• Mauer Elected and "Fans" Revolt

    On Sunday afternoon, the 2012 MLB All-Star rosters were announced for the American League and the National League. There were a few different candidates that had the opportunity to be selected to be the Twins representative. Joe Mauer is near the top of the AL in a variety of batting categories and he plays a premium defensive position. Josh Willingham started off the season on quite the run and he might be the team MVP to this point. Since his promotion at the beginning of May, Scott Diamond has been the ace of the Twins pitching staff. Glen Perkins and Jared Burton have been dominant in their appearances out of the bullpen.

    In the end, the Twins will have one representative for the second year in a row. Joe Mauer was selected to his fifth career All-Star Game and he is the lone representative for his team much like Michael Cuddyer last season.
    There are three catchers on the AL roster so Mike Napoli of the Texas Rangers and Matt Wieters of the Baltimore Orioles will join Mauer. Napolit gets the start and Mauer and Wieters will be used in relief on a night where the temperature is suppose to be in the high 90s.

    When the announcement of the teams was made on Sunday, there was an uproar across the social media world that Mauer would get the only spot on the All-Star team for the Twins. Fans looked at Willingham and his high home run total and team-leading RBI total and they made the case that he should be on the team over Mauer. For the first month or so of the season, it looked like Willingham would be the only choice from the Twins roster. A rough month of May where he batted .220 brought his numbers back down to earth and might have pushed his first All-Star appearance out of reach.

    The outrage towards Mauer was painful to read in the moments following the announcement of the team. Twins President Dave St. Peter was left to defend Mauer in a few different tweets to angered fans.

    It seemed like fans were attacking a player for his rough season in 2011 and not looking at the numbers that he has put up so far in 2012. He leads the entire AL in OBP and he ranks fifth in the AL in batting out of the players that have qualified for the leaderboard. According to FanGraphs version of WAR, Mauer has been equal to Willingham but Mauer is ranked number one among catchers. In comparison, Willingham ranks ninth among outfielders and the only outfielder with a lower WAR than him to make it was Curtis Granderson.

    For the second year in a row, the Twins are off to a poor start and it would be hard to imagine the team getting more than one representative to the Mid-Summer Classic. It would take a couple of magical seasons from Twins players to get more than one representative. If the Twins had gotten better starting pitching for the duration of the season, there is a good chance the team would be out of the cellar in the AL. This could mean that players like Willingham and Diamond could have joined Mauer in Kansas City. Even Mauer himself told reporters that he was upset that he would be making the trip from Minneapolis by himself.

    During the 2012 season, it has been disappointing to read and hear the hatred toward Mauer even though he is in the midst of a very good season. There have been plenty of double play balls hit to second base off of the bat of Mauer as he enters the second year of his monster deal. Only 35 of his 69 games have been spent behind the plate and he doesn't hit many home runs or rack up a ton of RBI. So for some people that consider themselves "fans" of the Twins, there will continue to be things to pick apart for the $23 million man.

    In a season that might already be lost, there is a long list of things to be frustrated about for the Twins and Mauer shouldn't be anywhere near the top of the list. The American League needed to fill a catching spot on the roster and the Twins had a player that was more than deserving of a place in the All-Star Game. If there had been some holes to fill in the outfield, the same case could have been made for Willingham. There seems to be a portion of fan base for the Twins that don't appreciate the greatness of the player they have the privilege to witness.

    Mauer deserves to be an All-Star even if a faction of the fan base doesn't think he should be there.
    This article was originally published in blog: Mauer elected and "fans" revolt started by Cody Christie
    Comments 34 Comments
    1. kemics's Avatar
      kemics -
      I agree with SRP, Mauer's 4.3 pitches per appearance and his ability to work counts helps Willingham and the guys after him. Joe's eye is so good, he knows he can take the first pitch as a strike and still work a favorable or at least even count for him. This wears the pitcher down, it allows the batters behind him see what a guy has, it makes the bullpen work sooner. 17-21 pitches a is what a typical reliever might throw, having them used/gassed earlier is a huge advantage.

      As the season wears on catching Joe only 1/2 the games will improve his numbers. At .324/.414/.445 now I can almost guarantee those numbers go up. .332/.420/.460 is where he should end the year if healthy. 10 homers is not out of reach, neither are 75-90RBIs and 75-90Runs scored if you look at full season projections for 150 games. You're also looking at 80-90 walks. As for the RISP...

      .319 with runners on.
      .358 with RISP
      .333 with bases loaded
      .409 w/ RISP and 2 outs.
      Also he sets the table nicely, hitting .468 when leading off an inning with a .561 OBP.

      He's the best non-power hitter in the league, the best hitting catcher, one of the best defensive catchers, the face of a franchise, a commercial icon, and the biggest fan draw since Kirby (RIP). He deserves every penny of his $23 million, and an allstar role.

      Thanks to ESPN for the stats.
    1. fetch's Avatar
      fetch -
      Quote Originally Posted by kemics View Post
      I agree with SRP, Mauer's 4.3 pitches per appearance and his ability to work counts helps Willingham and the guys after him. Joe's eye is so good, he knows he can take the first pitch as a strike and still work a favorable or at least even count for him. This wears the pitcher down, it allows the batters behind him see what a guy has, it makes the bullpen work sooner. 17-21 pitches a is what a typical reliever might throw, having them used/gassed earlier is a huge advantage.

      As the season wears on catching Joe only 1/2 the games will improve his numbers. At .324/.414/.445 now I can almost guarantee those numbers go up. .332/.420/.460 is where he should end the year if healthy. 10 homers is not out of reach, neither are 75-90RBIs and 75-90Runs scored if you look at full season projections for 150 games. You're also looking at 80-90 walks. As for the RISP...

