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NYT Lists MiLB Teams Targeted For Extinctio

Twins Minor League Talk Today, 10:15 PM
Emily Waldon Tweeted out a link to a New York Times article that lists the 42 minor league teams that have been targeted for extinction b...
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Sign Yasmani Grandal, be open to trading Nelson Cruz if M...

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 10:02 PM
Mitch Garver had a tremendous home run rate in 2019. If he is anything close in 2020 to the hitter he was in 2019, the Twins' have a spec...
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Front Page: Offseason Blueprint: Bet the Farm

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 09:40 PM
As much as I would like to design my offseason blueprint around the Twins pushing all of their chips into the middle of the table and upp...
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Front Page: Offseason Blueprint: Spending Every Penny

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 06:18 PM
Jim Pohlad has had it up to here with you people. After checking his burner twitter account (@matthew_btwins) and once again seeing someo...
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Front Page: Eddie Rosario's Actual Value Is an Offsea...

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 03:28 PM
I shouldn't be surprised anymore. I really shouldn't.Baseball's award voters have overemphasized traditional baseball-card numbers like w...
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Minnesota Has the Best Catcher in the Bronx

When the Minnesota Twins kick off the 2019 American League Division Series against the New York Yankees they’ll do so with a matchup advantage that would not have been present a year ago. Looking through the lineup, rotation, and bullpen these two squads have plenty in common. That also rings true behind the plate, but in 2019 it’s the late-blooming prospect from New Mexico that has the upper hand. Gary Sanchez may have the fancy nickname, but it’s Mitch Garver that gets the spotlight.
Image courtesy of © Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports
You won’t have any trouble finding glowing stories about the New York slugger. Sanchez was signed as an international free agent out of the Dominican Republic, and he consistently popped up on top 100 prospect lists through his time in the minor leagues. A two-time All-Star and Rookie of the Year runner up, Sanchez owns an .846 career OPS and surpassed the 100-home run plateau this past season. Just about to turn 27, it’s Sanchez that is often thought of as the premiere backstop in baseball.

With a breakout 2019 season under his belt, Mitch Garver threw all of that for a loop. I’ve described Garver as “The best catcher in baseball” when tweeting out his exploits on a regular basis. What may have started out as somewhat in jest has become a ringing endorsement of talent that holds serve with the high praise. Following a decent showing during his 2018 rookie season Garver went to work over the winter, and it is paying off in any more significant way would likely be impossible.

At the end of the regular season Rocco Baldelli had played Garver in 93 games. He was given regular rest sprinkling in veteran Jason Castro, and he missed time after a Shohei Ohtani slide into home put him on the Injured List with an ankle injury. When the dust settled on those 93 games, Garver posted a .995 OPS. In Minnesota Twins history only four players have posted a higher single-season OPS: his teammate Nelson Cruz, 2009 MVP Joe Mauer, 1977 MVP Rod Carew, and Hall of Famer Harmon Killebrew (twice). Mitch ripped 16 doubles, which is a modest total on its own, but launched a Twins record 31 dingers (30 as a catcher) with a nutty .630 slugging percentage.

When stepping into the batter’s box Garver brought his lumber and terrorized opposing pitchers. He’s been a bat first player for most of his career though, and it’s what he did behind the plate that elevated his game and stature in baseball’s landscape. After posting a -16 DRS and -9.2 FRM (framing runs) in 2018 he jumped those results to 0 DRS and 0.8 FRM in 2019. Working with Tanner Swanson over the offseason he focused on controlling the bottom of the strike zone and exponentially increased his effectiveness by percentage of called strikes.

During the ALDS press conference on Tuesday afternoon Cory Provus asked Garver about the work he put in and if he was happy with where things wound up from a defensive growth standpoint. Mitch answered, “I think about that a lot.” He talked about the importance of stealing any extra strike and how you may quantify that. There’s a level of importance that plays into all facets of the game based on how each pitch is received. Garver also noted that “the confidence level from a manager to put you back there knowing the work I put in is translating to the game, I think that shows a lot. Having a manager that can trust you behind the plate, that’s kind of more important than all of those things (referring to defensive metrics).”

Whether Mitch is in the lineup for every game of the series or not, it will be the time he’s on the field that his ability can truly take the spotlight it deserves. Sanchez has gotten the accolades while playing in the mega-market that is New York. The Yankees “Kraken” is the longball leader since he entered the league. Going into 2019 it was a good bet that he’d return to Silver Slugger status and regain his place at the peak of the position. For now, though it’s Garver’s chance to show he heads the conversation and currently carries the torch.

