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Minnesota lands another backstop, Garver, in ninth

Minnesota lands another backstop, Garver, in ninth

Minnesota lands another backstop, Garver, in ninth

With their ninth-round pick (No. 260 overall) in the First-Year Player Draft on Friday, the Twins selected college catcher Mitchell Garver.

Despite being named an All-American a year ago, New Mexico's Garver went undrafted as a junior. He returned to school and was regarded as one of the better college seniors in this year's Draft class.

Garver posted exceptional offensive numbers while at New Mexico, but scouts are concerned they have been inflated by the thin air and hitting environment of Albuquerque.

"He's not as good defensive catching -- he doesn't throw quite as well or receive quite as well -- but he's been pretty steady throughout his career," scouting director Deron Johnson said. "He's swung the bat well throughout his college career. We like his upside. He's going to be OK."

Garver has improved defensively in the last year, quieting most of the concerns about his ability to remain behind the plate as a professional. He is an average receiver with a solid arm. Garver has also played left field, but his bat profiles much better if he can catch.

There is no questioning Garver's commitment and durability. In his final three seasons at New Mexico, he played in every one of his team's games, capped with a 2013 campaign that saw him finish second on the team in batting average -- behind slugger D.J. Peterson -- and near the .400 mark (at .390). He also had 68 RBIs in his senior campaign.

In both 2012 and '13, Peterson and Garver shared Mountain West Conference co-Player of the Year honors.

Kelly Erickson is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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