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Let’s Talk Mitch Garver

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#1 twins1095

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Posted 11 May 2018 - 04:14 PM

Garver’s minor league track record suggests an interesting .OBP/Power profile from the catcher position. He’s old for someone just breaking into the majors (27), but he got a relatively late start and catchers can take more time.

The sample size is still limited and Garver hasn’t done it consistently at the MLB level, but he’s flashed the power a little during the beginning of this season and also the BB rate during his first stint.

As a hitter, it seems like if he can settle into the 10-12 BB% he showed during his minor league track record and/or push towards the 11.5 BB% he put up during his first 50 PA’s in the majors and approach the 30 2B - 20 HR power potential his track record suggests he could reach...Garver could be an interesting player.

The biggest question surrounding Garver will be his ability to make enough contact, and further enough hard contact to make his power play at the major league level. Cutting down his K% from the 28-30% he’s been at over his first 100 PA’s to something resembling the 20-24% he posted routinely during his minor league career would go a long way to accomplishing this.

Regardless, it seems that Garver will likely never be a high average guy and will strike out a lot. Basically, it seems likely that Garver profiles towards something of a 3 true outcome player.

I personally don’t mind the strikeouts or the 3 true outcome style as long as he walks enough to get on base at something resembling an 11 BB% and is able to make enough contact to let his power play.

There are slight distinctions in the value’s of a BB and a 1B as well as a K versus an out in play, however I’d argue there are positive and negative components to both and the value’s between the metrics are pretty close in the grand scheme of things.

This if a guy profiles as a high OBP/high XBH guy to me it suggests a lot of run production both in a player’s ability to drive in runs as well as score runs.

I do awknowledge that taking a step back from a purely numbers/data driven viewpoint, from a viewing perspective less balls in play (as comes with the 3 true outcomes) for many is a much more boring style of game.

I think Garver profiles as a guy who could be a .350+obp% - 25-30 2B - 20-25 HR type profile. I’m not sure Garver will ever hit in a spot in the order that leads to eye-popping levels of Runs or RBIs, but from an offensive standpoint that would put Garver in pretty good company at the C position.

Just watching Garver’s swing i’m intrigued by his ability to generate a ton of power with a swing as short, quick, and compact as his swing is. His first major league HR really jumped out at me because of how deep it was and how much it popped off his bat despite a swing that shouldn’t have seemingly generated that kind of power.

I don’t feel qualified to speak as much about Garver defensively. I know at earlier levels in his minor league career there were some questions about his defense (I think he switched to the position extremely late), but by the time he reached AAA a lot of reports rated him as surprisingly solid if not good at the position.

I haven’t watched his play at the MLB level with a really critical eye yet, but it feels like Garver has been solid thus far. I’ve been relatively impressed with his arm, but my feel watching what I’ve watched is that there is some inconsistency in terms of being able to block and smother balls in the dirt and to me it seems that the Twins have been struggling to get pitches on the edge of the strike zone (on the blacks) called for strikes at times suggesting that potentially Garner could become more consistent and skilled at framing pitches. I also can’t speak to his ability to call an effective game, manage pitchers, and make them better.

However it seems that he profiles as solid defensively at worst and flashes some ability to be something close to above average if not even a good defensive catcher.

Fangraphs has him as a +0.9 Def War player in a relatively small sample size suggesting that he’s performing pretty well.

Further, I like Garver’s versatility in his ability to play 1B and the corner OF spots. In an ideal world I think Garver is paired with a true elite defensive catcher and his bat plays well enough to get him ABs at 1B, DH, etc to keep his bat in the lineup.

What do you guys think of Garver? Bullish, Boarish, or meh? He’s far from a sure thing, but the skill set as a hitter, especially as somewhat of a power hitter, that he profiles at the C position would give the Twins really good run production value from the C position in a way that a lot of teams can’t generate.

I might be getting a little bit ahead of myself as this is a lot of projection, but I’m encouraged by streaks of both skillsets Garver has displayed for stretches of time and think that once he becomes adjusted to MLB pitches the whole package will start to show more consistently.


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#2 tbhysgb

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Posted 11 May 2018 - 04:34 PM

I've got nothing to push back with on anything you said.

 

I will say this though. I expect Garver will be alright once he gets anough ABs to get acclimated to major league pitching, and I think his defense will get better as he logs more innings behind the plate.

 

I think he'll be solid.Hopefully anyway, He's really all the Twins have in the near future in their pipeline that shows promise. We'll see.

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#3 twins1095

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Posted 11 May 2018 - 04:57 PM

I've got nothing to push back with on anything you said.

I will say this though. I expect Garver will be alright once he gets anough ABs to get acclimated to major league pitching, and I think his defense will get better as he logs more innings behind the plate.

I think he'll be solid. Hopefully anyway, He's really all the Twins have in the near future in their pipeline that shows promise. We'll see.


