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Thread: Article: Why is Joe Mauer Such a Lightning Rod?

  1. #301
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Brooks View Post
    I don't think Mauer is nearly the most frequently criticized Twin.
    Maybe Pelfrey or Pedro come close. But the point was your best player and worst two players should not be the most criticized.

  2. #302
    Twins Moderator MVP USAFChief's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DJL44 View Post
    Not thousands, they gave a minimum 1500 PAs, just a couple hundred. He's batting 150 points higher than league average. If he tried doing it more often he would be less successful at it.

    Is the biggest criticism anyone can come up with for Mauer is he's too picky swinging at the first pitch? That's not much of a criticism. He's very successful with his approach. It certainly doesn't explain why people whine so much.
    You're correct, hundreds.

    But I don't think either of us know what the result would be if he tried it more often. Your data suggests players, including Mauer, are very successful swinging at the first pitch, including those who do it often. Mauer bats almost .500 and SLGs almost .800 on the first pitch. It seems reasonable to at least consider the possibility he should try more of it.
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  3. #303
    Senior Member All-Star LaBombo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dman View Post
    I guess I don't understand why a walk would be less valuable than a single on the first pitch. Isn't the idea to make the pitcher work by taking pitches and then still get on base. If you ascribe to the theory of taking pitches which most teams do then isn't taking pitches more advantageous than not taking pitches? I am not sure I understand can you elaborate?
    That situation aside, a single is more valuable in general when considering only the offensive outcome. It moves non-consecutive baserunners and exploits the possibility of error.

    But the tangible cumulative effect that walks have on starters in the age of hard pitch counts can be devastating. Math avoiders, avert your eyes:

    Pitches/IP = 7.626 (K%) + 15.678 (BB%) + 13.518

    It's from Fangraphs, not the Bureau of Weights and Measures, but the methodology looks sound and it makes intuitive sense: If a starter walks lots of guys, pitch count will catch up to him even if runs allowed doesn't.

    Putting Mauer into the equation, his walk rate means that on average, a lineup of nine Mauers means the opposing starter will throw two more pitches per inning than if he put the ball in play. Big deal, right?

    Except that two more pitches per inning means that the average starter probably leaves the game an inning sooner. That's huge.

    Yes, I get that Mauer isn't single-handedly chasing starters. But adding to opposing starter pitch counts is a valuable and tangible skill.

  4. #304
    Quote Originally Posted by Sconnie View Post
    If only those stats were used in HOF voting...
    Those stats are created to measure HOF likliehood. Of the top 10 in WAR7 all are in the HOF or will be. Of the top 12 in JAWS only Thurmon Munson isnt or wont be and that has more to do with his general nastiness as a person and he died just prior to where Mauer is in his career.

    Thats what the stats try do...not guesswork....not subjectivity but who is actually in the HOF to work backward to who is worthy.

    So...yeah... objectivity trumps BS every single time

  5. #305
    Quote Originally Posted by USAFChief View Post
    You're correct, hundreds.

    But I don't think either of us know what the result would be if he tried it more often. Your data suggests players, including Mauer, are very successful swinging at the first pitch, including those who do it often. Mauer bats almost .500 and SLGs almost .800 on the first pitch. It seems reasonable to at least consider the possibility he should try more of it.
    It does not and I will say again the issue has been looked at objectively and there is no correlation to an improvement in offensive value by doing so.

    Even if he was a .400 hitter in every situation, swinging at 50% more often on first pitches the difference would be microscopic. There is very strong possibility, as in almost 100%, that if he did swing more often on 0-0 counts then he currently does that his OPS would drop to closer to his norm. Regression.....if it continued trending he would likely, as in almost 100%, hit worse then his current career norm.

    So...yeah about as much good as adjusting his cup.

    He hits well on 0-0 counts because he only swings when its a pitch he can do something with

  6. #306
    Senior Member All-Star LaBombo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Brooks View Post
    I don't think Mauer is nearly the most frequently criticized Twin.
    He's been their best player for ten years, so... darning with faint praise?

