July 16: Scans have revealed a slight fracture in Jeffers’ thumb, per MLB.com’s Do-Hyoung Park (via Twitter). The Twins backstop will require 6-to-8 weeks for the thumb to heal. The Twins will forge ahead with Sanchez and Hamilton as their catching tandem for the time being.
July 15: The Twins announced they’ve selected catcher/infielder Caleb Hamilton onto the big league roster, just minutes before tonight’s game against the White Sox. Ryan Jeffers lands on the 10-day injured list due to a right thumb contusion in a corresponding move. Minnesota already had a 40-man roster vacancy.
Hamilton, 27, reaches the major leagues for the first time. He entered pro ball as a 23rd-round draftee out of Oregon State University in 2016. Hamilton has spent six-plus seasons progressing up the minor league ladder, first reaching Triple-A in 2019 and logging the past few years in the upper minors. He’s spent this season with their top affiliate in St. Paul, hitting .252/.387/.491 with a massive 18% walk rate. He’s already set a personal-high with ten home runs across 194 plate appearances.
That breakout showing has come with a fair bit of swing-and-miss, as Hamilton has gone down on strikes in 27.8% of his trips to the dish. That’s been a concern throughout his professional tenure. Still, his combination of plate discipline, catching ability and this season’s improved power output will get him a look behind Gary Sánchez on the big league club.
Jeffers is having a decent third season in the majors. The 25-year-old backstop owns a .214/.291/.375 line across 214 plate appearances. That isn’t eye-popping offensive output, but it’s a bit better than this season’s .224/.293/.363 league average for catchers. Jeffers’ greater value is in what he’s provided behind the dish, as he’s a well-regarded defender who has rated favorably by Statcast’s pitch framing metrics this year.