Garver Making the Most of the Opportunity
Image courtesy of Jesse Johnson-USA Today SportsAs spring training began, there were questions about whether or not Garver would break camp with the club. Other veteran options were in camp and he didn’t exactly hit the cover off the ball during his debut. In the 2017 season, he hit .196/.288/.348 with four extra-base hits in 23 games. After combining for four triples in his entire minor league career, he collected three triples out of his nine total hits.
Garver has made a few changes at the plate this season. After barreling up the ball 3.2% of the time last year, he has raised that percentage to 8.1% this season. This has helped to increase his exit velocity from 86.8 to 88.0. His launch angle has also been impacted as he moved from 10.5 last year to 18.0 this year. His change in launch angle has resulted in his OPS increasing by 140 points.
Another change for Garver this season has been an increase in his BABIP. Last year, he ended the season with a .290 BABIP. This year his BABIP has risen to .343 so there might be some luck involved with the big jump. One could expect Garver’s batting average to drop as teams figure out how to defend him. During his minor league career, Garver hit .271/.364/.429.
Defensively, Garver started four games at catcher last season. He’s already more than doubled his amount of innings behind the plate. This year he has allowed seven stolen bases and thrown out two potential base stealers. His 22% caught stealing percentage is lower than the league average (28%). Throughout his minor league career, he had a 32% caught stealing percentage.
To make the most of this opportunity, Garver needs to continue to make offensive strides. There have been some small adjustments this season but he dominated at the upper levels of the minors. He hit .298/.386/.520 in 110 games with Rochester over the last two seasons. If that version of Garver shows up at the big league level, his defensive flaws will be easier to swallow.
What do you expect from Garver in the years to come? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
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