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Twins Acquire Chris Carter

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 10:25 AM
https://www.mlbtrade...ris-carter.html Should this be interpreted as bad news on Mauer?
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Interesting article about Buxton

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 10:14 AM
I enjoyed the article linked below about Buxton. As you can see, the Twins and lots of other folks seem to think that he could be a hall...
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Article: SEA 4, MIN 3: Zuni-Not Again

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 10:25 AM
What did the Twins ever do to Mike Zunino? Last season, he hit four homers in just six games against Minnesota. Saturday night (Sunday mo...
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Catcher: DFA Wilson and look to AAA?

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 10:06 AM
The Twins, desperately in need of more offense, have two right handed bats at catcher in AAA:  Wynston Sawyer and Williams Astudillo...
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Article: Why Isn't Mitch Garver Playing More?

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 10:25 AM
Jason Castro recently became the latest in a series of injuries and suspension which have contributed to a pedestrian start to the 2018 s...
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Twins Catchers Quietly Struggling

The Twins have lost six in a row. The pitching has been generally not very good for the last week. The starters haven’t been able to provide innings, and the bullpen has not been very effective, outside of Addison Reed and Ryan Pressly. The offense has been frustrating to say the least, again with some exceptions. As much attention as Logan Morrison and Robbie Grossman are getting for their awful starts to their seasons, Jason Castro is quietly off to a very slow start as well.
Image courtesy of Seth Stohs, Twins Daily
Before the 2017 season, the Twins signed Jason Castro to a three-year, $24 million deal. In 2017, he had easily his best offensive season since his All-Star season in 2013 with the Astros. Last year, Castro hit .242/.333/.388 (.720) with 22 doubles and ten home runs. While those aren’t great numbers for a hitter, they are very solid for a catcher, especially one credited to be as solid as he is defensively.

But right now, Castro has been struggling and because of Morrison and Grossman, few are talking about it. Following his 0-4 with three strikeout game on Wednesday night, Castro is hitting just .146/.241/.229 (.470). He has 20 strikeouts in 54 plate appearances. That’s 37%.

Defensively, Castro is a good pitch framer. Let’s be honest, those are the numbers that made him a free agent that several teams wanted last year. He is league average the last couple of years in terms of throwing out base stealers. He’s had his moments already this year in terms of blocking balls and such.

Of course, it’s also important to remember that we are talking about 54 plate appearances. He’s still at the point of the season where a 4-for-4 day would raise his batting average by .065, so there is no reason to worry at this point.

Mitch Garver was the Twins minor league player of the year last year after a big season in AAA. He made his debut. Now 27, he’s earned the opportunity to be on the big league roster. He’s been used mostly in a platoon role. Castro starts against right-handers while Garver gets the starts against southpaws.

Between that and the multitude of weather postponements, Garver hasn’t had much playing time. In fact, he went from April 10 until April 21 without playing. He’s had just 22 plate appearances in his eight games played this season. He’s hitting .200/.273/.400 (.673) with a double and a game-winning home run among his four hits. He has seven strikeouts in his 22 plate appearance (32%). Of course, if I want to use the if-he-goes-4-for-4-in-his-next-game scenario, Garver’s batting average would increase by .133.

Defensively, he has had his ups and downs. On Tuesday night in New York, he had a tough inning with a “wild pitch’ and an error, but he was also the catcher for Jose Berrios’s complete game shutout.

I said already last year that I thought Garver was the best overall catcher in the organization. Of course, at the time, he had zero major league service time. But I’ll stand by that comment. I think that Garver can be a good defensive catcher and a better-than-average hitting catcher. Of course, that will need to be proven over time. At this stage, it is simply opinion.

Jason Castro and Mitch Garver are the Twins two catchers, and they likely will be throughout the season, barring injury. As the Twins, hopefully, start playing a more consistent schedule, both catchers should be able to get into more of a regular routine with more consistent playing time.

Looking at Rochester to see what the options are as the Twins' #3 catcher, it’s easy to feel confident that Castro and Garver will remain the big league catchers.

Bobby Wilson went 0-3 with two walks on Wednesday. The 35-year-old veteran has two hits in his first 31 at bats (.065) with the Red Wings. Willians Astudillo is hitting .267/.290/.400 (.690) in his eight games for the Red Wings. And at AA, the Twins have defensive specialist Brian Navarreto and veteran Wynston Sawyer.

