Top Twins Players Not in the Hall of Fame: Joe Mauer
Image courtesy of © David Berding-USA TODAY SportsCase for Induction
There are currently 19 catchers that have been inducted into the Hall of Fame and Mauer is clearly above the threshold set by previous backstops. According to JAWS, Mauer ranks as the seventh best catcher all-time with all six players ahead of him already inducted and the four players behind him also enshrined. Mauer’s WAR, seven-year peak WAR, and JAWS total are all above the average of the Hall of Famers at his position. He topped the .400 mark in on-base percentage in six of his seasons as a catcher, a total exceeded by only four other catchers, none of whom started their careers after 1930.
Since MLB began tracking Win Probability Added in 1974, Mike Piazza is the lone catcher ahead of Mauer in the WPA rankings. Mauer also does well when it comes to Clutch because he was able to compile a .943 OPS in nearly 850 plate appearances with two outs and runners in scoring position. Plus, he is the only AL catcher to win a batting title and he did it three times.
Case Against Induction
Mauer played 15 big league seasons, but the last five came after concussions forced him to move from behind the plate to first base. Many Hall of Fame catchers end up changing positions in the later parts of their careers, but its usually a gradual shift instead of the abruptness that came with Mauer’s change.
Another knock against Mauer’s resume is the fact that he retired at the age of 35. All the other catchers ahead of him when it comes to JAWS played more seasons than Mauer. To put this in perspective, Nelson Cruz is three years older than Mauer. Longevity is something Hall of Fame voters appreciate because it allows for a player to accumulate some of the counting stats (3,000 hits, 500 home runs, etc.) that are usually guarantees of induction.
Mauer will become eligible for the first time in 2024 and he has a very strong case to be elected. Some writers don’t feel that he will be a first ballot electee, because of his relatively brief career. However, the voting electorate continues to change with the possibility of these younger voters using a more analytics-based approach. Mauer will get elected but it might take a few years of being on the ballot.
Do you think Mauer should be a first ballot selection? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
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