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  • The Ripple Effect of Mauer's Move to First

    The Twins made it official on Monday... Joe Mauer's days behind the plate are over.

    After consulting with doctors at Mayo Clinic, it was felt that Mauer needed to avoid the chance of re-injuring himself at the roughest position on the baseball field. Even though Mauer is now symptom free and able to go about his regular offseason routine, the club felt this was in the best interest of the team and their star player.

    The move away from catcher has been something Mauer has tried to avoid in the past. Even after missing most of the 2011 season because of leg issues, Mauer wanted to prove he could handle the rigors of being a full-time catcher again. The seriousness of his concussion in 2013 must have been enough to convince him the time was right for a move.

    In my offseason blueprint, I listed Mauer as the primary first baseman for the 2014 Minnesota Twins. It seemed likely the club would give him more time at first base especially with the exit of Justin Morneau and the rise of Josmil Pinto. These two players are just part of the ripple effect of Mauer's move to first.

    Pinto's Chance to Start
    The Twins were impressed with the performance of Pinto in the final month of the season. Over 21 games, the rookie backstop batted .342/.398/.566 with four home runs and five doubles. His defensive skills might not be as good as Mauer's but he did throw out 33% of base runners with a .982 fielding percentage in his eight seasons in the minor leagues. Minnesota could always add a veteran catcher but Pinto deserves a chance at some point next year.

    Morneau Won't Return
    Within the inner circle of Twins Territory, there may have been hopes of a return of their former MVP. As Mauer shifts to first base, it seems there is no spot for Morneau on the roster. It probably didn't make sense for the Twins to spend money on Morneau with other first base options currently under contract. This allows Morneau to try to find a spot on a team that can contend before his career is complete.

    Parmelee and Colabello Left Searching for ABs
    Both Parmelee and Colabello have put together impressive numbers at Triple-A in the last two seasons. These performances haven't translated to the big leagues and this leaves question marks about them moving forward. Parmelee got some time in the outfield last year and this might be his best chance at sticking with the team long-term. Colabello's independent baseball story was great but he might be more of a organizational player.

    Sano's the Future at Third
    With a full offseason to prepare, Minnesota could have moved Mauer to third base. They didn't because Miguel Sano is making his way to Target Field. There is a small chance of Sano starting the year with the club so Trevor Plouffe will only be keeping his place warm at the hot corner. It seems a waste to use Mauer's athletic ability at a lowly position like first base but Sano has one of the best arms in the Twins system and the spot should be saved for him.

    What other ripple effects are there from Mauer's move to first? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
    This article was originally published in blog: The Ripple Effect of Mauer's Move to First started by Cody Christie
    Comments 41 Comments
    1. twinsfan34's Avatar
      twinsfan34 -
      Quote Originally Posted by DJL44 View Post
      All Sano has to do is beat out Trevor Plouffe. That isn't impossible for a player already hitting well in AA.
      Humorous, yet true. All he has to do is hit at or above .230 and more than 12 HR.

      I don't think that'd be a problem.

      Look at Manny Machado. He only hit .266 at AA.

      His AVG/OBP/SLG line looks like this .266/.352/.438. 10.5% BB/PA and 15.3% SO/PA.

      Miguel Sano's AVG/OBP/SLG line: .236/.344/.571. 13.0% BB/PA and 29.3% SO/PA.

      Larry Walker's SO/PA at AA was 21.7%. He only hit .287. He went on to win 3 batting titles.
    1. twinsfan34's Avatar
      twinsfan34 -
      Quote Originally Posted by Paul Pleiss View Post
      How does the move effect Mauer's annual all-star status and his eventual HOF status? I think both take a serious hit with the move to first. I still see him as HOFer, but his all-star status, at least his chance to start regularly is definitely in jeopardy.
      Paul, I had the same questions. I expounded upon them a bit here.

      http://twinsdaily.com/entry.php?b=4619
    1. ajstolt_09's Avatar
      ajstolt_09 -
      I think the biggest ripple that comes from this is that Collabello and Parmalee have very little rope left, and are both most likely destined for bench roles or being in AAA. Arcia should start in right if we are trying to develop our young guys. Mauer should play EVERYDAY(162 games) at first base, or DH. That leaves no room for Parm or Collabello, which doesn't hurt my feelings. They are both frustrating to watch at the plate. I give Collabello a slight edge because at least he has hit a few home runs. So anyone talking about one of them being in a starting lineup to start the year....I cringe at that thought!!!

