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TwinsCentric: Organizational depth chart -- catchers

Posted by: Seth Stohs Updated: January 7, 2014 - 8:52 AM

Over the next couple of weeks, I’ll be taking a look at the depth by position throughout the Minnesota Twins organization. The majority of moves have been made. There could be some minor league signings coming and there remains rumors of the Twins still bringing in another starting pitcher.

Today I will start with the catcher position. It has been a busy, rather interesting offseason for the Twins catching position. The first news came in early November when the Twins and Joe Mauer announced that the All Star would be moving to first base permanently. In mid-December, the Twins traded Ryan Doumit to the Atlanta Braves, and a few days later they signed veteran Kurt Suzuki to a one-year deal. Here is a look at the catchers in the Twins system.

The Big Leaguers

Most would likely agree with the decision of Joe Mauer to move to first base, but it would be naïve to believe that anyone will really be able to step into his shoes. Mauer has been the guy behind the plate for a full decade. He’s won multiple Gold Gloves, Silver Sluggers and batting titles.

Josmil Pinto put up some impressive numbers for the Twins in September after hitting well in AA and a handful of games in AAA. Most believe that he can be a solid hitter at the big leagues because of an advanced hitting approach. The questions about Pinto are clearly around his defense, and those concerns are legit.

Chris Herrmann got some time behind the plate in 2013. His value comes from taking quality at bats and versatility. Besides catcher, he can also play the outfield positions.

Eric Fryer is a 28 year old backstop. As poor as Pinto is behind the plate, Fryer is that good defensively.

The one given to be on the Twins 25-man roster on Opening Day (assuming health) is recently-signed Kurt Suzuki who is a solid, athletic defensive catcher. His decline came pretty early due to catching over 145 games two straight years early in his career.

The reality is that one of two scenarios will unfold. If Josmil Pinto has a strong spring training, he likely enters the season as the #1 catcher with Suzuki as his backup. (My assumption is that the Twins would love for this scenario to play out) However, if Pinto has a rough camp, or his defense shows no improvement, I believe that Suzuki will be the starter with Fryer as his backup.

Versatility 

Besides Herrmann, the Twins have a few other catchers in the organization who have the ability to move around the diamond, which increases their value.

Dan Rohlfing has been invited to big league camp each of the past three seasons. He has played the corner outfield positions as well as first base. In high school, he primarily played third base. Tyler Grimes made the move to catcher in 2013 after being a shortstop the first two years of his career. He was solid in his first year behind the plate, but he still got a few games at second base. Finally, Jorge Fernandez was drafted out of Puerto Rico in 2012 as a catcher. There is discussion that he could be moved to the outfield in 2014 as he is a very good athlete.

2013 Draft Picks

Maybe the Twins had an inkling that even if Mauer would not have moved to first base in 2014, it was coming in the near future. That may have been a reason that they chose to target some catching in the 2013 draft. They drafted three catchers in the first nine round.

Stuart Turner was the Twins 3rd round pick as a junior out of Ole Miss while Mitch Garver was their 9th round pick as a senior from New Mexico. They were two of the three finalists for the 2013 Johnny Bench Award, giving to the top catcher in college baseball. Turner was the winner. Turner is known for his defense, but he hit nearly .400 during his collegiate season. Alex Swim was a late round pick out of college. He was also a nominee for the Johnny Bench Award. The Twins used a 6th round pick to take prep catcher Brian Navarreto. He is a big athlete who has a chance to be the best of the bunch.

Prospect Rankings

As far as who the top catching prospects are in the system, it is clear that Josmil Pinto is head and shoulders above the rest of the group. Beyond that, Navaretto and Turner are guys that I rank in the 30s, and for very different reasons. Turner is a college catcher whose ceiling is solid starter. His floor is solid, long-term backup catcher. Navaretto has the world of potential, but he has a long ways to go.

Roster Projections

In each installment, I’ll make my roster projections. Obviously additional signings or injuries will affect all of this, and that’s why it is important to have more than just two or even three at each level. There are also always players put on the Disabled Lists. So again, most likely there won’t be four catchers at Cedar Rapids, but this gives an idea of who could be at each affiliate at the start of the season.

· Minnesota: Kurt Suzuki, Eric Fryer
· Rochester: Josmil Pinto, Chris Herrmann, Dan Rohlfing
· New Britain: Kyle Knudson, Matt Koch
· Fort Myers: Tyler Grimes, Jairo Rodriguez, Stuart Turner
· Cedar Rapids: Mitch Garver, Michael Quesada, Bo Altobelli, BK Santy
· Extended Spring Training: Jorge Fernandez, Brian Navaretto, Joel Polanco, Alex Swim

Feel free to discuss the players and the roster. Check Twins Daily later in the week again for a look at the depth for the Twins at another position.

