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Garver


 

That fWAR would be for all hitters, regardless of position though, no?  In reality, catchers are so much harder to find that if you want to use WAR, it should be limited to only catchers.  66 guys qualify as catchers on fangraphs, and less than half (31/63) have positive WAR.  

fWAR includes a positional adjustment, so that's already baked into the calculation. Catchers receive the highest positive positional adjustment, and 1B and DH receive the most negative positional adjustment, which makes sense. You may still be right, however, that a higher proportion of catchers have negative fWAR compared to other positions, but that would require a little extra work to check.

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fWAR includes a positional adjustment, so that's already baked into the calculation. Catchers receive the highest positive positional adjustment, and 1B and DH receive the most negative positional adjustment, which makes sense. You may still be right, however, that a higher proportion of catchers have negative fWAR compared to other positions, but that would require a little extra work to check.

 

C--31/63 positive

1B--30/59 positive

2B--42/73 positive

SS-30/47 positive

3B--38/67 positive

RF--45/70 positive

CF--35/73 positive

LF--45/85 positive

DH--15/31 positive

 

So only catcher, center field, and DH have fewer players with positive WAR then negative WAR.  Seems like catchers and center fielders are not giving enough credit for their defensive ability, and DH's are being penalized too much for not playing defense.

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C--31/63 positive

1B--30/59 positive

2B--42/73 positive

SS-30/47 positive

3B--38/67 positive

RF--45/70 positive

CF--35/73 positive

LF--45/85 positive

DH--15/31 positive

 

So only catcher, center field, and DH have fewer players with positive WAR then negative WAR.  Seems like catchers and center fielders are not giving enough credit for their defensive ability, and DH's are being penalized too much for not playing defense.

I think the positional adjustments are based on a much larger sample size than what we've seen through three weeks this season, so I imagine these numbers tend to even out over time. We're splitting hairs a bit here, but I think we can conclude that Garver has been below average at the plate this season, even taking into account the typically lower offensive production of catchers.

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I tend to agree with Brock that Garver not hitting, especially on fastballs, is just weird. I am not going to argue his defense at the moment. And while I offer no excuses for his poor start to 2021, I've tended to give a pass to anyone...on the Twins or any team...for 2020, especially if injury was involved.

 

Players get in grooves. Players have routines and rhythms to their approach. Despite a normal ST, are we seeing guys have a difficult time finding said grooves and rhythms coming off a strange season? Almost as if a player, Garver and anyone else, was coming off an injury. (Garver actually is in this case).

 

But regarding Garver specifically, he was an excellent hitter in college. He was a good to excellent hitter throughout his milb career. He was more than competent in 2018, his first full season. He was amazing in 2019 at an unsustainable pace. Then 2020 happened, with injury.

 

At 30yr old, I find it virtually impossible that Garver has simply "lost it" already. No question he is out of whack. His timing is off, I'm not smart enough or informed enough, to know about his approach. I would venture a good guess his confidence is down. Work and playing are the only ways to find himself again. There is no AAA to play at right now, IF the Twins wanted to try that option.

 

I have no answers. But for a guy who has had a good/great bat his entire career I just dont beljeve he is washed up at 30, IMO.

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I think my note acknowledged the week before AAA starts.

 

I just wonder if that time in AAA including this week before games can help him approach his former success.

Overall I think the lack of minor league play is affecting everyone. Players just aren't as "prepared" and while there is an alternate site, there is no comparison to having alternate live games. The only way to get real live action is to carry a player on the active roster and hope they can work their way through it.

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One thing they might want to try to get Garver out of his funk, if the right pitcher is on the mound, is to have the whole lineup take the first pitch, then when Garver’s spot comes up 7th or 8th, let him sit on a first pitch fastball and tell Garver just to swing easy and whack it up the middle.

Baseball version of Rope a Dope?

 

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Now I am even more confused. There are more than 15 catchers in the AL and a lot more than 30 in the MLB. Are you looking at team stats? 

Sorry if I haven't been clear. I am looking at catchers, and then sorting them by PA (and team) to identify the top 15 (AL primary catchers), top 30 (MLB primary catchers), or top 60 (MLB primaries plus backups). If you click the Fangraphs links I have been sharing, you can see the criteria and who is listed.