  7. #307
    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Brooks View Post
    So a fastball down the middle is not a strong, hittable pitch?
    Of course EVERY hitter lets hittable pitches go by. They guessed wrong, a mosquito buzzed their ear, they blinked. The point is that good hitters dont swing at crap. They liklihood that Mauer hits a first pitch strike hard somewhere is better then a poor hitter but that doesnt mean he is going to catch every meatball.

    Again....the issue has been looked at. Nothing your saying works out objectively when it is.



    /moderator action, inflammatory remark removed
    Last edited by snepp; 04-10-2014 at 10:56 PM.

  8. #308
    Someone asked earlier in the thread if there was any criticism that was legitimate.

    There is one, it may have been brought it up, but I didnt see it.

    Mauer's GIDP rate is probably higher then a hitter of his caliber should be. It does effect his offensive value and I think its one area of pretty legitimate concern,

  9. #309
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    Quote Originally Posted by LaBombo View Post
    That situation aside, a single is more valuable in general when considering only the offensive outcome. It moves non-consecutive baserunners and exploits the possibility of error.

    But the tangible cumulative effect that walks have on starters in the age of hard pitch counts can be devastating. Math avoiders, avert your eyes:

    Pitches/IP = 7.626 (K%) + 15.678 (BB%) + 13.518

    It's from Fangraphs, not the Bureau of Weights and Measures, but the methodology looks sound and it makes intuitive sense: If a starter walks lots of guys, pitch count will catch up to him even if runs allowed doesn't.

    Putting Mauer into the equation, his walk rate means that on average, a lineup of nine Mauers means the opposing starter will throw two more pitches per inning than if he put the ball in play. Big deal, right?

    Except that two more pitches per inning means that the average starter probably leaves the game an inning sooner. That's huge.

    Yes, I get that Mauer isn't single-handedly chasing starters. But adding to opposing starter pitch counts is a valuable and tangible skill.
    I was going to jump in on this very issue, but Bombo said it better with the hard data. On the current Twins roster, Mauer's game really dictates that he should be leading off, and batting 2nd with Buxton leading off when that day comes. Mauer is very, very good at HIS game. The problem is, so many here want him or expect him to be 2009 good every year and don't understand the incredible value of the "career average Joe Mauer year." He's really one of the best table setters of all time, and his move to 1st should keep him producing at a level that gets him comfortably into the HOF within a couple of years of eligibility.

    Here are the stats for the last 11 years of the careers of Wade Boggs and Mark Grace:

    Boggs had the 5th most WAR at 3rd Base from 1989-1999 (age 41) with this slash:

    .307/.392/.412/.804

    Grace had the 11th most WAR at 1st Base from 1993-2003 (age 39) with this slash:

    .305/.388/.457/.845

    Assuming Mauer can correct his recent increase in K% and has no lingering concussion issues, he can eclipse both of those slash lines between now and 2024.
    Last edited by jokin; 04-10-2014 at 11:15 PM.

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  11. #310
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    Can you attach the link to study you have referred to a number of times? If the matter has been objectively looked at and proven then it should be well documented. Thanks!
    Last edited by jharaldson; 04-10-2014 at 11:20 PM.

  12. #311
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    Quote Originally Posted by BHtwins View Post
    Someone asked earlier in the thread if there was any criticism that was legitimate.

    There is one, it may have been brought it up, but I didnt see it.

    Mauer's GIDP rate is probably higher then a hitter of his caliber should be. It does effect his offensive value and I think its one area of pretty legitimate concern,
    Scroll right, nothing to be ashamed about being in this group:

    RK PLAYER TEAM GP AVG TPA PIT P/PA TB XBH HBP IBB GDP SH SF
    1 Billy Butler
    KC 162 .289 668 2609 3.91 240 42 3 11 28 0 4
    2 Dustin Pedroia BOS 160 .301 724 2934 4.05 266 53 3 4 24 0 7
    Jose Altuve
    HOU 152 .283 672 2206 3.28 227 38 2 5 24 4 8
    4 Victor Martinez DET 159 .301 668 2601 3.89 260 50 1 10 23 0 8
    5 David Ortiz BOS 137 .309 600 2311 3.85 292 70 1 27 21 0 5
    Kendrys Morales SEA 156 .277 657 2464 3.75 270 57 5 6 21 0 1
    7 Edwin Encarnacion TOR 142 .272 621 2461 3.96 283 66 4 7 20 0 5
    Prince Fielder
    DET 162 .279 712 2618 3.68 285 61 9 5 20 0 4
    Adam Lind TOR 143 .288 521 2131 4.09 231 50 1 5 20
    0 4
    10 Miguel Cabrera DET 148 .348 652 2424 3.72 353 71 5 19 19 0 2
    Last edited by jokin; 04-10-2014 at 11:26 PM.

