It seems like so long ago when catcher was considered more of a defensive position. Nowadays it seems that you can expect offense from anyone on a team regardless their position on the field or even in the batting order. As we move along in our quest to naming award winners for offensive performance, this battle was a bit tougher than some of the rest. When it was all said and done, it was hard to look past the year Mitch Garver had for the Rochester Red Wings.
Garver led the catchers in the International League in almost every offensive category. He finished the season batting .291 which was close to the top for the position. His 17 home runs was good enough for ninth overall in the International League, and first for catchers. Garver was also top of the list when it came to his On Base Percentage (.387), Slugging Percentage (.541), and OPS which was a staggering .928.
For all of the numbers he put up in 2017, Mitch Garver is the recipient of the CNYB Top Offensive Catcher Award.
Garver was selected in the ninth round of the 2013 MLB draft out of the University of New Mexico. After playing four years there the Twins placed him in the Rookie league playing for the Elizabethton Twins. From there he moved through Minnesota’s system quite nicely ending up in Triple-A Rochester in 2016. He has always shown that he is a good hitter, but 2017 seemed to be one of his best. Garver played 88 games for the Red Wings before getting the call to the big leagues by the Twins in the middle of August. He hit just .196 in his first attempt, but it is something grow on and look towards as 2017 ends and 2018 is around the corner.
The Minnesota Twins have been very fortunate over the last decade plus with the catcher position. They drafted some guy named Joe Mauer back in 2001 and he was the Twins backstop from his debut in 2004 until he switched to playing first base in 2013. Last offseason the Twins selected longtime Houston Astros catcher Jason Castro to hold the fort behind the plate.
With Castro signed through 2019, it would seem that Garver would start out playing in Triple-A again. If he continues to produce the way he did in 2017, a return to Target Field is definitely a possibility.