With the yearly mid-season organization reviews completed, the next major project is a revised Top 100 prospects list, which I hope to have completed by September 1st. In the interim we need to catch up on our series of player profiles, taking a look today at Minnesota Twins rookie Mitch Garver.
The Twins promoted Garver to the major leagues on August 18th. He’s 2-for-11 so far, starting three games at first base and seeing an inning of action behind the plate in another contest. More on his defense in a moment.
He attended the University of New Mexico, where he was a very productive regular for four seasons, hitting .351/.421/.527 in 809 NCAA at-bats. Questions about his defense behind the plate and concerns about how his production would translate to wooden bats hurt his stock just a bit, dropping him to the ninth round of the 2013 draft.
Doubts about his bat were dispelled quickly: he hit .298/.398/.481 in the pitching-oriented Midwest League in 2014, then had another productive season in ‘16 with a .286/.388/.540 line between Double-A and Triple-A. Garver ranked 15th on the pre-season Minnesota Twins prospect list.
His 2017 season was the best yet: .291/.387/.541 with 17 homers, 50 walks, and 85 strikeouts in 320 at-bats for Triple-A Rochester. Although primarily a pull hitter early in his career, he’s gone to the opposite way more often this season without losing any power production. He’s also maintained a keen batting eye at every level.
Garver is a right-handed hitter, listed 6-1, 220, born January 15th, 1991. When he was drafted most scouts felt Garver would end up as a first baseman/DH, but his glove has turned out to be one of his better attributes.
He’s evolved into a steady receiver with a low error rate, acceptable passed ball ratios, and the ability to manage the pitching staff. His arm is just average in strength but is accurate, catching 31% of runners in Triple-A and 36% over his minor league career. He can also play first base and left field, although he needs more reps at both positions.
Although he’s an older prospect at age 26, Garver’s combination of power, strike zone judgment, and solid defense behind the plate should give him a substantial career.