3. Mitch Garver
This may be the biggest surprise on the list given he probably won’t receive as much playing time compared to the rest. Nevertheless, Mitch Garver is currently locked in as the backup catcher to Jason Castro at the moment. If that holds true, he is in line to play plenty of games considering he’ll be the primary backup to Castro and has the ability to play multiple positions.
Of course, the Twins could look to give the role to a veteran catcher, considering they may want to give Garver extensive playing time at catcher. In the minors, he definitely would receive playing time as a starting catcher. In fact, he won the 2017 Minor League Player of the Year award, so he’s quite the contributor for Triple-A Rochester.
Even so, Garver deserves to start the year with the big league club as he doesn’t have much else to prove in the minors. Last season, he finished with a .291 average along with 17 home runs and 45 RBIs in 88 games with Triple-A Rochester. Most impressively, Garver has turned into an adequate defensive presence behind the plate, something many didn’t expect from the 26-year-old. While he’ll never be a Yadier Molina, he’s capable of giving solid starts behind the plate.
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While Garver actually struggled at the plate in his first stint with the Twins last season, the batting should come around for the young catcher. In reality, Garver’s bat is his strength, so there’s reason to believe it’ll come around with more consistent at-bats in the big leagues. If he does start as the backup catcher, expect the Twins to still use his bat to their advantage. Particularly, he’s already played first base and outfield, so he could back up those positions, while also spending some time at designated hitter. In other words, there are ways for Garver to be involved in at least 77 games, the amount of games Gimenez played last season.
In the end, a breakout season from Garver would look different than it would from the rest on this list, but he has the opportunity to play a key role off the bench. Given his flexibility to play multiple positions and a solid bat, he should be used plenty by Paul Molitor, especially if they want to keep him from sitting on the bench for long periods of time. As matter of fact, if he continues improving defensively, don’t be surprised to see him eventually take over for Castro as the starting catcher.