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  • For Better Or Worse: Joe Mauer

    You only have two choices: will he be better or worse in 2013?

    2012 Recap
    Given the clustermess that was 2011, most Minnesota Twins fans would have been happy just to see Joe Mauer on the field last year. They did - kinda.

    Mauer not only stayed healthy, but set a career high with 647 plate appearances and 147 games played. However, exactly half of his starts were at catcher (72 games), with the rest happening at designated hitter (42 games) and first base (30 games). I'll leave you to debate how that impacts his value.

    What is not debatable is the he returned to being elite offensively. He was in the AL batting race until the last weekend. His .416 on-base percentage led the league. He hit double-digit home runs (albeit barely) for the first time since his MVP campaign. And he posted an 861 OPS, tops for AL catchers.

    Why He'll Be Worse
    Don't look now, but like a certain blogger, our boy Joe turns 30 this year. That's even more ominous because he was also remarkably healthy last year. Furthermore, so was Ryan Doumit, which meant Mauer's body had the luxury of rarely being forced into multiple consecutive starts. Finally, there is the whole regression to the mean thing - how long can we expect him to stay at this level?

    Why He'll Be Better
    Believe it or not, that 861 OPS he posted is below his career 873 average. So was his .319 batting average. He'll also be a year further away from the injury problems that torpedoed 2011. Finally, both he and the Twins seem to have found (and accepted) a recipe for keeping him healthy by moving him around the diamond a little.

    So which is it? Click on this link to see our official thread AND take the survey. Then leave us a comment saying why.


    This article was originally published in blog: For Better Or Worse: Joe Mauer started by John Bonnes
    Comments 35 Comments
    1. Kwak's Avatar
      Kwak -
      Worse. Opponents will "pitch around" him more frequently in key situations.
    1. SpantheMan's Avatar
      SpantheMan -
      he will improve
    1. Brock Beauchamp's Avatar
      Brock Beauchamp -
      Quote Originally Posted by Kwak View Post
      Worse. Opponents will "pitch around" him more frequently in key situations.
      And Joe will simply take more walks. If anything, that will improve everything except his counting stats (ie. the stuff that matters when evaluating a hitter).
    1. Badsmerf's Avatar
      Badsmerf -
      Another year removed from 2011, plus a healthy offseason means he will be better. I bet all his numbers increase with the exception of OBP due to being stronger and able to train better (like Morneau). I'm not sure how much better, but an OPS north or 900 wouldn't be too difficult for him. Add in that Doumit will get time in as catcher to keep him from breaking down. Now that the concrete has settled in TF there will also be more homeruns.....
    1. h2oface's Avatar
      h2oface -
      Watching Mauer get turned off at the end of the season, instead of Mauer turning it on and excelling, was just another disappointment to go with the rest last year. It was individual pressure, but he still wilted and didn't perform when the pressure was on. Wilted. The Twins need a Panda, a Scutaro, someone that comes up big at moneyball time. But for Joe, I always think he can be better. Didn't his dad so boldly say he would be the next .400 hitter? Only about a hundred times he said it. I also think the big huge guy that is now a man can poke the ball out of the park at least 30 times. Anybody that big can. So I think he will be better. I always think he will be better.
    1. ThePuck's Avatar
      ThePuck -
      Quote Originally Posted by h2oface View Post
      Watching Mauer get turned off at the end of the season, instead of Mauer turning it on and excelling, was just another disappointment to go with the rest last year. It was individual pressure, but he still wilted and didn't perform when the pressure was on. Wilted. The Twins need a Panda, a Scutaro, someone that comes up big at moneyball time. But for Joe, I always think he can be better. Didn't his dad so boldly say he would be the next .400 hitter? Only about a hundred times he said it. I also think the big huge guy that is now a man can poke the ball out of the park at least 30 times. Anybody that big can. So I think he will be better. I always think he will be better.
      Wilted? He batted .356/.464/.522 in September/Oct. It was his best month for OPS and his 2nd best month for BA.
    1. h2oface's Avatar
      h2oface -
      Quote Originally Posted by ThePuck View Post
      Wilted? He batted .356/.464/.522 in September/Oct. It was his best month for OPS and his 2nd best month for BA.
      How did he do the last 7 games.... after he was up to .326 on September 25th, and pressing for the title? That was when the pressure was on. He went "oh" fer five of the games, and 4/23 to slide to .319. I still think he will be better. Is it bad to always think someone with Joe's greatness will always be better? Those 7 games is like someone going 4/23 in the series. Granted, the rest of September got him to where he could be in a pressure situation.
    1. ThePuck's Avatar
      ThePuck -
      Quote Originally Posted by h2oface View Post
      How did he do the last 7 games.... after he was up to .326 on September 25th, and pressing for the title? That was when the pressure was on. He went "oh" fer five of the games, and 4/23 to slide to .319. I still think he will be better. Is it bad to always think someone with Joe's greatness will always be better? Those 7 games is like someone going 4/23 in the series. Granted, the rest of September got him to where he could be in a pressure situation.
      What pressure...you think he felt pressure? Pressure from what? A batting race? Dude already has 3 batting titles, so I doubt he was feeling too much pressure. It's not like he hadn't been there before. In 2 of those 3 years, the race was 4 or less points.