  13. #312
    Twins Moderator All-Star twinsnorth49's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Brooks View Post
    No, I don't disagree with any of that.
    I just think people should be able to criticize certain aspects of his game without being burned at the stake, which is what is happening in this thread.

    I don't understand why a person cannot BOTH think that Mauer is a HOF player, and also has flaws that he could work on, as I do.
    Nobody's burning anyone at the stake, are you being a bit dramatic? The thing I'm confused about is, what the criticism is exactly?. What's the flaw again? Not swinging at meatballs down the middle of the plate with 2 on and 2 out in the 9th inning of a 3 run game......in early April? I guess he needs to practice his clutchness more?

    This whole discussion for some seems to be centered on not only a single at bat but arguably a single pitch he decided not to swing at. It's not that I have an issue with being critical of Mauer, it's just that in this instance it seems pretty contrived and petty.

    To me second guessing which pitches a hitter as good as Mauer decides to swing at or not doesn't have a lot of credibility considering his overall body of work.

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  15. #313
    Senior Member All-Star crarko's Avatar
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    Maybe he just needs to grow the sideburns back out. Then they can start running his 'Mean Joe' ad again where he yanks them off and gives them to the kid. That should restore his folk hero status.

  16. #314
    Quote Originally Posted by cmathewson View Post
    Olerud never won a batting title did he? Ole rude never won a gold glove or an MVP did he? Mauer is the first catcher ever to win three batting titles. That makes hi elite.
    Olerud did win a batting title in 1993 (.363 with a .473 OBP), so compared to Mauer's 3, he closer to him then Mauer is to Carew 7 title. Not saying Olerud is elite, just saying he a better comparison. Mauer still has a lot to prove before you put him in Carew's class.

  17. #315
    Senior Member All-Star cmathewson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Brooks View Post
    No, I don't disagree with any of that.
    I just think people should be able to criticize certain aspects of his game without being burned at the stake, which is what is happening in this thread.

    I don't understand why a person cannot BOTH think that Mauer is a HOF player, and also has flaws that he could work on, as I do.
    Of course you can. No one said you can't . But you're not the audience we're talking about. Those who exaggerate his deficiencies and diminish his contributions contrary to science are. You started to go there when you analyzed a single at bat as a paradigm case of his deficiencies. I don't think it's all that helpful to look at one at bat in which the team is down by three runs and down to its last out as all that instructive. Especially his second walk of the day in which he went 2-5 with an RBI.

    Pick a larger sample. Look at tendencies. But most of all, put it into context. Even the best hitters make an out 60% of the time. The fact that Mauer has a better percentage than the best hitters almost every year, and from the catching position is not a sign of weakness. It's a sign of strength. So he's not a home run hitter. Many of the all-time greats weren't either.

    The Twins ruined their relationship with Rod Carew by insisting that he hit homers. So one year he swung for the fences a lot, struck out more than normal, and had his other numbers suffered. They were more critical of him after the second year (as were the fan), and traded him. Mauer is similar. You can add homers, but you'll make him more strikeout prone and he'll roll over more balls to second. His OBP will drop below .400 and he'll be less productive overall.

    It's a zero sum game. Stop trying to fix what is not broken. Start appreciating the history you are witnessing. That is all.
    "If you'da been thinkin' you wouldn't 'a thought that.."