      Would also love to see Sano start the year with the Twins. There is no reason to wait. He crushes no matter what level he has been at. I think we could expect 25-30 HR's from both Sano and Arcia next year. And if we think logically, Sano is most likely every bit as solid at 3B as Plouffe is, if not better! And that's more of an indictment of Plouffe's defense than it is a compliment on Sano's. I will be annoyed if he isn't there starting the season.
    1. Thrylos's Avatar
      Thrylos -
      Quote Originally Posted by SweetOne69 View Post
      I have to laugh at anybody who thinks that Sano and Buxton will be with the Twins before September 2014.
      Wonder how many of these who think that Sano & Buxton should be up ASAP, also think that Hicks was rushed last season and should have started at AAA...

      Another thing, because I hear it a lot: Danny Santana is a great player with a lot of speed and potential, but at this point his minor league numbers are slightly worse than Florimon's. I really am not that sure about him being better than Florimon in the majors at this point, unless he has a couple of break-through seasons. At this point the Twins' system is really lacking in SS.

      Speaking of break-through seasons, based on what he did in AAA last season and the way he started in Venezuela this season, I will not be surprised if Eduardo Escobar wins and keeps the SS job. He is 24 and another of those guys who was rushed to the majors...
    1. Thrylos's Avatar
      Thrylos -
      Quote Originally Posted by ajstolt_09 View Post
      Collabello and Parmalee have very little rope left,.
      Those 2 do not belong in the same sentence: Colabello is 30 and at his prime and ready to decline. Parmelee is 25 and has not entered his prime yet. Also, unlike Colabello who was signed from the independent leagues, he was a first round pick. And the Twins do everything to try to make their first round picks successful. So he does have some rope left, especially since this is his last option year. There might have to be a decision next off-season, but there is a lot of baseball between now and then.
    1. Riverbrian's Avatar
      Riverbrian -
      Quote Originally Posted by Thrylos View Post
      Those 2 do not belong in the same sentence: Colabello is 30 and at his prime and ready to decline. Parmelee is 25 and has not entered his prime yet. Also, unlike Colabello who was signed from the independent leagues, he was a first round pick. And the Twins do everything to try to make their first round picks successful. So he does have some rope left, especially since this is his last option year. There might have to be a decision next off-season, but there is a lot of baseball between now and then.
      I agree... Parmelee should be given plenty of rope. The light bulb can always turn on for a player with potential and it doesn't always turn on right away.

      Colabello needs to stand closer to the plate and start turning on some balls. Colabello should be in Rochester again to figure that part out. His power could be a nice boost for a year or two... or five... if he can figure that out. Until then... I will remain weary.
    1. twinsfan34's Avatar
      twinsfan34 -
      Quote Originally Posted by twinsfan34 View Post
      Paul, I had the same questions. I expounded upon them a bit here.

      http://twinsdaily.com/entry.php?b=4619
      My apologies Paul...you have your own podcast.

      http://talk2contact.podomatic.com/en...16_19_20-08_00

      So...yeaaaaaaah.
    1. 70charger's Avatar
      70charger -
      Quote Originally Posted by Paul Pleiss View Post
      How does the move effect Mauer's annual all-star status and his eventual HOF status? I think both take a serious hit with the move to first. I still see him as HOFer, but his all-star status, at least his chance to start regularly is definitely in jeopardy.
      I actually think it's good and bad. As a catcher, he's not playing 10 more years. As a 1B, he probably is. Think of all the hits! Voters love counting stats.

