27-year old lefty swinging Joe Mauer is an outstanding all around catcher for the Twins. Mauer played in 137 games for the Twins last season and he was 167 of 510 (.327 avg, .871 OPS) with 88 runs scored, 9 homers, 75 RBIs and 1 stolen base. Mauer’s power was down but he kept his average up which he will be expected to do once again in 2011. In his 7 years with the Twins, Mauer has won three batting titles, 1 MVP Award, 4 Silver Sluggers, 3 Gold Gloves and he has been a A.L. All-Star 4 times. Look for him to add to his trophy case in 2011. Mauer only made 3 errors and he had 4 passed balls in 112 games behind the plate for the Twins last season. He threw out 15 of 72 (20.8%) runners trying to steal on him last season and Twins’ pitchers had a 3.82 ERA with him behind the dish. Mauer will be the best catcher in the A.L. once again in 2011.
27-year old righty swinging Drew Butera will be Mauer’s backup and he is a great field, no hit type of catcher. Butera played in 49 games for the Twins last season and he was 28 of 142 (.197 avg, .533 OPS) with 12 runs scored, 2 homers and 13 RBIs. Butera is a hacker at the plate as he only walked 4 times last season so don’t expect hit batting average to rise any time soon. Butera had 5 errors and 4 passed balls in 47 games behind the plate so he has some things defensively that he needs to improve on. Butera threw out 14 of 37 (37.8%) runners trying to steal against him last season and Twins’ pitchers had a 4.10 ERA with him behind the plate. The Twins hope that Butera brings up his batting average a tad this year.
31-year old righty swinging Steve Holm will likely get stashed at AAA for the Twins this year. Holm played in 82 games in AAA-ball last season and he was 56 of 228 (.246 avg, .725 OPS) with 34 runs scored, 4 homers, 37 RBIs and 1 stolen base. He is a solid defensive catcher as he only had 2 errors and 2 passed balls in 68 games behind the plate last season.
27-year old righty swinging Rene Rivera will also likely be stashed in AAA for the Twins in 2011. Rivera played in 44 games in AA+AAA-ball last season in which he was 47 of 162 (.290 avg, .824 OPS) with 16 runs scored, 7 homers and 28 RBIs. Rivera had 1 error and 4 passed balls in 27 games behind the plate in the minors last season.
PROJECTED GRADE FOR THE TWINS CATCHERS IN 2011: A