      .319 with runners on.
      .358 with RISP
      .333 with bases loaded
      .409 w/ RISP and 2 outs.
      Also he sets the table nicely, hitting .468 when leading off an inning with a .561 OBP.

      He's the best non-power hitter in the league, the best hitting catcher, one of the best defensive catchers, the face of a franchise, a commercial icon, and the biggest fan draw since Kirby (RIP). He deserves every penny of his $23 million, and an allstar role.

      Thanks to ESPN for the stats.
      let's just frame this post and say argument over. Well done.
    1. Brock Beauchamp's Avatar
      Brock Beauchamp -
      Quote Originally Posted by kemics View Post
      I agree with SRP, Mauer's 4.3 pitches per appearance and his ability to work counts helps Willingham and the guys after him. Joe's eye is so good, he knows he can take the first pitch as a strike and still work a favorable or at least even count for him. This wears the pitcher down, it allows the batters behind him see what a guy has, it makes the bullpen work sooner. 17-21 pitches a is what a typical reliever might throw, having them used/gassed earlier is a huge advantage.
      Let's not overlook Denard's role in this as well. By the time the opposing pitcher gets through Mauer in the first, he's generally thrown every pitch he has two or three times. Span and Mauer make pitchers work.
    1. CDog's Avatar
      CDog -
      Quote Originally Posted by kemics View Post
      At .324/.414/.445 now I can almost guarantee those numbers go up.
      I'm obviously quite pro-Kid St. Paul. I am on record that thinking people often go way, way too far in trying to knock him down for whatever reasons I can't even fathom (as stated in another thread). But I think "almost guarantee" is a little (or a lot) strong there. Especially with the noted (also elsewhere in many places) frequency of ground balls this year. I feel like it's gotten better in just the very recent past, but haven't looked to see if that's true.
    1. wavedog's Avatar
      wavedog -
      Certainly you can't be angry that Mauer was named to the All-star game - he is one of the best catchers in the league - if not the best and I am talking both this half-year and over his career timeframe. Some of the frustration from fans probably comes from the fact that the perception is that he has not performed as well after he signed the $23M contract as he did before he signed it. I say perception because I have not broken down the numbers before and after. We know the HR's are down and the whole bi-lateral leg weakness episode last year had a negative impact on his image.
    1. Sanibelchuck's Avatar
      Sanibelchuck -
      The game is an "All-Star" game. One can see clearly that the large markets have a bigger say on who makes the team. I know when I went to the All-Star game in Atlanta years ago, I wanted to see the big names or the face of the organization not necessarilly who is having a good season. Does the manager of an All-Star team pick Chipper Jones or Bryce Harper? For many fans at an All-Star game this may be there only chance to see a future Hall of Fame player like Chipper Jones. If a young kid travels 200 miles for his first Twins baseball game, which player would he be very disappointed not seeing play, Willingham or Mauer?
    1. 70charger's Avatar
      70charger -
      Quote Originally Posted by PopRiveter View Post
      We got 99 problems but Joe ain't one.
      This.
    1. mnfireman's Avatar
      mnfireman -
      I bet these same guys that hate on Mauer would hate on Carew for the same reasons, no power. Imagine if Boggs and Gwynn had played for the Twins, alot more complaints that they don't hit for power. Let's appreciate what we have here, a future HOFer and one of the best pure hitters of this or any era.
    1. Twins best friend's Avatar
      Twins best friend -
      I blogged about all this hate for Mauer a little while ago myself. His current stats are right smack in line with 2009 which wasn't too shabby a season for him in itself and his doubles are actually up since then. I have no expectations for the 2010 Mauer to reappear but at the same time I have no regrets in the Twins retaining the current Mauer.
    1. twinzgrl's Avatar
      twinzgrl -
      Mauer didn't pick himself to be an All-Star, so I don't get the haters at all. It would have been nice for Willingham as he hasn't been to an All-Star game, but how can people take that out on Joe.... I just don't understand. Mauer is having an outstanding season. Get off his case!
    1. DJSim22's Avatar
      DJSim22 -
      Most people ripping Mauer are devoted to a certain 3-6:30 radio show...
    1. Riverbrian's Avatar
      Riverbrian -
      Makes no sense to me. I wonder if the they are prepared to boo and hate until 2018. That sounds exhausting to me.
    1. PeanutsFromHeaven's Avatar
      PeanutsFromHeaven -
      I do love it when (exhausted from Twit Tweets) I can see so many logical, reasonable and impassioned arguments. Nothing to add but bravo Paul, SRP, kemics, Twinsgrl, and Riverbrian...thanks for the rational discourse.
    1. jmlease1's Avatar
      jmlease1 -
      Part of the problem Mauer has is he's not particularly media-friendly (he doesn't say much, speaks in cliches, and would generally rather just go about his business and be left alone), which opens the door for some twits in the local sports media to a) clock him regularly for perceived flaws in his production, or b) encourage fans to do the same. (Dan Barreiro, please pick up the white courtesy phone...Dan Barreiro, to the white phone)

      Coming off a terrible, injury-plagued season where the entire team collapsed, Joe became an easy target of blame for the lazy and uninformed, and so that's why you see crap like this. Mauer's the best catcher in the AL right now, even though he's only played half his games there.

      Mauer is an all-star. Willingham is having a very nice year, but the competition at OF is a lot tougher. Plouffe's surge probably came a little bit too late, and his start was so awful that you can't object too much to leaving him out.
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