Last week, we began to look at the Minnesota Twins organizational depth by looking at all of the outfielders
and then all of the infielders
in the in the system. Today, we return and take a look at all of the catchers. As with all spring trainings, a lot of catchers are needed just to catch bullpens and to allow players to gradually work up to squatting for nine innings.
As we have done in the previous articles, we will consider which players may fill the rosters of the Twins minor league affiliates. Of course, this is all just an educated guess. As Iíve said, any of this could be altered by an unexpected free agent signing or a trade. For instance, if the Twins sign a big bat for their bench, the odds of a third catcher with the big league roster drops significantly. Sadly, not all of these players will remain in the organization beyond spring training. Some may wind up on the Disabled List. Others may find themselves looking for another job in baseball, or maybe not in baseball. Hopefully this list will remind you of which players are in the organization.
So letís get to it. Here are the Catchers in the Minnesota Twins organization:
Joe Mauer, Ryan Doumit (DH), Drew Butera
In 2012, Manager Ron Gardenhire seemed to find the perfect mix among his catchers. Joe Mauer started 72 games behind the plate, 30 games at first base and DHed most of the other games on his way to career highs in games played and plate appearances. Ryan Doumit was the teamís primary DH, but he also started 52 games behind the plate as well as played some in the outfield. Having them in the lineup most days meant that Drew Butera was rarely a starter, just 27 games all season. Although Joe Mauer will want to catch some more in 2012, hopefully they will be able to maintain a similar balance and keep his bat in the lineup most days. Doumit also was able to stay healthy which will be important to the 2013 Twins. Butera remains the teamís third catcher, although it is possible he will being 2013 in Rochester, as he did a year ago.
Rochester Red Wings
Chris Herrmann, Eric Fryer, Danny Lehmann
Chris Herrmann debuted with the Twins in mid-September after thinking his season was complete. He was able to record his first Major League hit, but he has had a rough spring training and will begin his first season in Triple A. The hope would be that heíll hit a little bit and continue to improve his defense. He should also play some in the outfield and take over the third catcher role for the Twins by mid-season. Fryer is a 27-year-old backstop who has eight big league hits over the past two seasons. Lehmann is generally considered the top defensive catcher in the Twins system. Heís Butera without quite the arm.
New Britain Rock Cats
Josmil Pinto, Dan Rohlfing
Rohlfing has had a very nice showing in big league camp this year. Of his four hits, two are doubles and one is a home run. He is an athletic catcher who plays left field well. He has also done well in his time at first base in the past week of spring training. Pinto had a breakout season in Ft. Myers in 2012 and ended it with a nice showing in his brief time with New Britain. For his efforts, the Twins re-signed him as a minor league free agent and then added him to the 40 man roster.
Ft. Myers Miracle
Kyle Knudson, Matt Koch, Jairo Rodriguez
Kyle Knudson was invited to spring training after splitting 2012 between Beloit and Ft. Myers. For the first time since signing with the Twins after being drafted out of the University of Minnesota, he is healthy. Matt Koch started out the 2012 strong with the Beloit Snappers. He did a nice job behind the plate and also was the teamís DH sometimes. Jairo Rodriguez was the #2 catcher most of the year in Beloit a season ago.
Cedar Rapids Kernels
Jhonatan Arias, Tyler Grimes, Bo Altobelli, Bryan Santy
Arias played primarily for Beloit in 2011, but he returned to Elizabethton in 2012 and finally put up some good offensive numbers. Grimes is likely to spend his third straight year (including his drafted year) in the Midwest League. However, he transitioned to catcher during the instructional league after the 2012 season and will continue to play there in 2013. Altobelli and Santy were both late round 2012 draft picks from colleges.
Extended Spring Training/Short-Season
Kelly Cross, Brian Compton, Jorge Fernandez, Joel Polanco, Michael Quesada (Suspended)
Kelly Cross will be entering his fourth season in the organization. He spent two years in the GCL, and did move up to Elizabethton and played a little last year. He will have to take some major strides in 2013. Jorge Fernandez was a Twins draft pick in 2012 out of Puerto Rico. He has a chance to be solid, but patience will be needed. Brian Compton was signed a year ago for depth in the GCL and likely remains through EST for the same. Polanco is a 20-year-old who spent the last two seasons in the Dominican Summer League. Last year, he hit .254/.369/.381 (.749) with 15 doubles. He also threw out 56% of would-be base stealers. Quesada was drafted in 2010, and in 2012 made his first appearances in Elizabethton. Unfortunately, he received a 50 game suspension and he will need to serve that into the Elizabethton season, which will start in late June.
1.) Chris Herrmann, 2.) Dan Rohlfing, 3.) Jorge Fernandez,
Fortunately the Twins have Joe Mauer locked up for the next half-dozen years. Ryan Doumit is likely to be around for two more seasons. Chris Herrmann is close and can fill a utility/catcher role for several years. Beyond that, there is not much in terms of upside catching prospects in the Twins system.
If you have any further questions, please feel free to leave your thoughts in the Comments Section!