Minnesota Twins backstop Mitch Garver displayed some nice pop last year, and that is probably an understatement. In 93 games last year, he hit .273 with an impressive 32 home runs. He’s always had the propensity to be a nice power bat overall, not even just for a catcher, as he hit 16 home runs in Single-A back in 2014, and he smacked 17 four-baggers in 88 games at the Triple-A level. Garver is an intriguing fantasy asset here in 2020, because he carries elite upside at a position that needs it, and he has the potential to lead the position in home runs, while coming substantially after some of his biggest competitors within that one category. However, Minnesota has a lot of bodies that they could fill in, but at least at the start of the year, Garver should be “the man” and given every opportunity to be a workhorse behind the dish. Perhaps the bigger question, is what kind of numbers can we expect from Garver offensively?

First and foremost, the power is legit. Hitting 32 home runs is exceptional, especially for a catcher and the fact that he did it in just 93 games. Sure, he rode a whopping 29 percent HR/FB rate and that likely drops a bit in 2020, but will it be substantial? I don’t think it will be as large as a drop as many expect. He’s in a great lineup in a good offensive park and no catcher had a higher average exit velocity on line drives and fly balls than Garver, per Baseball Savant. Essentially, when Garver lofted the baseball, he was making LOUD contact.

Also, there were only six players in baseball last season who posted a higher exit velocity on line drives and fly balls than Garver. Six. That’s it. Exceptional. That is why I don’t think that HR/FB ratio is going to drop too much. Yes, it’s not going to be 29 percent again, but even if it drops down to the 22-25 percent range, he’s going to get more at-bats this season, so his home run total should remain lofty.

What is his average going to look like? Well, it won’t be .273 again. I firmly believe that. He is a heavy pull hitter that could see the shift a bit more here in 2020, especially if teams look at the same spray chart that I have analyzed. However, his .277 BABIP isn’t exceptional by any means, and his xBA of .256 last year showcases that despite the prolific power he displayed, he shouldn’t have been a .273 hitter. Now, my caveat with this, is that if Garver continues to make hard contact and loft the ball, perhaps he can continuously beat his expected statistics. I like the sound of that.

However, his wOBA was actually higher against the shift last year, so maybe they won’t. It will be interesting how teams approach it in 2020.

Additionally, Garver struggled with non-fastballs last year. He absolutely abused fastballs, but the secondary stuff gave him some fits. As the year went on, you can see from chart below that pitchers started throwing him less fastballs, which is what likely happens here in 2020.

Garver hit .341 on fastballs last year, compared to just .186 and .174 on breaking and offspeed stuff respectively. Also, Garver hit .321 against lefties last year, and just .249 against righties. However, Alex Avila is the primary backup, and he’s nothing more than a once per week option for this team. Willians Astudillo could work in as well, given his ability to hit for a solid average, but this has the makings of Garver’s position, and the more at-bats for him the better for us fantasy owners investing in him.

Any improvements against non-fastballs will only help offset a drop in batting average, and as long he maintains his 96th percentile, or better, marks in barrel and hard hit rate, he has a legitimate path to hitting the most home runs at his position in 2020. With Nelson Cruz in town, he loses out on the ability to get some days as the designated hitter, but it’s not a reason to ignore him by any means.

Garver is currently the fourth catcher off the board, per NFBC data at time of writing, coming after the Big 3, whom are J.T. Realmuto , Gary Sánchez and Yasmani Grandal . Also, his ADP has fluctuated a bit each month, but for the most part, he’s going in the 9th round of12-team formats.

November ADP


December ADP


January ADP


February ADP (through 2/22)


Courtesy of NFBC ADP Data

If you believe in his power production, which you should, cause it’s legit, he’s a fine investment this season. If you want to wait a couple of rounds, and draft someone like Will Smith , I certainly can’t blame you there either, considering he’s only half a tier down in terms of power and batting average. Outside of the big three at the position, Garver is one of my three preferred selections at the position, given that he should hit at least 20 home runs this season with a .250ish batting average.

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