 

I think that's a fair way to see how Garver compares to fellow primary catchers, as well as primary catchers plus primary backups. I don't think it's appropriate to boost Garver's relative ranking by including third- or fourth-string fill-ins like Joseph Odom and Tres Barrerra and their respective 0-for-2 lines this season (and as I'll explain below, relative ranking has its shortcomings too).

 

 

There are 32 players who have caught a game in the AL. This makes sense as teams carry around two catchers and the season is young. Garver's OPS has him at #19. The middle would be #16. My eyeballs tell me that about half of the catchers below him are starters, but also about half of the catchers above him are starters. No, I did not manually count to confirm.

With apologies to your eyeballs, only 3 primary AL catchers were below Garver's wRC+ performance, and 11 were above it. :) Only 2 primaries below him in the NL too. Hence like I posted before, Garver's 2021 performance ranked 25th out of 30 MLB primary catchers.

 

And again, relative ranks only tell part of the story. If we were ranking the 50 US states by some measure, we wouldn't assume that the 37th ranked state was "middle of the pack" just because its rank was closer to 25th than to 50th. The actual measurements aren't necessarily distributed evenly across all of the ranks -- the measurements may fall off steeply after, say, #35. Then the 37th ranked state's measurement could be closer to 47th than to the median 25th. In that case, it's more appropriate to place the 37th state in a group with the bottom states than in a group with the middle one.

 

That's the situation Garver is in -- relative rank 12th out of 15 AL primary catchers, but his wRC+ was closer to 14th than it was to the median 8th. MLB including backups, his relative rank improves to 40th out of 60, but his wRC+ was actually closer to 55th than to the median 30th.

 

If you're calling that level of performance "middle of the pack", then "middle of the pack" is functionally meaningless -- it includes practically everyone! Reminds me of Lake Wobegon, where all the catchers are above average. :)

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Ah, gotcha. 

 

I'm guessing the difference we are seeing is I am looking at OPS, and you are looking at wRC+.

Not really. Generally, OPS and wRC+ track fairly closely.

 

Garver's OPS ranks (this was yesterday when I pulled the spreadsheet data)

 

AL primary catchers: 13th out of 15

MLB primary catchers: 26th out of 30

MLB primary plus backup catchers: 40th out of 60 (OPS closer to ~48th than median 30th)

 

He does look a little better if you include AL backups, but exclude all NL catchers: 18th in OPS/wRC+ out of the top 30 AL catchers by PA. This is what you were focusing on, it seems (while adding a few low-PA third-stringers at the bottom, to boost Garver's relative ranking). But that's more of a function of backups being bad generally, and the AL having worse backups than the NL right now, rather than any credit to Garver's performance this year.

 

All that said, unless Telis or Astudillo can be solid defensively, the Twins may not have any viable alternatives at the moment. So the conclusion -- keep playing Garver -- is likely the same, any way you frame his current performance level.

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What doesn't help either catcher right now is the every other day playing time.  They both could benefit from back to back starts at least to try and find some type of rhythm.  So with Rocco's analytics he has Garver in lineup tonight and then Wednesday because the perceived notion that Garver can hit lefties better than Jeffers.  Perceived for sure as I don't think I have seen Jeffers bat against a lefty at any point last year or this year.  Granted could be wrong, but if he has very limited.  What makes me chuckle is Garver hitting leadoff vs lefties or in the 2-hole.  Ouch on the Golden Sombrero Sunday

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What doesn't help either catcher right now is the every other day playing time. They both could benefit from back to back starts at least to try and find some type of rhythm. So with Rocco's analytics he has Garver in lineup tonight and then Wednesday because the perceived notion that Garver can hit lefties better than Jeffers. Perceived for sure as I don't think I have seen Jeffers bat against a lefty at any point last year or this year. Granted could be wrong, but if he has very limited. What makes me chuckle is Garver hitting leadoff vs lefties or in the 2-hole. Ouch on the Golden Sombrero Sunday

It’s time for the “Garver vs lefties” thing to end, in my opinion. We don’t really have any idea what Jeffers can do when he’s only facing same-sided pitchers and never gets a hitting advantage. And Garver has shown he just isn’t right. I don’t know what’s wrong with him but he ain’t right.
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I understand the "make one guy the primary catcher" idea but both have been killing the team with their lack of hitting. Garver had one game where he hit a homer and a double, but hasn't done anything since. Jeffers hasn't gotten anything going at all and both are striking out at prodigious rates. I think it makes sense to alternate them until somebody puts together a week of good hitting.