Walk rates usually translate relatively smoothly and we’ve seen him do it for a stretch before. We’ve seen the natural easy power a little bit this year. Seemingly, with some more comfortability he’ll be able to square balls up more consistently.

I imagine it’s hard balancing and focusing on catching duties and handling that aspect of things too, more comfortability commanding MLB pitchers at this level could also help his hitting a little bit.

We’ll see he’s got an interesting skill set for sure.

#4 Hosken Bombo Disco

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Posted 11 May 2018 - 06:45 PM

 

I don’t feel qualified to speak as much about Garver defensively... 

 

 Check out this Jason Castro thread if you haven't seen it already.

 

Sometimes I wonder whether Garver even played catcher in the minors, that's how bad he has been at times. I assume he will get better the more time he gets back there, but his instincts seem to be absent. However, the pitchers have had success when pitching to Garver. His "catcher ERA" is vastly better than Castro's so maybe he gets some credit for that, don' know. That's my short opinion. I do like his bat and not sure he'll be a three true outcome guy as you say.

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#5 Platoon

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Posted 11 May 2018 - 06:59 PM

He didn't get into to many games last year, but I remarked at the time that he looked like a D2 college catcher at best. Brutal. And while it looks like he can at least throw a little, he still is a detriment with the glove. MLB catchers are supposed to be able to block the ball in the dirt. If they can't, pitchers lose faith in the low breaking ball and leave it up. Of course when you do that, you don't have to worry about catching it, the guy in the left field stand does. :)
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#6 twins1095

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Posted 11 May 2018 - 07:29 PM



Check out this Jason Castro thread if you haven't seen it already.

Sometimes I wonder whether Garver even played catcher in the minors, that's how bad he has been at times. I assume he will get better the more time he gets back there, but his instincts seem to be absent. However, the pitchers have had success when pitching to Garver. His "catcher ERA" is vastly better than Castro's so maybe he gets some credit for that, don' know. That's my short opinion. I do like his bat and not sure he'll be a three true outcome guy as you say.


Thanks for the reply, I’ll check it out. I guess I should say that I probably was using the 3 true outcome definition to describe a couple of different things which is my fault.

Traditionally, 3 true outcomes is a guy not putting the ball in play which maybe is the wrong way to describe Garver. He didn’t strike out quite as much as I thought he did in the minors.

I sort of meant it, wrongly, as Garver seems to profile as the type of player that’s gonna have a 10-12 BB% - 25ish + K% and a pretty solid number of extra base hits as I was describing.

I don’t see Garver as a super high average guy. I was describing the high BB, high K, high power, low average type of profile that 3 true outcome players also have, but i was using it wrongly without thinking.
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#7 USAFChief

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Posted 11 May 2018 - 07:48 PM

I’ll say this about Garver: IMO, Castro can’t get back fast enough.
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#8 DocBauer

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Posted 11 May 2018 - 08:12 PM

But instinct looking at his milb numbers...which I know don't always translate the same...he'll be a .250ish hitter who has a chance at .260. Probably a .320 OB. I see high 20'-32 doubles and consistent double digit HR. Can he be a 20 HR guy? Maybe. The build and strength seem to be there. I'm more safe saying he's a consistent 15-17 HR guy which would all add up to a very good offensive catcher hitting anywhere from 7-9 in the lineup.

Defensively, he seems to have a strong and accurate arm. We've heard good things previously about his defense, but also have a very SSS at the ML level to accurately judge. What I find so interesting is the wide arc of responses concerning his defense from good/solid to meh to poor. Between ST and regular season I've only seen him a few times. But from MY TIME watching him, other than a few missed balls, he's handled everything well and blocked the plate well. His set-up and framing appear solid. And he's been behind the plate for some of the best pitched games thrown by the Twins this season. Again, this is what I've seen. Maybe I've missed how poor he is. Maybe some are judging too harshly, or opposite of my experience, have seen his worst games/moments.

Offensively,I think there is enough talent and potential to warrant a little excitement. Defensively, I think we're still in a wait and see mode

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#9 Thrylos

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Posted 11 May 2018 - 08:14 PM

the 30 2B - 20 HR power potential his track record suggests he could reach..

 

need to put the break on those numbers.Those are All Star kind of numbers for a catcher.Matter of fact Joe Mauer just achieved that once, and Johnny Bench only 4 seasons.

 

Garver is a good catcher but not at that level.Really.

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#10 Ultima Ratio

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Posted 11 May 2018 - 08:34 PM

He's no Ron Karkovice behind the plate.

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#11 twins1095

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Posted 11 May 2018 - 08:34 PM

But instinct looking at his milb numbers...which I know don't always translate the same...he'll be a .250ish hitter who has a chance at .260. Probably a .320 OB. I see high 20'-32 doubles and consistent double digit HR. Can he be a 20 HR guy? Maybe. The build and strength seem to be there. I'm more safe saying he's a consistent 15-17 HR guy which would all add up to a very good offensive catcher hitting anywhere from 7-9 in the lineup.