      I also think that he declines more slowly, meaning that he could have some pretty impressive seasons even as an "old guy." Think Wade Boggs - he hit .300 when he was past forty years old.

      Of course, there will be a WAR difference without the boost from catcher, and there is the fact that bat-only type players that end up at 1B are going to be compared to Mauer from here on out.

      But even if Mauer isn't the clear-cut number one bat at 1B, I still think he accumulates enough WAR to make him a HOF shoo-in. Besides, I think everybody knows that he didn't want to move from catcher, and they won't penalize him for it. Call it the "Puckett effect." The circumstances are out of his control at this point.

      In any case, I think his body of work thus far leaves him maybe 2 or 3 more .850-.900 OPS seasons away from a no-doubter.
    1. YourHouseIsMyHouse's Avatar
      YourHouseIsMyHouse -
      Quote Originally Posted by SweetOne69 View Post
      I have to laugh at anybody who thinks that Sano and Buxton will be with the Twins before September 2014.
      It might be a little unlikely, but I wouldn't throw it out and laugh. The Twins have had multiple prospects like Dozier and Hicks skip AAA and go to the bigs. Sano did very well in AA too and only needs a little more polish. Mike Trout was called up to the Angels the year after he completed High A on July 8th of the following season. Since he is about the closest comparison to Buxton, it's quite possible he's up before September 2014 too. I'd like to add that Mauer was also called up the season after his first taste of A+.

      However, it's more important that the Twins do what's best.
    1. ashburyjohn's Avatar
      ashburyjohn -
      A ripple effect I don't see mentioned except in passing is DH. With Joe behind the plate the DH role had to be kept available for him at about a 20-25% rate (42 games in 2012, 29 in 2013). Perhaps the Twins will go out and find a really good hitter to hold down the DH role full time now; or maybe an in-house candidate will assert himself.
    1. Alex's Avatar
      Alex -
      Quote Originally Posted by ashburyjohn View Post
      A ripple effect I don't see mentioned except in passing is DH. With Joe behind the plate the DH role had to be kept available for him at about a 20-25% rate (42 games in 2012, 29 in 2013). Perhaps the Twins will go out and find a really good hitter to hold down the DH role full time now; or maybe an in-house candidate will assert himself.
      This is a great point, but it probably is a season or two away with Doumit and Willingham on the roster.
    1. ashburyjohn's Avatar
      ashburyjohn -
      Quote Originally Posted by Thrylos View Post
      Colabello is 30 and at his prime and ready to decline. Parmelee is 25 and has not entered his prime yet.
      The prime for a big leaguer has been demonstrated to be in his 20s. Still, this is empirical and based on thousands of "typical" big league trajectories; one learns a lot as one progresses through the minors, and when the physical side starts to deteriorate there isn't much learning left that could compensate. In a case like Colabello, after 2 years there could still be some learning left to do when facing better pitching talent than he ran into in the indy leagues. I am far from being on the bandwagon for him, but it's less implausible than for most that his peak season might still be in his 30s.
    1. Alex's Avatar
      Alex -
      RE: Sano

      While I know that Sano's injury doesn't seem to be too bad, just the fact of the (hopefully) near miss really shows that slotting in prospects as automatic at a position or making significant roster plans around them isn't always effective.
    1. ashburyjohn's Avatar
      ashburyjohn -
      Quote Originally Posted by Alex View Post
      This is a great point, but it probably is a season or two away with Doumit and Willingham on the roster.
      Both these players are on many fans' "wish list" to trade away, and were even before now.
    1. Alex's Avatar
      Alex -
      Quote Originally Posted by ashburyjohn View Post
      Both these players are on many fans' "wish list" to trade away, and were even before now.
      Yeah, mine as well, but I don't really see the Twins doing it this offseason. I could be wrong.
    1. Siehbiscuit's Avatar
      Siehbiscuit -
      RE: Parmalee and Colabello -

      If you take "AGE" and "how they were acquired" and just look at how these two could help the Twins in 2014, I think the better option to make and help the team is Colabello. He put up ridiculous numbers at AAA. Both of these guys are blocked now by Mauer at 1B and with Buxton, Arcia, Rosario, Walker, Hicks and Kepler having a much brighter future and being more talented OF options in the near future, Parmalee and Colabello may only may only be filling in in 2014.

