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  • Twins Select C Ben Rortvedt with 56th Overall Pick


    Jeremy Nygaard

    With the 56th pick of the 2016 MLB Draft, the Minnesota Twins select Wisonsin prep C Ben Rortvedt.

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    What you need to know about Ben Rortvedt:

    Rortvedt, a left-handed hitting catcher from Verona Area High School in Wisconsin, is 5-10, 190 lbs. Rortvedt is more advanced with his bat than he is with his glove currently, offering gap power presently, but should develop into someone that can hit a couple dozen home runs in a season. Perfect Game called him the most "well-rounded" catcher in the draft, citing his arm strength and athleticism.

    Rortvedt is committed to Arkansas, but is fully expected to sign. He will start his career in the Gulf Coast League.

    MLB.com lists Rortvedt as the 51st best prospect.

    Only six Wisconsin high schoolers were selected in the top two rounds of the first 51 Drafts, but the Badger State may have two this year in shortstop Gavin Lux and Rortvedt. The latter is the best offensive catcher in the 2016 prep ranks and could be the first high school backstop picked in June. Rortvedt has a smooth left-handed swing that generates a lot of bat speed. He's strong and barrels a lot of balls, producing power without swinging for the fences. He has the upside of a .270 hitter with 20 homers per season, though the demands of catching may knock those numbers down. Rortvedt has work to do behind the plate, though he has the tools to make it at catcher and scouts believe he'll figure it out. The Arkansas recruit has solid arm strength and makes accurate throws. He sets a good target and moves well behind the plate, though his receiving and blocking skills will have to improve.

    Baseball America ranks Rortvedt 82nd.

    High school players are rarely drafted and sign out of Wisconsin high schools, but the track record for those who do is a frightening one. In the history of the draft there have been 26 Wisconsin high school players who were drafted and signed in the top 10 rounds. Four of them have made the majors, only one (Erik Cordier) of whom was drafted in the past 45 years. Six of the seven picked in the past 30 years have failed to make it out of Class A. Rortvedt, like Gavin Lux, has the tools to escape those odds--he has above-average power potential from the left side with a swing that has leverage. He can get caught on his front foot too often and struggle with contact at times. Rortvedt produces average to a tick above-average pop times behind the plate, but his receiving needs some polish. The Arkansas signee is old for the draft class (he'll turn 19 shortly after the season ends) but he should be picked in the top three-to-four rounds.

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    Instantly becomes our best catching prospect by a long ways.

    No way. I don't get the dislike for Turner and Garver. They are good prospects. He is a good prospect, but I doubt he is likely as good add the other two. They have already been good against much better competition. Good pick, though.

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    No way. I don't get the dislike for Turner and Garver. They are good prospects. He is a good prospect, but I doubt he is likely as good add the other two. They have already been good against much better competition. Good pick, though.

     

    Well, they can't hit, so there's that. Turner is a .220 hitter in AA, basically a poor man's Drew Butera, which means he's not even backup material . . . Garver is a little better, but still borderline even by backup standards, and he's not exactly the best receiver in the world, either.

     

    I'd rather have Rortvedt than both of them combined, not even close.

    Edited by drivlikejehu
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    Well, they can't hit, so there's that. Turner is a .220 hitter in AA, basically a poor man's Drew Butera, which means he's not even backup material . . . Garver is a little better, but still borderline even by backup standards, and he's not exactly the best receiver in the world, either.

     

    I'd rather have Rortvedt than both of them combined, not even close.

     

    Yikes, I definitely disagree. 

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    I think your expectations for a catching prospect may be a little too high...

     

    While my knowledge of prospects outside of the Twins organization is limited, MLBpipeline's #9 and #10 ranked catching prospects are both 23-yr. olds who are in the Midwest (Low A) and California (High-A) leagues, and have below-league average OPSs (.609 and .724, respectively).

    Edited by TRex
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    The MLB average OPS for catchers this year is .680, including backups. That's not great, but it's a lot higher than Turner projects for, and also higher than Garver is likely to manage. I don't think Turner could crack .600. The guy just can't hit at all. I don't understand what some people are looking at to come to a different conclusion.

     

    I could see Garver managing a .650 OPS for a few years, which would be OK for a backup but . . . who cares? Teams can get a guy like that in free agency for a couple million. Garver's only real selling point is that he could be a backup or AAAA type for a few years and make the league minimum.

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    No way. I don't get the dislike for Turner and Garver. They are good prospects. He is a good prospect, but I doubt he is likely as good add the other two. They have already been good against much better competition. Good pick, though.

     

    Turner has never been good at the plate.  He got off to a hot start this year but has pretty much regressed to his career numbers. 

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    Well, they can't hit, so there's that. Turner is a .220 hitter in AA, basically a poor man's Drew Butera, which means he's not even backup material . . . Garver is a little better, but still borderline even by backup standards, and he's not exactly the best receiver in the world, either.

     

    I'd rather have Rortvedt than both of them combined, not even close.

     

    I won't argue on turner.  I'd note that Turner and Garver were both considered top college defenders (with Turner being the better defender).  I haven't heard any indication that Garver doesn't have the defensive chops.  I suspect he'll be better than Suzuki to be honest.  He won't be Molina back there, but he should be at least an average defender.  His bat is the question.  he put up an .880 OPS on low A ball his first full year, but hasn't been nearly as good since.  He got off to a horrible start in high A last year before heating up and finishing with reasonably respectable numbers (an OPS just shy of .700).  That's not bad for a catcher.  He got off to a much better start in AA this season, so I'm hoping that he figures it out later this year and posts an OPS north of .700.  My biggest concern is that his K and BB rates have moved in the wrong direction as he's moved up the chain.

     

    BTW, just a note, but this is why we shouldn't put too much stock in Lamont Wade's numbers.  I'm glad he's doing what he's doing, but the real test for him will be high A and AA.  Garver is a good example on how a college player can beat up low A.

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    No way. I don't get the dislike for Turner and Garver. They are good prospects. He is a good prospect, but I doubt he is likely as good add the other two. They have already been good against much better competition. Good pick, though.

     

    Depends on the definition of "prospect" and each individual's  criteria. I think that in terms of ceiling, it's Rortvedt and it's not particularly close. But I think that, at least to some degree, proximity to MLB is a factor too. I'd probably have Garver ahead of him for now, though by the end of the year, I'd guess Rortvedt would be higher. 

     

    Garver and Turner will (probably) be big leaguers... Rortvedt may never get to AA. Nature of Propsects and prospect lists.

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    I know Wisconsin isn't a hot bed for ML talent, but this pick intrigues me more than our 1st rounder.

     

    And I like Garver as a catching prospect. Guy is quality behind the dish from all reports and he can hit, and has potential with the bat. Let's not forget, catcher is generally not an offensive position. Secondly, catchers don't tend to be fast rise prospects the way Mauer was.

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     Secondly, catchers don't tend to be fast rise prospects the way Mauer was.

     

    This times a million.  Catchers are some of the hardest to get ready for the big leagues, and a lot of it is defense.  Mauer spoiled us in many ways.  I wouldn't expect to see him any time soon.  If we're really lucky, he's in Cedar Rapids next year, but EST is a very real possibility. 

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