Defensively, he seems to have a strong and accurate arm. We've heard good things previously about his defense, but also have a very SSS at the ML level to accurately judge. What I find so interesting is the wide arc of responses concerning his defense from good/solid to meh to poor. Between ST and regular season I've only seen him a few times. But from MY TIME watching him, other than a few missed balls, he's handled everything well and blocked the plate well. His set-up and framing appear solid. And he's been behind the plate for some of the best pitched games thrown by the Twins this season. Again, this is what I've seen. Maybe I've missed how poor he is. Maybe some are judging too harshly, or opposite of my experience, have seen his worst games/moments.

Offensively,I think there is enough talent and potential to warrant a little excitement. Defensively, I think we're still in a wait and see mode


This is fair. I was trying to post a ceiling type stat line.

In regards to other posters who said Joe Mauer only reached that stat line once...etc.

1) It’s a much different game and HR and XBH records have been set and surpassed year after year for the last few years. 20 HRs is nowhere near what it used to be. Different time, different era, different points of emphasis.

A lot of players in the modern era have tinkered there swings and approaches to loft balls and hit HRs and extra base hits.

It’s how Logan Morrison went from being a Joe Mauer lite to a 40 HR guy.

If you normalized by era it would be a different story.

Second, why are you using 20 HRs as a bench mark for Joe Mauer...Joe Mauer is a contact/line drive/obp/doubles hitter not a home run hitter. Of course he hasn’t hit 20 HRs except that single year.

Mauer has 6 seasons with a .320 plus average including .347 and .365 seasons. And has hit 40-50 doubles multiple times.

Putting Garver’s ceiling at 30 2B - 20 HR and something like .250/.330/.780 is not putting Garver even close to the same universe as Mauer’s peak.

#12 USAFChief

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Posted 11 May 2018 - 09:21 PM










Mauer ... has hit 40-50 doubles multiple times.


No. No he hasn't. 43 is his high, and that's his only season over 40.

Also color me skeptical on Garver ever having a 50 XBH season.

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#13 diehardtwinsfan

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Posted 12 May 2018 - 07:45 AM

I don't get the consternation here. This is effectively his rookie year. Catchers take quite a bit longer to develop, and Garver was never considered a top prospect. His minor league numbers say his bat will play, and I think a .250 avg with 20 doubles and 10-20 HRs is pretty good out of a catcher, at least offensively. His defense may need a bit of work, but no one ever claimed him to be a Molina. He's going to need to learn, which is why he was called on to be Castro's backup. That will take time. Be patient. Castro will be back soon enough, and Garver's bat is already better than Castro. 

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#14 Tom Froemming

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Posted 12 May 2018 - 10:19 AM

Good stuff here. Personally, I've been disappointed in Garver's play behind the plate, and back in August of 2016 I questioned why he hadn't been catching more in his minor league career. Maybe some extra game reps behind the plate each season wouldn't have made any difference, but they couldn't have hurt, right? 

 

I'm hoping the more Garver works with this pitching staff, the more we'll see him look more comfortable behind the plate.

 

Either way, I think Mitch is going to be a valuable asset to this organization for a long time. Yes, he's a bit old for a rookie, but that also means he's had a lot of development behind him and a lot of cheap team control ahead of him. A lot of teams would love to have a guy like that, especially since he compliments Castro so nicely in terms of their offensive traits.

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#15 Craig Arko

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Posted 12 May 2018 - 11:00 AM

Seems a lot like Brian Harper.
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#16 Shaitan

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Posted 12 May 2018 - 12:27 PM

 

Seems a lot like Brian Harper.

 

Who eventually became serviceable. It takes repetition and experience. (The same thing I'm hoping for with Sano at 3B.) 


#17 Shaitan

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Posted 12 May 2018 - 12:28 PM

 

Who eventually became serviceable. It takes repetition and experience. (The same thing I'm hoping for with Sano at 3B.) 

 

Or, I should say, Harper seemed serviceable to my 11 year-old POV after a couple of years.


#18 Kelly Vance

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Posted 12 May 2018 - 03:43 PM

George Mitterwald where are you? 


#19 snepp

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Posted 12 May 2018 - 04:34 PM

I liked Brian Harper. Something almost always happened in the field when he came up. Never walked and never struck out.

 

 

Go Mitch! (to stay on-topic)

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#20 Circus Boy

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Posted 12 May 2018 - 04:47 PM

 

need to put the break on those numbers.Those are All Star kind of numbers for a catcher.Matter of fact Joe Mauer just achieved that once, and Johnny Bench only 4 seasons.

 

Garver is a good catcher but not at that level.Really.

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