      Instead of looking at age, consider MLB experience. How much time has Parmalee had to figure it out at the MLB level? Parts of 4 different seasons. One Sept call up he looks like, well, Josmil Pinto, but the rest like the Chris Parmalee we all can't stand. Colabello may not have youth on his side anymore, but he only has had 1 opportunity to show anything. He has proven that he can't do it. His second go around could be his breakout party! I woud love to see Colabello be a real DH. Not a DH where position players go to get a day off, but he has a bat everyday and maybe 6-8 times a year he plays some 1B, when Mauer needs a day off.

      Nothing against Parmalee, but I haven't seen any development. I'm willing to give Colabello another chance, but as the DH. His only plus skill is hitting.
    1. Sconnie's Avatar
      Sconnie -
      Quote Originally Posted by Riverbrian View Post
      I hope Sano is really special and comes in mid-season and tears it up.

      He Might... He Might Not...

      What I want to see happen doesn't always match with the reality of what will happen.

      I'd rather not burn his MLB time watching him struggle... I don't want him learning while the Arb clock ticks... When Sano comes up... I want him to hit the ground running and provide a big boost ala Puig, Harper, Braun or Trout. If he's ready to do that out of Spring Training... Bring him on... If not... Let's wait.
      Agreed, no hicks 2.0
    1. stringer bell's Avatar
      stringer bell -
      Quote Originally Posted by 70charger View Post
      I actually think it's good and bad. As a catcher, he's not playing 10 more years. As a 1B, he probably is. Think of all the hits! Voters love counting stats.

      I also think that he declines more slowly, meaning that he could have some pretty impressive seasons even as an "old guy." Think Wade Boggs - he hit .300 when he was past forty years old.

      Of course, there will be a WAR difference without the boost from catcher, and there is the fact that bat-only type players that end up at 1B are going to be compared to Mauer from here on out.

      But even if Mauer isn't the clear-cut number one bat at 1B, I still think he accumulates enough WAR to make him a HOF shoo-in. Besides, I think everybody knows that he didn't want to move from catcher, and they won't penalize him for it. Call it the "Puckett effect." The circumstances are out of his control at this point.

      In any case, I think his body of work thus far leaves him maybe 2 or 3 more .850-.900 OPS seasons away from a no-doubter.
      One more batting title almost certainly gets him there--3 as a catcher plus another--and he may not even need that. I wouldn't be at all surprised to see Mauer win a batting title in the next 2-3 years.
    1. stringer bell's Avatar
      stringer bell -
      Quote Originally Posted by ashburyjohn View Post
      A ripple effect I don't see mentioned except in passing is DH. With Joe behind the plate the DH role had to be kept available for him at about a 20-25% rate (42 games in 2012, 29 in 2013). Perhaps the Twins will go out and find a really good hitter to hold down the DH role full time now; or maybe an in-house candidate will assert himself.
      Hammer!!??
    1. stringer bell's Avatar
      stringer bell -
      Colabello-Parmelee: Besides the "how acquired" and "how old" there is the defense aspect. Chris Parmelee is a capable right fielder and a decent first baseman. Colabello is neither. The other factor of note is handedness. With "franchise makers" Buxton and Sano as righties along with Dozier and Pinto, it would seem that adding (or keeping) left-handed sock would be important over and above Arcia and Mauer. In a platoon situation, Parmelee might thrive. If Colabello is platooned, it means he is a bench player who gets probably 40 starts guaranteed when a lefty starts for the opposition. My observation is that both players are flawed and won't amount to much, but that Parmelee has the better chance of being a productive regular. Colabello not so much, but if he were to thrive it would be one heck of a story.
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