  18. #316
    Quote Originally Posted by cmathewson View Post
    Besides, the walk was not useless in the situation (runners on first and second, two outs). Down by three runs, they needed base runners. Loading the bases gets them a double away from tying it. It has the same affect as a single. The odds of an extra base hit were pretty low. The odds of a walk were pretty high. He was just playing the odds.
    What wrong with a 3 run home run or a 2 run double? Mauer is the best hitter on the team, but he leave important at bat to other players. Sometimes the best hitter needs to show it when the games on the line. Too often over the last couple years, Mauer has not shown it during the important AB, which again, I think was the point of the Reusse's article.

  19. #317
    Senior Member All-Star cmathewson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kblack1011 View Post
    Olerud did win a batting title in 1993 (.363 with a .473 OBP), so compared to Mauer's 3, he closer to him then Mauer is to Carew 7 title. Not saying Olerud is elite, just saying he a better comparison. Mauer still has a lot to prove before you put him in Carew's class.
    Fair enough. As Carew did at this age, moving to first will allow him to play another 10 years, win a few more batting titles and collect 3000 hits. I'm all for it.
    "If you'da been thinkin' you wouldn't 'a thought that.."

  20. #318
    Senior Member All-Star crarko's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cmathewson View Post
    The Twins ruined their relationship with Rod Carew by insisting that he hit homers.
    .....
    It's a zero sum game.
    The first part; I think Calvin behaving like a 19th century plantation owner had something to do with it, too.

    As for the second, I don't see that as true at all. Improvement in one area does not require diminishment in another to offset the gain.

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  22. #319
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    Quote Originally Posted by twinsnorth49 View Post
    Nobody's burning anyone at the stake, are you being a bit dramatic? The thing I'm confused about is, what the criticism is exactly?. What's the flaw again? Not swinging at meatballs down the middle of the plate with 2 on and 2 out in the 9th inning of a 3 run game......in early April? I guess he needs to practice his clutchness more?

    This whole discussion for some seems to be centered on not only a single at bat but arguably a single pitch he decided not to swing at. It's not that I have an issue with being critical of Mauer, it's just that in this instance it seems pretty contrived and petty.

    To me second guessing which pitches a hitter as good as Mauer decides to swing at or not doesn't have a lot of credibility considering his overall body of work.
    Maybe not burned at the stake, but there have been a few zingers tossed in this thread, no?

    From my perspective, one discussion is centered not on one PA, but on a lack of power, which I think hurts his production and therefore the team, and his perceived unwillingness to try to change that...despite my belief he could. Some cite this one PA as one example. I think it's a fair example, although I would prefer to cite something like his extreme reluctance to swing early in counts.

    I do believe great hitters alter their approach in some ABs based on the needs of the team at the time. Down three, with two out and two on, in the bottom of the last inning, is an obvious example of such a situation, particularly for a hitter often cited as a HOFer...I believe he should be looking for a pitch to hit over the fence, and if he gets it, should take a shot at the RF bleachers. It's fair to say he often lets such pitches in such situations go by. Some cite this particular PA as an example.

    Obviously he'll sometimes make an out by doing so. I would never criticize him for trying. I think it's a fair criticism that he seems reluctant to try.
    Every post is not every other post. - a wise man

  23. #320
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    Quote Originally Posted by USAFChief View Post
    I'm too lazy to go look it up, but if memory serves, the math nerds have calculated a single to be worth something like 25 percent more than a walk. The primary difference is in the extra bases for base runners that can result from a single. Base runners can't go first to third, or score from second, on a walk, but often do on a single. A ball in play also has a small chance of resulting in an error that can further advance the hitter or base runner(s).

    Extra base hits multiply that effect.

    As to "the idea" of offense, I think it's to score runs. Taking pitches is one method that may advance your chances, but it's not the goal.

    Yeah I thought about it more after I posted and there is the chance for the extra base hit or single that would score the runner from second base which a walk would not do. The trouble with Joe though is we are really talking about a single or a double as the most likely outcome since HR and triples are rare for him.

    The problem I have though is that not all singles would be a better result than a walk. A first pitch single with no runners on would be worth less than a 6 pitch walk in my opinion. I haven't done the math though so I could be out to lunch on that thought. Maybe if all things being equal it is better for example a 6 pitch walk or 6 pitch single. I just don't feel like that formula takes everything into consideration.

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