Minnesota is often a secondary thought when it comes to national discussions. The smaller market that Minneapolis is will never trump the costs, and regardless of the press that this Bomba Squad has driven, individual contributors will fall by the wayside. For the guy from Albuquerque that has had to grind for everything he’s earned, that’s probably all fine and well. Over the course of this series though, Mitch Garver can allow his play to overshadow even the largest of markets. If and when those moments come it will be good for him, because he’ll have earned it.

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12 Comments

Garvsauce>>>>>>>>>>Kraken...too many Ks if you ask me. Yuck the Fankees! Go Twins! #bombaszn
    • DocBauer and MMMordabito like this
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Kelly Vance
Oct 03 2019 10:41 AM

I like Garver. I always have. And I always loved catchers.  

 

But Sanchez is the standard by which AL catchers, including Garver, are measured. Actually I'd say Perez is, but he is out this year.Garver is improving his defense, but he is not a top of the line backstop yet. We have all shook our heads at passed balls over the past couple of years that Mitch should have stopped. My guess is he would be the first to admit this.

 

He played only 93 games, so is only now becoming the Twins starter, over shadowing Castro who we signed as a top free agent a couple of years ago. Just becoming the starter is cool, but it doesn't make him the best in the business. But I would say, he is on his way.

 

Castro is a very good catcher and his framing skills still surpass Mitch's by far. And. look, catcher is basically a defense first position. So a defense challenged catcher is not a strength, unless he hits like 30-40 HRs. That forgives a multitude of sins. 

 

Thing is, this Garver kid can hit, and how.If he plays 120 to 130 games, which is a big ask for that position, he could hit 40 HRs. That is Yogi Berra and Johnny Bench elite.But he is not there yet.Garver is a young player on the come who is improving dramatically. ButI am not ready to say that he is better than Sanchez, or Perez, who I hope comes back strong after injury.

 

But if Garver has a big series and overshadows Sanchez, maybe the sports world will take notice.I really hope that happens, because it means the Twins will most likely advance to the ALCS. And a WS MVP Award would give Mitch the kind of notice that might bestow a shot at the All Star game next year, if he continues to improve.  

 

I liked the article though. Thanks.

    • SQUIRREL, mikelink45, DocBauer and 1 other like this
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MMMordabito
Oct 03 2019 11:14 AM

Kraken? More like ...

 

octop

 

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MMMordabito
Oct 03 2019 11:18 AM

 

But Sanchez is the standard by which AL catchers, including Garver, are measured. 

 

Let's Measure:

 

wRC+ -Sanchez = 116,Garver = 155

WAR- Sanchez = 2.3,Garver = 3.9

DRS - Sanchez = -2 , Garver = 0

FRM - Sanchez = -6.8, Garver = 0.8

FP-Sanchez = .982 , Garver = .992

 

Either Sanchez shouldn't be the measuring stick, or there is a new sheriff in town.

 

    • Puckett34, brvama, 70charger and 3 others like this

If Garver puts in more defensive work this off season, he might start 2020 as a top defensive backstop. At that point the Twins should let Castro go, then bring up Rortvedt or Jeffers as the #2 catcher.

    • Kelly Vance likes this

Biggest difference maybe is how their managers use them. Sanchez missed almost 7 weeks this year with various IL stints...yet still ended up with almost 100 more PA than did Garver. Neither is anything more than endurable behind the plate, but I don't think it's possible to be worse than Sanchez back there. Yet, when healthy, Boone pencils him in there on a regular basis, doesn't 'rest' him other than maybe the day game following night scenarios.

Shout out to Kelly for such an intelligent response. (I chose not to copy it).

My response would be to appreciate and generally agree with him that Sanchez has been the standard in recent years. BUT, that doesn't mean Garver isn't better NOW, at least for 2019.
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pierre75275
Oct 03 2019 05:02 PM
How good would the twins catchers be if they signed Yasmoni Grandel? Can you imagine him anf Garver sharing duties?
    • Danchat likes this

I am delighted to see Garver getting our local respect.As a Twin Fan I realize it takes amazing performance (think Trout) to get national attention.  

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MMMordabito
Oct 04 2019 12:37 PM

So apparently, this Richard Justice writer for mlb.com is an idiot.He starts by stating that the Twins led the majors in most important stat categories and highlights Garver.Then he goes on to give the advantage to the Yankees.He never once mentions the defensive part of the game.

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Brock Beauchamp
Oct 04 2019 01:00 PM

So apparently, this Richard Justice writer for mlb.com is an idiot. He starts by stating that the Twins led the majors in most important stat categories and highlights Garver. Then he goes on to give the advantage to the Yankees. He never once mentions the defensive part of the game.

Someone should probably let him know that catcher defense is kind of important.
    • SQUIRREL likes this

 

Someone should probably let him know that catcher defense is kind of important.

It's something that a lot forget, or downgrade.


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