For The Love Of Joe
Image courtesy of Betsy Bissen (photo of Joe Mauer)Below is where Joe Mauer ranks in most offensive statistics in his career with the Twins. Obviously there have been a lot of really good players, and there have been Hall of Fame caliber players. To be an all-time great for a team, obviously longevity plays a huge role. There aren’t a lot of players who have played 12 years in the big leagues with the same organization anymore.
It seems that with greatness these days, players are expected to be more. Mauer is expected to keep hitting .330 every season despite the fact that he is now 33-years-old and caught for the first 14 seasons of his professional career (not to mention the years of amateur ball).
People seem to forget the fact that when he suffered his season-ending concussion late in the 2013 season, he was hitting .324/.404/.476 (.880) which as 42% better than the average player by OPS+.
BC (Before Concussion): .323/.405/.468 (.873) - 135 OPS+
AC (After Concussion): .272/.356/.385 (.741) - 105 OPS+
WHERE JOE MAUER RANKS IN MINNESOTA TWINS HISTORY?
Games Played: 1,573 - #6 in Twins history
As you would expect, Harmon Killebrew (1,939) leads the way with Kirby Puckett (1,783) about a season behind. Next up for Mauer is Rob Carew (1,635). By the end of his current contract, Mauer should have played around 1,900 games and in clear sight of Killebrew’s top spot.
WAR (Wins Above Replacement): #4 in Twins history
Rod Carew has a big advantage in this one, sitting at 63.7 for his Twins career. Harmon Killebrew was at 53.7, and Kirby Puckett was at 50.9. By Baseball-Reference, Mauer has been worth about 2.4 WAR in 2016. He’s not going to catch Carew, but with two more seasons like 2016, he’ll easily pass Puckett and Killebrew in the Twins rankings.
Runs Scored: 879 - #5 in Twins history
Kirby Puckett tops the list at 1,071. Harmon Killebrew is #2 at 1047. Next up for Mauer on this list is Kent Hrbek and 903. By the end of the two years left on his current contract, he should have passed a thousand runs scored and be right on the tail of Killebrew.
Hits: 1,814 - #4 in Twins history
Kirby Puckett leads the way with 2,304 hits. Second is Rod Carew at 2,085. Next on the list for Mauer is Tony Oliva, whom he should pass around the All-Star break next year. He will likely pass Carew by the end of the 2018 season as well.
Doubles: 360 - #2 in Twins history
Only Kirby Puckett has more doubles in Twins history. He hit 414 doubles in his career. Though inexplicably he has hit fewer doubles this season, Mauer is typically good for 30+ doubles a year. If he can reach that number the next two seasons, he’ll likely be atop this category by the end of 2018 too.
Triples: 28 - #13 in Twins history
Rod Carew tops this list by a bunch with 90. Next up for Mauer will be John Castino at 34. Unlikely he’ll do that, though triples are a bit random.
Home Runs: 129 - #12 in Twins history
Obviously Harmon Killebrew tops this category with 475 homers. Kent Hrbek is well behind at 293. Eight players in Twins history have hit over 200 homers in a Twins uniform. Mauer isn’t going to get there, but it’s possible he jumps into ninth place. With 34 homers, he can pass his current hitting coach, Tom Brunansky, who hit 163 homers in his six seasons with the Twins. Next for Mauer are Jacque Jones (132) and Michael Cuddyer (141).
RBI: 800 - #6 in Twins history
On Tuesday night, Mauer knocked in the 800th run of his career. He is the sixth player in Twins history to reach that number. Again, Killebrew leads the way with 1,325 RBI. Mauer should surpass Justin Morneau’s 860 next season.
Walks: 811 - #3 in Twins history
Surprise! It’s Harmon Killebrew leading the way in this category as well with 1,321 punch outs. Early next season, he will pass Kent Hrbek who walked 838 times in his Twins career.
Intentional Walks: 137 - #2 in Twins history
Mauer is just 15 intentional walks behind Killebrew’s 152. This statistic speaks to the respect that Mauer has around the league and with opposing managers. Even this year, there have been several times that Mauer has been walked to get to Miguel Sano.