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Chicago 17 FINAL
Detroit 34
Philadelphia 33 FINAL
Dallas 10
Seattle 19 FINAL
San Francisco 3
Cleveland 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Buffalo
Washington 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Indianapolis
Tennessee 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Houston
San Diego 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore
NY Giants 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Cincinnati 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Oakland 11/30/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis
New Orleans 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Pittsburgh
Carolina 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Minnesota
Arizona 11/30/14 3:05 PM
Atlanta
New England 11/30/14 3:25 PM
Green Bay
Denver 11/30/14 7:30 PM
Kansas City
Miami 12/1/14 7:30 PM
NY Jets
Edmonton 0 FINAL(OT)
Nashville 1
ULM 54 FINAL
Robert Morris 71
Santa Clara 57 FINAL
Tennessee 64
Oklahoma 59 FINAL
Butler 46
Austin Peay 79 FINAL
Brown 58
Princeton 56 FINAL
Texas-El Paso 62
Coastal Carolina 67 FINAL
Chattanooga 78
Kansas 76 FINAL
Rhode Island 60
Wisconsin 68 FINAL
Georgetown 65
FIU 53 FINAL
USC Upstate 68
Long Island 54 FINAL
Stony Brook 73
San Diego 71 FINAL
Xavier 82
Illinois 88 FINAL
Indiana State 62
Cal State Fullerton 67 FINAL
Wright State 62
Western Ky 62 FINAL
Saint Josephs 59
Michigan State 77 FINAL
Rider 45
UCLA 56 FINAL
North Carolina 78
Long Beach State 73 FINAL
Western Mich 55
Marquette 72 FINAL
Georgia Tech 70
Stephen F Austin 73 FINAL
Prairie View 61
UAB 47 FINAL
Florida 56
Rice 71 FINAL
Mercer 77
San Jose St 56 FINAL
Washington 78
Washington St 43 FINAL
UC Santa Barbara 71
Baylor 71 FINAL
Memphis 47
LSU 23 FINAL
Texas A&M 17
(6) TCU 48 FINAL
Texas 10
Northern Ill 10:00 AM
Western Mich
Nebraska 11:00 AM
Iowa
Western Ky 11:00 AM
(19) Marshall
UCF 11:00 AM
So Florida
Houston 11:00 AM
SMU
Akron 12:00 PM
Kent State
Ball State 12:00 PM
Bowling Green
Buffalo 12:00 PM
Massachusetts
Toledo 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
Arkansas 1:30 PM
(17) Missouri
Navy 2:00 PM
South Alabama
(13) Arizona State 2:30 PM
(12) Arizona
Stanford 2:30 PM
(9) UCLA
(21) Colorado State 2:30 PM
Air Force
Virginia 7:00 PM
Virginia Tech
East Carolina 7:30 PM
Tulsa
North Texas 11/29/14 11:00 AM
TX-San Antonio
Old Dominion 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Fla Atlantic
(16) Georgia Tech 11/29/14 11:00 AM
(8) Georgia
Kentucky 11/29/14 11:00 AM
(24) Louisville
So Carolina 11/29/14 11:00 AM
(23) Clemson
West Virginia 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Iowa State
Rice 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Louisiana Tech
Michigan 11/29/14 11:00 AM
(7) Ohio State
Purdue 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Indiana
Illinois 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Northwestern
Cincinnati 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Temple
NC State 11/29/14 11:30 AM
North Carolina
Syracuse 11/29/14 11:30 AM
Boston College
Louisiana 11/29/14 11:30 AM
Troy
Utah 11/29/14 12:00 PM
Colorado
Texas State 11/29/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Idaho 11/29/14 1:00 PM
Appalachian St
Wyoming 11/29/14 2:00 PM
New Mexico
New Mexico St 11/29/14 2:00 PM
Arkansas State
UAB 11/29/14 2:30 PM
Southern Miss
(4) Miss State 11/29/14 2:30 PM
(18) Ole Miss
Notre Dame 11/29/14 2:30 PM
USC
(10) Michigan State 11/29/14 2:30 PM
Penn State
(22) Minnesota 11/29/14 2:30 PM
(14) Wisconsin
(5) Baylor 11/29/14 2:30 PM
Texas Tech
Florida 11/29/14 2:30 PM
(1) Florida State
Rutgers 11/29/14 2:30 PM
Maryland
San Jose St 11/29/14 2:30 PM
San Diego St
Tennessee 11/29/14 3:00 PM
Vanderbilt
Kansas 11/29/14 3:00 PM
(11) Kansas State
Connecticut 11/29/14 3:00 PM
Memphis
BYU 11/29/14 3:30 PM
California
ULM 11/29/14 5:00 PM
Ga Southern
Middle Tennessee 11/29/14 6:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
Hawaii 11/29/14 6:00 PM
Fresno State
Wake Forest 11/29/14 6:00 PM
Duke
Pittsburgh 11/29/14 6:00 PM
Miami-Florida
(15) Auburn 11/29/14 6:45 PM
(2) Alabama
(3) Oregon 11/29/14 7:00 PM
Oregon State
Utah State 11/29/14 9:15 PM
(25) Boise State
Washington 11/29/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
Nevada 11/29/14 9:30 PM
UNLV
UCF 12/4/14 6:30 PM
East Carolina
Hamilton 11/30/14 5:00 PM
Calgary
Hartford 43 FINAL
Furman 53
Clemson 77 FINAL
Ohio State 86
Idaho State 53 FINAL
San Diego State 68
East Carolina 58 FINAL
(22) Syracuse 69
Santa Clara 0 Cancelled
Texas-El Paso 0
Florida State 68 FINAL
Washington 80
Wichita State 39 FINAL
Fla Gulf Coast 56
Wisconsin 44 FINAL
(1) South Carolina 67
Kansas State 0 Cancelled
LSU 0
BYU 73 FINAL
BYU-Hawaii 52
Charlotte 58 FINAL
Montana 67
Illinois 77 FINAL
(9) Kentucky 71
Central Michigan 61 FINAL
Richmond 56
Oklahoma 68 FINAL
South Florida 83
Princeton 72 FINAL
Wake Forest 55
(19) Oregon State 85 FINAL
Butler 53
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