      He dropped a whole 4 points in BA his last 7 games. If he had gone the other way, 4 points up his last 7 games, he still misses the batting title.

      Your post looks like just another example of looking for stuff to complain about Mauer. Even though you go on to give him credit
    1. h2oface's Avatar
      h2oface -
      Quote Originally Posted by ThePuck View Post
      What pressure...you think he felt pressure? Pressure from what? A batting race? Dude already has 3 batting titles, so I doubt he was feeling too much pressure. It's not like he hadn't been there before.

      He dropped a whole 4 points in BA his last 7 games. If he had gone the other way, 4 points up his last 7 games, he still misses the batting title.

      Your post looks like just another example of looking for stuff to complain about Mauer.
      Let's see......... .326 at the end of the day on September 25, to .319 after the next and last 7 games is .......... .007. Seven points. I am not understanding this fuzzy arithmetic. You are a professed and talented stat man. No biggy. Yes. My answer is yes, I think anyone that has a fire and competitive edge about them, and it is well documented that Joe Mauer does in everything he "plays", would be feeling pressure to complete the surge and take the title. The sweetest title is the one you just won. It was about the only excitement for the Twins the whole season, to have Joe to watch down the stretch with a possible 4th title coming with his batting surge. Your posts on this thread look like just another example of defending someone that doesn't need defended. I still think Joe will be better next year.
    1. ThePuck's Avatar
      ThePuck -
      Quote Originally Posted by h2oface View Post
      Let's see......... .326 at the end of the day on September 25, to .319 after the next and last 7 games is .......... .007. Seven points. I am not understanding this fuzzy arithmetic. You are a professed and talented stat man. No biggy. Yes. My answer is yes, I think anyone that has a fire and competitive edge about them, and it is well documented that Joe Mauer does in everything he "plays", would be feeling pressure to complete the surge and take the title. The sweetest title is the one you just won. It was about the only excitement for the Twins the whole season, to have Joe to watch down the stretch with a possible 4th title coming with his batting surge. Your posts on this thread look like just another example of defending someone that doesn't need defended. I still think Joe will be better next year.
      I apologize...I went from the results after the 7th game, not the 8th game...that is totally my bad. I stand by the rest of what I had written though. Still don't see it as wilting. Still don't think he felt the pressure
    1. 70charger's Avatar
      70charger -
      Quote Originally Posted by h2oface View Post
      How did he do the last 7 games.... after he was up to .326 on September 25th, and pressing for the title? That was when the pressure was on. He went "oh" fer five of the games, and 4/23 to slide to .319. I still think he will be better. Is it bad to always think someone with Joe's greatness will always be better? Those 7 games is like someone going 4/23 in the series. Granted, the rest of September got him to where he could be in a pressure situation.

      Are you friggin' kidding me!? This whole idea is so stupid that I can barely get my head around it.

      1) You're basing your entire argument on 7 damn games? Law of large numbers; small sample size; etc. This is just dumb.
      2) You want clutch over consistent? Fine, I'll trade your fantasy team Pablo Sandoval for Joe Mauer straight up.
      3) He doesn't wilt under the pressure of batting races because he's, ya know, won three of the damn things.
      4) I can't. I'm done.
    1. h2oface's Avatar
      h2oface -
      Quote Originally Posted by 70charger View Post
      Are you friggin' kidding me!? This whole idea is so stupid that I can barely get my head around it.

      1) You're basing your entire argument on 7 damn games? Law of large numbers; small sample size; etc. This is just dumb.
      2) You want clutch over consistent? Fine, I'll trade your fantasy team Pablo Sandoval for Joe Mauer straight up.
      3) He doesn't wilt under the pressure of batting races because he's, ya know, won three of the damn things.
      4) I can't. I'm done.
      1. not an argument. i never try to or care to adjust anyone's opinion. just an observation and remembrance.
      2. i want clutch and consistent. i want it all. i don't do fantasy. but i believe in dreaming.
      3. this race had nothing to do with any other race. it was what it was, and the last seven games are history.
      4. you are.
    1. snepp's Avatar
      snepp -
      Derp, derpity derp-derp.
    1. StormJH1's Avatar
      StormJH1 -
      I have very little confidence that he'll be "better" in 2013 because, folks, 2009 Joe Mauer is not walking through that door anytime soon. It seems more likely that he'll be "worse", but not for performance reasons - the likelihood of him going a whole season without an injury of more than 2 weeks in duration seem relatively low.

      But if he plays and puts up the usual .300 BA, .800+ OPS and 10 HR's, then so be it. The ink is dry on his contract, and it is what it is. His durability issues and inability to be impact power bat in the middle of the lineup were a tough realization for 2010-12, but by they should be increasingly accepted as fact. That's just his game.
    1. Shane Wahl's Avatar
      Shane Wahl -
      I can see another two big seasons from Mauer where he outperforms 2012, but underperforms 2009. I would hope those seasons would be 2015 and 2016 when they have finally put the right people around him, but I suspect that 2015 might be the end of the great seasons from Mauer. Good for the rest of the contract, though.
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