The Twins will need their catchers to pick it up over the next few weeks offensively. And there is little reason to believe that they won’t. Castro will likely end the season hitting .220 with about ten homers and strong defense. Garver isn’t proven, but if he gets enough consistent at-bats, he should certainly outperform Castro at the plate.


While catcher is an area in the organization that could use some depth (their top catching prospects are in Cedar Rapids - Rortvedt, Banuelos), I believe that their two major league catchers have a chance to be about league average for the position, and if that’s the case, it will really help the team.

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23 Comments

Right now, I can't see Castro or Garver picking it up: same same Morrison & Grossman..

    • bighat likes this
Garver is a 27 yr. old platoon catcher. So far in the limits of his playing time he hasn't hit MLB pitching very well. As a platoon 27 yr. old he will be around 30 when he gets his 1500 MLB AB's that most consider the point where a clear picture is produced. He looks like he can throw a little, but seriously I have saw nothing whatsoever of him behind the plate that indicates anything other than a very mediocre receiver. His bat is/was his calling card.
    • Vanimal46 and bighat like this
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tarheeltwinsfan
Apr 26 2018 06:12 AM

Thank you for this informative article. It points out a weakness in major league depth.

I believe Rortvedt is the Twins catcher of the future.The question is when will that future begin?If he moves up to Fort Myers by early summer, I could see him getting his first action as early as September, 2019.But it is more likely he will join the Twins sometime in 2020 and not be in the discussion as the potential starter until 2021 at the earliest.

 

Castro/Garver will be back in 2019.But it looks like they will need Garver to be the starter in 2020 with a veteran brought in to back him up until Rortvedt is ready later in the year.Barring injuries, Rortvedt could be their starting catcher for the rest of the decade ('20's).  

    • Doctor Wu likes this

Garver is a 27 yr. old platoon catcher. So far in the limits of his playing time he hasn't hit MLB pitching very well. As a platoon 27 yr. old he will be around 30 when he gets his 1500 MLB AB's that most consider the point where a clear picture is produced. He looks like he can throw a little, but seriously I have saw nothing whatsoever of him behind the plate that indicates anything other than a very mediocre receiver. His bat is/was his calling card.


I believe it was you that famously typed Garver holds a frying pan instead of a glove behind the plate! His player comp of Chris Gimenez is ringing true so far...
    • Blake and Tomj14 like this

Kurt Suzuki currently has a .333/.412/.596 slash line after posting .283/.351/.536 last year.Wait...how the hell did he hit 19 HR's in 81 games last year?What is going on???

    • Danchat, KGB, jlknapp and 1 other like this

Castro looks defeated at the plate before the AB starts.

 

But, it's hard for me to really get on Mr. Castro, because the whole team is having problems right now.

    • bobs likes this
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Hosken Bombo Disco
Apr 26 2018 08:36 AM

Kurt Suzuki currently has a .333/.412/.596 slash line after posting .283/.351/.536 last year.Wait...how the hell did he hit 19 HR's in 81 games last year?What is going on???

Suzuki uses a bat with a modified handle grip that resembles an axe handle (I assume he is still using this). He took this up midway into his final season with the Twins in 2016 and he started producing pretty much right away.

I wouldn't say "quietly" struggling.I don't know if I've ever seen a hitter, esp a lefty, swing and miss as much as Jason Castro.Gotta hold out hope that there is a regression to the mean of his career.  

    • Vanimal46 likes this
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howieramone2
Apr 26 2018 08:45 AM

 

Right now, I can't see Castro or Garver picking it up: same same Morrison & Grossman..

I see them all picking it up shortly. It's a long season.

    • Blake and biscuit like this

 

I see them all picking it up shortly. It's a long season.

 

I have zero concern about either of them. Castro will be fine. And, I fully believe in Garver's bat and his arm. 

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nicksaviking
Apr 26 2018 09:06 AM

Whatever benefit Castro's catching ability is supposed to provide to the pitchers, it's not working. His bat is broken and the pitchers are throwing way too many pitches regardless of any framing advantage, at this point I don't know where the harm is in seeing what Garver can do with regular playing time.

    • Hosken Bombo Disco and Doctor Wu like this

The catcher position is the hardest to judge.I am still not crazy about the framing arguments, but over time this is a position where we have had few stand outs - Berra, Howard, Harnett, Bench... and it points out how valuable Mauer was when he could catch.I hope Garver can step up, I think our minor leaguers are more than two years away, and the free agent pickings are meager.What is really important is that we need the catchers to concentrate on their fielding and pitch calling skills despite their batting. 