 

I like Jeffers' defense better than Garver's, but neither have received nearly well enough to make up for pitiable offense.

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I understand the "make one guy the primary catcher" idea but both have been killing the team with their lack of hitting. Garver had one game where he hit a homer and a double, but hasn't done anything since. Jeffers hasn't gotten anything going at all and both are striking out at prodigious rates. I think it makes sense to alternate them until somebody puts together a week of good hitting.

 

I like Jeffers' defense better than Garver's, but neither have received nearly well enough to make up for pitiable offense.

The big difference is that while both Jeffers and Garver are RHB, Jeffers has six PAs against LHP and Garver has 27 PAs against LHP.

 

In that scenario, Jeffers has every excuse why he's not hitting while Garver has no excuse why he's not hitting.

 

Both have been terrible but Jeffers has a significant advantage on defense and hasn't had a real opportunity on offense. It's time to balance the scales on offense.

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I wanted Jeffers to be the primary catcher before the start of the season and I predicted this is not the season we expect. Both catchers are not hitting, but Jeffers is the future, he at least can call a good game or be pretty good defensively.

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Always felt Garver would eventually be passed by folks like Jeffers and even Rortvedt as catchers, mainly because of defense. But he could still catch, play the field at first base (and maybe the outfield) and be a rotating designated hitter after Cruz steps away. 

 

If a catcher calls a good game, you can have a light hitter. But both of our backstops are striking out too much (you at least like someone to put a ball in play) and the defense is not there. Jeffers needs time to work on his swing. And being a catcher IS a demanding job, calling a game. Jeffers would be best served at AAA once the Saints start to play.

 

Right now, Jonathan Lucroy looks like a buffet table grab. but

who would the Twins jettison to add him to the roster, and also, say, Tomas Tellis. (Okay, I can think of a couple of bullpen arms).

 

 

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If a catcher calls a good game, you can have a light hitter. But both of our backstops are striking out too much (you at least like someone to put a ball in play) and the defense is not there. Jeffers needs time to work on his swing. And being a catcher IS a demanding job, calling a game. Jeffers would be best served at AAA once the Saints start to play.

 

Very true. If Garver and Jeffers can just start having good at-bats, a lot of the criticism goes away, even if their batting averages remain on the low side. Going deep into counts, moving runners over, fixing that glove for the 50th time when in the batter's box, and otherwise being a pain in the arse for the other team when in the batter's box brings value.

 

If Garver can't hit right now, he can just foul off a half a dozen pitches in every at bat until the pitcher gets frustrated and tosses a meatball. Turn the tables by being a pest and wearing down the other team's patience! If you can't beat 'em by hitting, beat 'em by being annoying.

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Yikes. I don't think I agree with that move but okay.

That's gross. Astudillo is entertaining, but I also don't enjoy watching him hit weak pop ups on balls out of the zone in big moments. Not to mention the defensive drop off between the two...

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That's gross. Astudillo is entertaining, but I also don't enjoy watching him hit weak pop ups on balls out of the zone in big moments. Not to mention the defensive drop off between the two...

The defensive difference is substantial but Jeffers hasn't gotten a real shot this season, either. He's a RHB facing almost exclusively RHP and one game isn't going to drastically shift my opinion of Garver in the here and now (ultimately, I think he recovers but have no idea to what extent).

 

And despite facing pretty much only RHP, Jeffers has all of 37 PAs this season. Literally *one* big game changes his entire stat line tremendously.

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The defensive difference is substantial but Jeffers hasn't gotten a real shot this season, either. He's a RHB facing almost exclusively RHP and one game isn't going to drastically shift my opinion of Garver in the here and now (ultimately, I think he recovers but have no idea to what extent).

 

And despite facing pretty much only RHP, Jeffers has all of 37 PAs this season. Literally *one* big game changes his entire stat line tremendously.

Didn't expect to see Rortvedt in the lineup today!

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