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Thread: Mitch Garver - 2014

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    Mitch Garver - 2014

    A belated Adopt-a-Prospect for Mitch Garver. I figured that the leading offensive threat for a Twins affiliate deserves a thread here after 1.5 months of baseball.

    Name: Mitch Garver
    Position: C (also 1B and DH)
    Birthday: January 15, 1991
    Birthplace: Albuquerque, NM
    College: University of New Mexico (4 yrs)
    Height/Weight: 6'1", 220 lbs
    Bats: R
    Throws: R

    Garver was picked by the Twins in the 9th round of last year's Amateur Draft in their blitz for battery components. The Twins' article on him after the draft describes him as an offense-first catcher, who struggled behind the plate in his early time at New Mexico. During that time, his ability with the bat was dismissed by MLB scouts as inflated by the league and the thin southwestern air. This resulted in him not being drafted until 2013 despite being named an All-American.

    The most promising aspect of Garver's game, in my humble opinion, is his durability. He reportedly started every game at New Mexico for three seasons straight. With Garver, the Twins drafted an offense-first counterbalance to the defense-first approach of their other college-level catcher from the first 10 rounds of that draft (Stuart Turner).

    Now halfway through May, Garver has put up some of the Kernels' best numbers at the plate, though he is admittedly old for the level. He has flirted with the Twins organization minor-league lead for OPS, largely as a result of a very healthy OBP and a more than healthy SLG. He is outpacing his numbers at Elizabethton from last year by a large margin (OPS .890 vs. .679), though in my unprofessional opinion, his current pace fits his college pedigree slightly better. He may be due for a little regression. Looking at BABIP, he is currently at .318, whereas he ended last year at .276. His true ability is somewhere in between... and I'll hope for/guess at .800. With respectable K% and BB%, he may be able to earn a second-half promotion depending on whether or not the Twins decide a switch needs to be made with the struggling catchers in Ft. Myers (though their BABIP numbers are also unsustainably low).

    Defensively, he has split time roughly 50/50 between C and DH, with 3 games at 1B. With so few games in the field, an account from someone who has been down to Cedar Rapids lately might be indicative of whether he's carried over his reported improvements from his senior season at New Mexico.

    Looking to the future, Garver will hopefully continue his pace as he and Haar currently comprise the new-look Kernels' offensive engine after last year's promotions.

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    And current season statistics from Bbref:

    Year Age AgeDif Tm Lg Lev Aff G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS TB GDP HBP SH SF IBB
    2013 22 1.5 Elizabethton APPY Rk MIN 56 225 202 16 49 15 2 2 30 0 0 19 31 .243 .313 .366 .679 74 4 2 1 1 1
    2014 23 1.5 CedarRapids MIDW A MIN 33 134 116 18 33 10 1 5 22 2 0 14 24 .284 .373 .517 .890 60 4 3 0 1 0
    2 Seasons 89 359 318 34 82 25 3 7 52 2 0 33 55 .258 .335 .421 .757 134 8 5 1 2 1




    Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
    Generated 5/14/2014.

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    Garver started the year on fire, posting a 1.041 OPS in 92 PAs during April. Since then, he has cooled down. His May OPS sits at .629 in 79 PAs with a week left in the month. On the season, he is now .248/.374/.473.

    All facets of his game are hurting compared to the previous month, but none so much as his slugging. Dropping from .628 to .300 SLG will bring you back to earth fast.

    Still, Garver should be able to turn this around. He hasn't strung together any streaks of hitless games since a four-game stretch to start May.

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    Senior Member All-Star Willihammer's Avatar
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    Started June strongly: 3-4 with an HR. Batting line sits at .304/.388/.492

    Should we expect Garver to displace Knudson at New Britain soon?

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    Garver is on an eight-game hitting streak, and turned things around in the second half of May with batting lines that look more like his blazing start. He has pulled his OPS back up to .880, and was able to add almost 100 points to his May OPS during the last few series of the month.

    He is old for the level, and seems to be dominating the MWL pitchers. Not sure who is most ripe for replacement in the levels above. Fortunately for Garver (or unfortunately for the farm teams), there are only two Twins organization catchers with an OPS >.700: Garver and Herrmann.

    Not sure if they'd have him jump two levels, but as suggested by Willihammer, Knudson has looked especially inept, sporting an OPS under Garver's SLG. The only thing that could hold him back is any remaining worries about his defense behind the plate. He's played <50% of games in catcher's gear, though I'm not sure if it's due to lack of defensive chops, or just how Mauer decided to split time between catchers.

    On a personal note, the excitement of an adopted prospect's possible promotion is palpable. Hoping to go 2/2 on Kernels prospects!

