Opening Day is tomorrow (HOLY CRAP – OPENING DAY IS FINALLY TOMORROW!!!!!) and we continue our preview of each position with a look at the catching corps.
The Presumed Starter:
Joe Mauer Willians Astudillo Jason Castro
Although his season was shortened last year by injury, the veteran Jason Castro is back at full health and will get the nod to be the primary catcher this season for our Minnesota Twins. Joining the Twins in 2017, Castro played in 110 games, hitting to a .242/.333/.338 triple-slash with 10 HR and 47 RBI, before his injury-shortened 2018 campaign yielded only 19 games with a .143/.257/.238 line with a homer and 3 RBI.
Castro comes into the 2019 season on the last year of a three-year, $24.5 million contract with the Twins. Depending on how the Twins view the future of its catching staff, Castro may find himself with reduced playing time, splitting that time with Mitch Garver. Baseball-Reference projects Castro to hit .222/.309/.370 with 7 dingers and 27 RBI in 278 plate appearances, which is about 93 games (give or take).
The Bench Guys: Mitch Garver, Willians Astudillo
Garver took over primary catching duties last year after Castro’s season was lost, catching in 86 games and playing in 102 games total, batting .268/.335/.414 with 7 HR and 45 RBI, garnering 0.9 bWAR. As mentioned earlier, Garver could see about the same amount of time behind the plate as Castro, gaining more experience as Castro potentially leaves and hands the full-time reins over Garver for the foreseeable future. Baseball-Reference predicts Garver hitting 9 HR and 45 RBI en route to a .254/.325/.407 batting line in 373 plate appearances (about 124 games).
Fan-favorite Astudillo will potentially see time behind the plate as well. Even though he is considered a general infield/outfield utilityman, Astudillo’s main position is catcher, which is where he played 16 games last season, among some games at second base, third base, left field, center field, DH, and even on the mound. He batted to a .355/.371/.516 line in 29 games last season, hitting three homers and notching 21 RBI. Baseball-Reference sees Astudillo at the plate 249 times (about 83 games), batting .279/.335/.438 with 7 HR, 35 RBI, and even two stolen bases!
Tomorrow, the grandest day of the year, we’ll take a look at the Twins pitching staff!
How do you feel about the Twins’ catching crew this year?
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