Strikeouts: 852 - #5 in Twins history
You’ve got it! Killebrew leads this one by a wide margin too, with 1,314. Torii Hunter is #2 on the list with 975. Mauer will pass Gary Gaetti late this season or early next year, and he’s almost certain to pass both Puckett and Hunter before the end of his contract is up.
Batting Average: .310 - #3 in Twins history (2,000+ PAs), #5 in Twins history (1,500 PAs)
Carew leads this one by a healthy margin with a .334 career average. Next up is Kirby Puckett at .318. That is the same average as Lyman Bostock who didn’t reach 2,000 plate appearances with the Twins. Paul Molitor also didn’t reach 2,000 plate appearances, but he hit .312 over his three seasons with the Twins. Let’s hope that Mauer is able to keep his career average over .300.
On-Base Percentage: .393 - #1 in Twins history (2,000+ PAs)
Mauer is currently tied with Carew at .393. They are just ahead of Chuck Knoblauch’s .391 on-base percentage during his six seasons with the Twins.
OPS: .840 - #5 in Twins history
Killebrew tops the list at .901. Shane Mack’s underrated time with the Twins ranks second on the list at .854. Kent Hrbek ranks third at .848, and Rod Carew is at .841.
So there you have it… a look at the raw numbers of Joe Mauer, with how they rank among Twins all-time leaders.
In his 13 years in the big leagues, Mauer has some terrific overall numbers. His rate numbers have certainly taken a tumble the last few years, again, since the concussion. 2014 and 2015 were difficult, but 2016 has been a nice season for Mauer. No, not a .330 season, but a very solid season.
Mauer is hitting .276/.376/.406 (.781) which equates to 13% above average (113 OPS+).
HALL OF FAME?
Yes, Joe Mauer will be inducted into the Twins Hall of Fame. He will also be the last player in Twins history to wear the #7. But is the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown still a possibility for Mauer.
It’s never a real good reason to simply compare the numbers of any player against current Hall of Famers because there are certainly several Hall of Famers who, under today’s scrutiny,would likely not be inducted. But, just so you have it at your fingertips, here is a complete list of the 17 players in the Hall of Fame who played primarily at catcher:
Johnny Bench. Yogi Berra. Roger Bresnahan. Roy Campanella. Gary Carter. Mickey Cochrane. Bill Dickey. Buck Ewing. Rick Ferrell. Carlton Fisk. Josh Gibson. Gabby Hartnett. Ernie Lombardi. Biz Mackey. Mike Piazza. Ray Schalk. Deacon White.
Add Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez who should go into the Hall of Fame on the first ballot, though likely not for a couple of years.
I feel like Mauer will likely be one of those guys who is on the ballot all ten years and then doesn’t get it. But I would be pleasantly surprised if he does.
Like I said earlier. I get it. Mauer set the bar high when he came to the big leagues as a 20 year old in 2004. He set it high when he became the first American League catcher to win a batting title. And then he did it two more times. He set the bar high when he led the league in batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage and OPS in 2009 when he won the AL MVP.
People want to complain about the contract. He earned the contract. Get over it. People want to complain about him not catching. There isn’t a doctor who would support that idea. It won’t happen. Get over it. The doctors won’t support it because he had a brain injury. Its effects lasted a few years. He’s been durable the last few years, and he’s become a pretty good defensive first baseman through hard work. He’s been in the lineup most days. He doesn’t say the exciting things to the media. Oh well. He doesn’t pull the ball often enough. He doesn’t expand the strike zone. He takes too many first-pitch strikes. He doesn’t show enough fire. He should get thrown out of games more often.
He may not be the perfect baseball player. He may not be what you picture for a great major league player. But, if you consider his position, his rankings in the organization’s history, and the respect that he has earned in the game of baseball, he’s had a pretty good career (note - ‘pretty good’ is low-balling it significantly).
I get that the Twins haven’t been great the last several years. I get that Mauer’s career trajectory took a huge fall the day that that foul tip jarred his face mask. But of all of the things to complain about in 2016 for Twins fans, Joe Mauer (anything about Joe Mauer) should not be in the top 15-20 things.
Maybe it's time for Twins fans to realize the greatness that we have had the opportunity to see the last 13 seasons so that kids wh will be our age in 40 years don't think more highly of Mauer than we do today.
- pbrezeasap, brvama, Dman and 6 others like this