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Minnesota Twins Prospects: Catcher
- Updated: January 10, 2017
With spring training still a month and a half away, I felt it was time to start looking at the prospects in the Minnesota Twins organization.
First up will be Catcher. The Minnesota Twins for years, well up until Joe Mauer switched to playing first base, was set at this position. After Kurt Suzuki left at the conclusion of 2016, the Twins were left with a hole and decided to dip into free agency, and sign pitch-framer Jason Castro multi-year deal. Castro doesn’t quite have the offense, but he is regarded as a good defensive catcher and can help improve the Twins pitching staff which certainly would be welcomed.
Backing up Castro will be John Ryan Murphy who the Twins got in the trade with the New York Yankees during the 2015 offseason. Murphy was decent in his seasons in the minor leagues, but hasn’t really been given a chance to take the reigns. With Castro in the mix it isn’t likely to happen anytime soon.
1. Mitch Garver (Triple-A, Rochester)
2016 Statistics (Double-A, Triple-A) – .270 AVG, .764 OPS, 30 2B, 12 HR, 74 RBI, .994 FLD%
Garver was drafted in the ninth round of the 2013 draft, after spending four years playing for the University of New Mexico. He started his professional career playing for the Rookie League Elizabethton Twins. Over the course of the next two seasons, Garver made his way through the Twins system stopping at Triple-A Rochester last year. He will turn 26 next week so he is a little on the older as far as prospects are concerned, but that will happen when you play out your collegiate career. Garver has a good chance to make it to the Twins at some point in 2017.
2. A.J. Murray (Class-A Advanced, Fort Myers)
2016 Statistics (A-Full, A-Adv) – .238 AVG, .699 OPS, 25 2B, 2 3B, 10 HR, 49 RBI, .989 FLD%
Murray was orignally drafted by the Houston Astros in the 48th round in 2011, but decided to attend the Georgia Institute of Technology. The Twins picked him up in the 14th round in 2015 and assigned him to Elizabethton. Last season, Murray spent time at two different levels ending up in Class-A Advanced playing for the Fort Myers Miracle. In 55 games in the Florida State League he hit .209 with four homeruns. His offense struggled a bit at the higher level as well as his ability to throw out runners, but his defense improved.
3. Brian Olson (Triple-A, Rochester)
2016 Statistics (4 Levels) – .216 AVG, .599 OPS. 11 2B, 13 RBI, .991 FLD%
Olson had a up and down 2016 literally. He was promoted and demoted, but ended up in Triple-A for the last part of the season. He was the Twins 34th round pick in 2015 out of Seattle University. Olson isn’t really known yet for being an offensive threat, but appears to be pretty good behind the plate. He has thrown out 36% of baserunners over his two seasons of professional baseball.
4. Ben Rortvedt (Rookie, Elizabethton)
2016 Statistics (2 levels) – .222 AVG, .559 OPS, 3 2B, 10 RBI, .989 FLD%
The only one of the catchers in the Twins organization to be named to their top prospects list. MLB.com has him listed at #8 of 30 for the team. Minnesota selected the Wisconsin native in the second round of the 2016 draft. Scouting reports suggest that Rortvedt was drafted for his offensive upside although he struggled a little in that department. He has been compared to the Miami Marlins J.T. Realmuto, but the 19-year old still has plenty of time to get to that point.
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