The Twins this offseason have, as noted in Monday's post, shed three catchers who have bounced between Triple A and the majors the past three years -- Eric Fryer, Chris Herrmann and Josmil Pinto. They also, during the season, moved Dan Rohlfing to the Mets organization.
This essentially clears the deck for the trio of catchers the Twins selected in the first nine rounds of the 2013 draft: Stuart Turner (3rd round), Brian Navarretto (6th round) and Mitch Garver (9th round).
Turner, who turns 24 next month, figures to be the primary catcher at Triple A next year. He didn't hit much at Double A Chattanooga (.223 batting average with a .306 slugging percentage), and he didn't hit much the two previous years either. Drew Butera is probably a good comp to him: the defensive chops to catch in the major leagues, not enough bat to be a useful regular.
Garver can expect to move up a rung to Chattanooga. He'll turn 25 in January. He has shown a good bat in the past, but his production fell off notably when he moved from Low A Cedar Rapids to High A Fort Myers. That's not a plus, obviously, but some decline is always likely with that transition because Fort Myers is a notoriously difficult hitting environment, while CR is one of the more hitter-friendly venues in the Midwest League. Anyway: Garver is certainly a better hitter than Turner, and also said to be weaker behind the dish, He's also been consistently old for his level of competition.
Navarretto was the one high schooler of the three, which is why he's a level behind the other two. He turns 21 next month. He will probably be the No. 1 catcher for Fort Myers. What he showed in Cedar Rapids was an excellent throwing arm and a weak stick -- .217/.256/.281. I happened to witness one of his two homers.
If there's a major league regular in that trio, my money's on Navarretto, but that's strictly on the basis of his youth, But the Twins can't count on any of the three emerging, which is part of why they traded for John Ryan Murphy. I think it likely that Murphy will split time with Kurt Suzuki in 2016, then become the regular in 2017, perhaps with Turner as the backup
I also think it likely that the Twins will be targeting catchers again in the 2016 draft.