tigers. (Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports) /

Heading into the offseason, the Minnesota Twins have some major holes to fill. With Carlos Correa almost certain to opt out, the team will need to either re-sign him or replace him with another shortstop. The bullpen is extremely thin, with no true closer (unless they adjust Duran’s role). The outfield was run ragged by injuries. The outfield could use depth. The list goes on.

Arguably a bigger need than any of these other positions is catcher. For next season, Ryan Jeffers and Caleb Hamilton are the only catchers under contract for the 2023 season. That has to change quickly once the season ends.

Even with Ryan Jeffers, the Minnesota Twins need help at catcher for 2023 and beyond.

To start the season, there was some optimism for the catching position. Ryan Jeffers was looking to rebound from a brutal 2021 and Gary Sanchez was looking to thrive away from the limelight in a part time role. Neither happened for the Twins in 2022.

Jeffers brutally slumped to start the year, and while his pitch framing was good, he still wasn’t where he needed to be offensively. Things were looking grim, but Jeffers offered real promise over his last healthy stretch:

  • 4/8-6/14: 43 G, .170/.258/.296, 4 HR, 15 RBI, 16-47 BB-K
  • 6/15-7/14: 17 G, .316/.371/.561, 3 HR, 10 RBI, 5-11 BB-K

He was finally proving to be more patient at the plate and was dominating. His arm might not be the strongest, but he adds outs in a lot of other ways. The 25 year-old is a more than average catcher and is a good platoon candidate. The issues is choosing who plays next to him.

When considering Sanchez, it’s important to remember he’s been in the midst of the second-worst season of his career, posting just above career-worst numbers in batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, homers, and OPS+. He’s offered nothing in terms of defense either (shocker!), and with a market chock-full of mediocre catchers, they can upgrade.

As for Caleb Hamilton and Sandy Leon? Well, neither player should be back in the majors next year. Leon was fun for a while, but he’s turned back into a pumpkin that’s far worse than Jeffers and Sanchez. Hamilton is slashing .071/.188/.286 and looks more like a bullpen catcher than a real player.

With guys like Roberto Perez, Omar Narvaez, Austin Hedges, Mike Zunino, and Curt Casali available, the Twins can find a savvy veteran, trade for a catcher (Danny Jansen would be incredible), or spend big on Willson Contreras to pair with Jeffers. They just need to start fresh opposite him in 2023.

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