03-17-2013, 04:05 AM #41
Look Mauer's job is not to be the hero but to win the game. He is a very smart player and knows that he has MVP Morneau walking to the plate after him. So certainly if he gets a good pitch he can take a crack at it but his bigger responsibility is to not end the inning. If he takes a walk the Twins still have opportunities.
03-17-2013, 11:05 AM #42
If you look at Mauer's heat maps, he likes the ball on the outer half. He has the best batted ball rates and the highest swing percentages in those zones. Consquently, that's where he's pitched least frequently.
Everyone in baseball is aware that that's Mauer's preference. If he took a 2-0 pitch middle-up (I'd like to see the location on pitchf/x), I think that's perfectly understandable. He hits middle-up well, but not as well as away-up or middle-away.
That's what you're supposed to do on 2-0 or 3-1. Take a swing at "your pitch," not just any old strike.
Its smart hitting.
Take a look at his heat map: Baseball Prospectus | PitchFX Hitter Profile: Joe Mauer
03-17-2013, 11:38 AM #43
Two bones to pick in this thread regarding Mauer's not swinging the bat in crucial situations. He has a career .873 OPS and a .959 OPS with RISP. that is partly inflated due to getting IBB almost 100 times but his BA and SLG are also better with RISP.
I also disagree with the WBC example. He had Giancarlo Stanton hitting behind him. There is absolutely nothing wrong with working a BB in front of one of the best young hitters in baseball that almost never GIDP. Yes, it would be great if he was a little more aggressive at the plate but this is a luxury that a #3 hitter has. In that case he was an extra base runner for Stanton. On the Twins he's an extra base runner for Willy and Morneau.
If anything this shows great leadership to the young players. It shows that they can work a BB instead of swinging at balls in the dirt or taking big hacks. It also shows that he believes in his teammates.