Which raises a question - how do we judge the skill of the catcher to call the game?What metrics determine that he called the right pitch in the right spot for the right pitcher.Do we just go by wins and losses, by pitcher ERA, or is there a better measure?This skill is more important than the old frame the pitch and steal a strike or two discussion.

 

    • Doctor Wu likes this
Way too early to give up on Garver. His AAA numbers indicate he'll probably be a decent to good catcher.
    • adorduan, Hosken Bombo Disco and MN_ExPat like this
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howieramone2
Apr 26 2018 09:20 AM

 

Whatever benefit Castro's catching ability is supposed to provide to the pitchers, it's not working. His bat is broken and the pitchers are throwing way too many pitches regardless of any framing advantage, at this point I don't know where the harm is in seeing what Garver can do with regular playing time.

Since there is plenty of season left, Castro will no doubt have another fine season. 

 

Can anyone name the last Twins starting catcher, who did not make the All-Star team sometime in their carrier?

The Twins signed Castro to better the pitching staff. He still has one more season on his contract. The Twins knew he wouldn't hit a ton (and someone HAS to make outs in every game). So, as long as he remains healthy, he will get the starts.

 

Garver seems to be Berrios catcher, for now, and that's pretty much it. He will be the limited use reserve this season (surprised he isn't worked into any extra inning games) and may see 50-60 starts next season. But yes, come 2020, the Twins will probably need to pick up a veteran backstop (Drew Butera should still be available) to split games with Garver.

 

Of course, the catching situation is a mess beyond that. If Castro would go dowm, Garver WOULD get a chance to play most everyday, and he can't be any worse with the bat than Castro. But who comes up to sit on the bench and why?

 

Are any of the catching prospects a fulltime catcher come 2021, say. We can hope. Also look for the Twins to use one of their higher draft picks this season for the catching position.

 

We all complained about the old "pitch to contact" of the Twins of the past. Now we get a game of catch between the pitcher and the catcher while the guys in the field stand around watching pitch speed and pitch counts. Go figure.

 

Castro IS producing as requested. Let him sit in the 8th or 9th spot and get his four at bats a game. The choice was made and he's here to stay, as no one will be tying to pry him away from us at the trade deadline.

 

Hummmmm...suddenly starting to wonder about the Twins 40-man roster again. Who actually NEEDS to be on it, has a future, why are they being carried.

 

Suzuki uses a bat with a modified handle grip that resembles an axe handle (I assume he is still using this). He took this up midway into his final season with the Twins in 2016 and he started producing pretty much right away.

It's and "Axe" bat (brand name). My son loves them (or at least he used to beg us to get him one for the longest time), they're actually really comfortable to swing.

I expect Garver's bat to come around soon. His defense? Not sure about that.

 

Suzuki has been bad defensively, but wow, I didn't think he'd hit like that in Atlanta.

    • USAFChief likes this

 

Way too early to give up on Garver. His AAA numbers indicate he'll probably be a decent to good catcher.

I was hoping he would come up and start to hit and make it hard for him not to be the starter, but the more I see him, the more I think he would be lucky to have Chris Gimenez career. (I hope I am wrong)

I expect Garver's bat to come around soon. His defense? Not sure about that.

Suzuki has been bad defensively, but wow, I didn't think he'd hit like that in Atlanta.

Garver is pretty bad defensively, IMO.
    • Oxtung likes this

 

Garver is pretty bad defensively, IMO.

 

His arm seems pretty good but his hands and overall catching instincts are pretty sloppy. 

    • USAFChief and Oxtung like this
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Hosken Bombo Disco
Apr 26 2018 02:31 PM
Garver is still subpar defensively but must have called a good game today. That's really what matters. Castro is brutal. Let's start being honest around here.

Edit- yes that's an opinion

There has always been a good risk that Castro would fall off a cliff during his contract with the Twins. His batting profile (extremely high strikeouts, enough walks and power to be below-average but not terrible) was manageable during his prime, especially for a good defensive catcher. But a deterioration in any of his hitting skills would slide him into unplayable territory, and I thought it was unlikely that he would make it through his age 30-32 seasons without taking a step back. I was just hopeful it would happen in 2019, not 2018. 


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