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Reading Joe Mauer

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I know that hitters try to read pitchers. Do pitchers read hitters, too? I suppose they do, if they think they see something that indicates a hitter's intention.

Recently I've been watching Joe Mauer's at-bats, and I may have detected something that pitchers and catchers are using against him. It's common knowledge that Mauer wants to become more of a power hitter, turn on inside pitches, pull and lift them.

What I've noticed is that Mauer seems to be tipping off his intention to try pulling the ball. When he waggles the bat over his head, he's looking to pull it. I think when a catcher sees him doing that waggle, he instantly positions himself outside, so when Mauer tries to pull it, he can't do it effectively. Conversely, when Mauer holds the bat very still above his head, he is signalling that he's going to do his patented inside out swing down the third base line. When the catcher sees that, he positions himself inside, so Mauer has to get his hands inside and fight off the pitch.

Has anybody else noticed this tell? It may have something to do with Mauer's peculiar ineffectiveness this season. If it's true, then Mauer certainly is clever enough to reverse reverse his behavior, making the current tell useless. Waggle the bat, then hit the outside pitch to left field. Hold the bat still, then smash an inside pitch over the fence. Do that a couple times, and the joke will be over.
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  1. zchrz's Avatar
    Haven't noticed a waggle myself but I haven't been looking for one, interesting observation. I do think his struggles are coming from trying to change his approach and pull more, can't just erase tendencies and muscle memory like nothing. He does need to find a way to change though because that Mauer shift is rather effective.
  2. ashburyjohn's Avatar
    It's impossible to completely eliminate all the tells, once and for all, which is what makes the cat and mouse game fun for serious fans, even if they're hard to spot. Kudos if what you spotted holds up - although now that it's in the open like this (who doesn't read TD?) it's immediately changed.
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