2017 Minnesota Twins Roster Projections - The Catchers
Image courtesy of David Richard, USA TodayHowever, who will be the backup to Castro, and how will the rest of the catchers fit into the rest of the organization? Let's walk through the catchers throughout the Minnesota Twins organization.
Minnesota Twins - Jason Castro (29), John Ryan Murphy (25)
No, aside from spring training injury, there is no way that Jason Castro isn’t the team’s primary catcher coming out of spring training. So really it’s all about who the backup will be to start the season. I think going into spring training, there are three guys on pretty equal footing.
John Ryan Murphy got the job last year but really struggled in the season’s first month. He spent most of the rest of the season in Rochester. He was very good defensively, but the offense never came on for more than a couple of weeks at a time. He’s still just 25. He has one option remaining.
Mitch Garver was just added to the Twins 40-man roster (so he’s got three options left). He was drafted and immediately started hitting. However, over the last three seasons, he has developed into a very solid defensive backstop. He’s got a strong arm and his pitch framing numbers are acceptable and improving.
Chris Gimenez was brought in recently on a minor league deal, which puts him a little bit behind the eight-ball. He’s a veteran who has been around a long time. He’s definitely a backup type. Also, he’s played for Cleveland and Texas in recent years so Derek Falvey and Thad Levine are very familiar with him.
Which of the three will be the backup?
Rochester Red Wings - Mitch Garver (26), Chris Gimenez (34), Eddy Rodriguez (31)
Well, the other two will be at Rochester. If Garver is in Rochester, he will continue to get the majority of time behind the plate but will also get to DH and play first base. Murphy would catch at least 50% of the time if he’s there. Gimenez would likely have the same role in Rochester as he would have in the big leagues, backup catcher.
Eddy Rodriguez has been around a long time. The 31-year-old was born in Cuba, came to the States and played in high school and college in Miami. He’s played in AAA each year since 2011, and he even played in two games for the Padres in 2012.
Chattanooga Lookouts - Brian Navarreto (22), Dan Rohlfing (27)
Rohlfing spent the first eight seasons of his pro career in the Twins system including spending the entire 2014 season in Rochester. He left and had spent the last two seasons playing in the Mets and Diamondbacks systems. The 27-year-old may find himself splitting time between AA and AAA.
Navarreto remains a big prospect behind the plate. That’s mostly because he is a big man. Unfortunately to this point his bat hasn’t been big. But I maintain hope that it will improve at some point, at least enough to be a quality backup backstop. Defensively, Navarreto fits into the elite category. He has a huge arm and does very well behind the plate.
Ft. Myers Miracle - AJ Murray (23), Kevin Garcia (24), Brian Olson (24)
Murray was a Midwest League All-Star in 2016. Right after the game (in which he homered), he was promoted to the Miracle (and homered in his first game). He’s got work to do defensively, and after hitting well in Cedar Rapids, he struggled with the Miracle.
Kevin Garcia came to the Twins as a free agent before the 2016 season. He moved back and forth between Ft. Myers and Cedar Rapids. He is solid with the glove and a good leader for a pitching staff. He caught every game for the Kernels once the playoffs started.
Brian Olson played in the GCL, Cedar Rapids, Ft. Myers and even a game in Rochester. He’s got some bat and puts together quality plate appearances. He’s solid defensively and could likely ride the same roller coaster in 2017.
Cedar Rapids Kernels - Ben Rortvedt (19), Rainis Silva (20), Bryant Hayman (24)
Rortvedt was the Twins second-round pick in 2016 out of high school in Wisconsin. While it’s possible he could start the season in extended spring training, he will be the primary catcher wherever he is. He’s got plenty of room for improvement across the board, but he’s got the tools to develop into a very good player.
Bryant Hayman began the 2016 season in Cedar Rapids but really struggled and went back down to extended spring training where he got hurt while at Elizabethton.
Rainis Silva is a solid defensive catcher. He hasn’t hit, and he’s still young. He spent the second half of the 2016 season with the Kernels.
Mitch Kranson played a lot of third base in college, but he went to Instructs to catch, and that's where he would like to play going forward. So expect him to do a lot of catching.
Extended Spring Training - Justin Hazard (23), Dominic Blanco (21), Robert Molina (19), Jhon Alvarez (19), Kerby Camacho (19), Kidany Salva (18)
Blanco was released by the Mariners midseason last year and the Twins quickly signed him. He got into a handful of games in the GCL, and he should bump up to E-Town this year. Robert Molina can catch but he struggled with the bat at E-Town last year. He’ll likely head back there. Jhon Alvarez is young and debuted in the States in 2016. He is likely to repeat the level.
Kidany Salva was drafted last year. A Puerto Rico native, he moved to Texas for his senior year in high school. While he is very young and will head back to the GCL, he has some potential to be good both offensively and defensively.
The Top Prospects
1.) Mitch Garver,
2.) Ben Rortvedt,
3.) Brian Navarreto,
4.) Kidany Salva,
5.) AJ Murray
So what do you think? Who will start the season as Jason Castro’s backup? Which prospects are you most excited about in 2017?
Please feel free to discuss and ask questions in the Comments below.