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The Hanging SL

Booing Mauer? There Are Reasons Why So Far In 2012, But They're Asinine...

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Much has been made recently about the boo birds in Target Field singling out Joe Mauer while he’s up to bat. It is somewhat hard to understand this early in the season while he’s actually performing pretty well from a grand scheme perspective, batting .319 with a .410 On-Base Percentage.

He’s played in every game, has knocked in some runners, and has even hit a HR over the limestone wall in right field.

But people’s eyes (including mine) are seeing something different, and that’s a lack of production in big moments and late in games. Hence the boo’s.

You can point to statistics like his .400 batting average with runners in scoring position, or his 1.125 OPS while the Twins have a lead in a game, and think to yourself, “Joe is back!”

That’s fine. But here are some other (admittedly small sample size, just like all these statistics, good or bad) stats that demonstrate clearly why many fans are frustrated with him thus far.

  • The Twins have not lead many games this year, and while they’ve been behind on the scoreboard, Mauer’s tri-slash line is .256/.304/.326, good for a .630 OPS. Not exactly bringing his team back into any games…
  • In the 7th, 8th, and 9th inning of all games, that tri-slash line is .200/.360/.200, a paltry .560 OPS. In those same innings, he has just 1 RBI and no extra-base hits. Not exactly producing in crunch time…
  • Baseball-Reference.com has a statistic that tracks situational hitting called “late and close” (admittedly, I’m not sure on the exact specifics of it), in those situations, his OPS is .397. You’re not reading that incorrectly.
  • Here’s some season tri-slash lines for Player X:

2001: .327/.378/.415
2004: .326/.374/.407
2009: .308/.365/.392
Mauer in 2012: .319/.410/.403. Pretty similar, right?

So, any guesses as to who Player X is? I’ll give you the answer in the form of another question: Would you pay Juan Pierre $23 million dollars?!

Personally, you won’t find me joining the boo-birds in getting on Joe’s case, as the title of this post states, it’s asinine.

He’s a once-in-a-lifetime hitter, playing the games most physically demanding position a vast majority of the time.

He’s won 3 batting titles.

He’s won an MVP.

He’s Joe freakin’ Mauer, a born and raised Minnesotan.

But I also think you’re a little off on your analysis if you feel this is the same Joe Mauer that won those batting titles and an MVP award. When it has mattered this year, when the Twins and their fans have needed him to come through up to this point, he simply put, hasn’t. It’s a “what have you done for me lately” situation.

In New York that would get you run out of town. In Minnesota, I guess you just have to deal with some boo’s until everything regresses (or progresses) back to the mean (which it will).

You can follow me on Twitter: @MNTwinsGUFS, send any thoughts or questions to: [email protected], or leave your comments below! (Also available at: http://Twins.GearUpForSports.com/blog/ )

Updated 04-26-2012 at 03:49 PM by Steve Lein

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Comments

  1. JB_Iowa's Avatar
    Thank you for this column. The other day when Andrew (Twins Fan From Afar) had a post on Mauer's stats with RISP, I asked about the discrepancy between the stats he cited and observation -- why I (and others) don't feel much confidence when Mauer comes up in high leverage situations (especially in later innings).

    You've helped to give some definition to those gut feelings/observations.

    I'm not a boo bird but I hope my confidence in Mauer grows as the season goes on.
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