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    Over the last week, Garver has cooled a bit, but continues to get on base most nights. He is second on the Kernels' HR leaderboard with 7 (to Haar's 8), last hitting one out on June 1st. Fangraphs has him at a wRC+ of 147, and his batting stands .299/.396/.472 on the season. Over the last 7 days, he's .211/.423/.211.

    His defensive time has been split 28/27/4 games played at C, DH, and 1B, respectively.

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    Garver has been keeping up his great pace from earlier this month. If my count is correct, he has reached base in 24 straight games (May 20th). In 57 June PAs, Garver is hitting .356/.491/.489. That's right, he has gotten on base in roughly half his PAs this month. On the season, he has an OBP of .404, only 3 points behind the organizational leader, Debinson Romero. His discipline has seemingly gotten better throughout the year, though his power has dropped significantly after his 5 HR April. Since then, he has hit one on May 26 and one on June 1.

    On the defensive front, he has gotten a slight bump in playing time behind the plate, but still spends a significant number of games at DH. In 31 games at catcher, he has allowed 7 PB, 26 SB, and caught 11 would-be base stealers, good for a 30% CS%. He has been charged with 2 errors while playing catcher. (Also has 2 E at 1B, but he has only played 4 games there).

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    Senior Member All-Star Willihammer's Avatar
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    Garver with a HR, a double, and a bunch of walks in the past week. Batting .310/.411/.488 on the season

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    Quote Originally Posted by Willihammer View Post
    Garver with a HR, a double, and a bunch of walks in the past week. Batting .310/.411/.488 on the season
    Sounds like I ought to mention the lack of recent HRs more often!

    I should also point readers to the great summary of the Twins organizational batting leaderboards that Seth posted earlier. Spoiler alert: Garver has surged back to the top of many categories, about where he was when I adopted him back in mid-May.

    Still hoping for a promotion in the near-future. It'd be great for Garver to be able to join that playoff-bound Ft. Myers team!

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    Should have mentioned earlier that Garver last played on the 24th of June having been placed on the 7-day DL after the game. It appears that he was dealing with concussion-like symptoms. Presumably, the Twins organization will use caution in deciding when he is fully prepared to resume catching.

    In his absence, Bryan Haar has taken full ownership of slugging duties for the Kernels.

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    Garver made his return to the Kernels on the 5th of July and proceeded to hit in 7 straight games. His hitting streak ended yesterday, but he did take a walk and score a run. It appears that the Kernels' catching-heavy roster enabled the management to ease Garver back into catching duties. He only caught 3 of his last 8 games. Before his concussion, he had started to take a much larger share of the catching duties than he had in the beginning of the season. He has played 38/35/4 games at C/DH/1B.

    Garver's June (OPS .997) nearly matched his ridiculous April (OPS 1.041). His post-DL numbers look good as he's hit .303/.361/.364 in July. I think the power will come around once he shakes the rust.

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    Report from the farm is that Garver smashed 3 long ones today vs. Ft. Wayne for 5 RBI. Going into the game, he had 4 HR in the last 90 days, so he was due for a power surge, but I'm not sure anyone expected it to all come in one game (except for perhaps Mr. Nygaard who is taking all the credit on Twitter)!

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    Quote Originally Posted by TheDean View Post
    Report from the farm is that Garver smashed 3 long ones today vs. Ft. Wayne for 5 RBI. Going into the game, he had 4 HR in the last 90 days, so he was due for a power surge, but I'm not sure anyone expected it to all come in one game (except for perhaps Mr. Nygaard who is taking all the credit on Twitter)!
    Garver and Swim have really been hitting well lately... Although he didn't have any hits today, Swim is hitting .341 with an .809 OPS... Garver is hitting .303...
    Last edited by gmarais66; 07-21-2014 at 03:37 PM.

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    wouldn't mind taking another trip down to Cedar Rapids this summer. Nice town, fun neighborhood ballpark, and some hotter prospects than when i visited earlier.

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    For those curious, yes even after over half a season of baseball, you can drastically raise your OPS overnight. Garver went from .849 before yesterday's game to .886 today. The wonders of 5 PAs at a 3.000 OPS clip

    Until yesterday's game I was going to say that Garver had been putting in work but hadn't been hitting the lights out over the last week or two. A 3 HR night certainly changes how you look at recent performances, and I think Garver clearly has the tools to put the MWL past him whenever an opportunity opens up in the FSL.

    Garver has retaken his position atop the Twins organization OPS leaderboard (>150 PAs) from Reynaldo Rodriguez. Other contenders include Vargas, Romero, and Kanzler. With more PAs, the Rookie-league guys, Buxton, Hicks, and Herrmann would be up there too.

    Age AgeDif Tm G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS GDP HBP
    23 1.5 CedarRapids 85 355 307 50 93 20 1 12 61 5 4 38 50 .303 .394 .492 .886 6 9




    Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
    Generated 7/22/2014.

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