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Thread: Article: Why is Joe Mauer Such a Lightning Rod?

  1. #201
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dman View Post
    From my perspective the most important thing for a batter is to not make an out.
    And this is probably a pretty clear line that divides the camps. No one wants Mauer to make outs so that's a strawman argument. No one is asking that he chase pitches he can't hit. But people are complaining that he's taking hittable pitches in situations where the team desperately needs a big hit. And that can be exasperating to watch. Yesterday was just another example of it. That doesn't mean that people don't recognize Mauer's talent it is just they find something about him incredibly off-putting.

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  3. #202
    Quote Originally Posted by Dman View Post
    Certainly Mauer could be more aggressive at the plate if he chose to. You make a valid point there. From my perspective the most important thing for a batter is to not make an out. A walk, a single, a double, a HR doesn't matter the objective is to not make an out. If the pitcher is going to pitch to the corners and gives you very tough pitches to be successful you try and wait for a hitters count and get a good pitch. If that doesn't happen you take a walk.

    Given that Mauer's BA is currently worse than Plouffe and that Plouffe is a better power hitter than Mauer to me the walk makes sense in that context. Let the player with the better BA and better power get the chance to not make another out. Most coaches and athletes say that you take what the other team gives you and trust your teammates to come through. I think he did that.
    If Mauer is deferring to Plouffe after a weeks worth of production, I think that a big problem. That why I think Joe is more a complementary player than the player that is going to carry the team. And I think that is by choice not by talent. Sometimes a player need to outside his comfort zone to help the team win, and I don't see Mauer as that type of player.

  4. #203
    Senior Member All-Star Winston Smith's Avatar
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    I'm kind of or actually old and can remember the days of Killer, Tony O and later Kirby. There are some players like these guys that in a tight game you'd sit up in your seat a little because you knew these guys could change the game in that at bat. I've never felt that with Joe up. That doesn't mean anything negative about his ability other than imo he isn't the "game changer" that others are and have been.
    Does anyone think if Kirby batted yesterday with the winning runs in scoring position he'd have worked a walk?
    This comment brought to you from the Rosedale Mall studio by Hamm's Beer, brewed in the land of sky blue waters.

  5. #204
    Senior Member All-Star Shane Wahl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by twinsnorth49 View Post
    Where does this belief that to be a leader you have to be some loud mouth idiot come from? Honestly it's so cliche and myopic.

    Mauer appears to be a leader to me, he leads by example with his preparation, consistency and ability to do what's necessary to help his team. He's not a demonstrative goofball, so this means he's not a leader? I just don't get it.
    In fact the Colabello article on this very site makes it clear how Mauer leads by example.

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  7. #205
    Senior Member All-Star Shane Wahl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by crarko View Post
    I wonder how perceptions would change had Joe played most of his career in Fenway? I'd ask this because the hitter he most reminds me of is Wade Boggs. Definitely his personality does not.
    Career leader in doubles in such a scenario!

  8. #206
    Senior Member All-Star Shane Wahl's Avatar
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    I didn't see the game yesterday. In that final at bat, did he take one strike?

  9. #207
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dman View Post
    Touche'. Lot's of players have several mentor's and coaches throughout there career's. These people coach and mentor hundreds and some thousands of players in their lifetime and only a tiny fraction become successful why? Same person, same approach, same drills, Skill level was and is different. As you look it will always come down to that. Otherwise with a little Torri mentoring we all could become Denard Span etc.
    Agree, Span had a multitude of influences from his family, school, previous baseball teams, Twins management, ect... as well as this leadership and mentoring from Torii that all combined to make him the player he is. Talent is a component but talented players fail on teams all the time but will sometimes succeed for other teams, partially based coaching and mentoring so I am willing to say that all that stuff is irrelevent.

    Can someone point me to a source where Joe Mauer took a similar interest in a young catcher (Butera, Ramos, Morales, Pinto) or was he just "present"?

  10. #208
    Senior Member Triple-A D. Hocking's Avatar
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    Joe might not be overly vocal or mentor Torii Hunter style, but I don't think he is a nonpresence either. I heard one of the players interviewed (I think during Twinsfest) and he was asked if they thought without catching if Joe would be around more, and he replied that Joe has always been approachable and felt like he could ask him advice anytime.

    There was also an interview a couple of years ago where someone was watching behind the scenes and observed Joe (he did it discretely away from most of the the media) pull a visiting Buxton aside and help him out and give him some encouragement.

  11. #209
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    Quote Originally Posted by gunnarthor View Post
    And this is probably a pretty clear line that divides the camps. No one wants Mauer to make outs so that's a strawman argument. No one is asking that he chase pitches he can't hit. But people are complaining that he's taking hittable pitches in situations where the team desperately needs a big hit. And that can be exasperating to watch. Yesterday was just another example of it. That doesn't mean that people don't recognize Mauer's talent it is just they find something about him incredibly off-putting.
    I cannot defend the hit-able pitches argument as I have seen him take strike one right down the middle maybe thousands of time now. It is his approach and yes even I have been exasperated by it. And yet he continues to be successful at what he does and in some cases one of the best in baseball.

    Taking pitches is an important part of baseball as well. All teams try and get their players to do it. Eventually it forces the pitcher to tire and throw hit-able strikes as the pitch count rises. You can't swing at strike one all the time, but yes Mauer could every once in a while. I can't argue that point. At the same time until he becomes less successful it seems hard to complain about it.

  12. #210
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    Quote Originally Posted by kblack1011 View Post
    If Mauer is deferring to Plouffe after a weeks worth of production, I think that a big problem. That why I think Joe is more a complementary player than the player that is going to carry the team. And I think that is by choice not by talent. Sometimes a player need to outside his comfort zone to help the team win, and I don't see Mauer as that type of player.
    Mauer has hit a HR in 2% of his at bats. Plouffe has a HR in 4.5% and a 2B in 3.4%, or 7.9% if you add the two. So when Mauer takes a BB ahead of Plouffe, a plouffe HR or 2B scores the people on base when Mauer was up, and Mauer. Seems like the walk over pressing makes more sense.

    You can't pay a guy like Mauer because of who he is, then ask him to change because of his pay.
    Last edited by tobi0040; 04-10-2014 at 11:11 AM.

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  14. #211
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    Quote Originally Posted by jharaldson View Post
    Agree, Span had a multitude of influences from his family, school, previous baseball teams, Twins management, ect... as well as this leadership and mentoring from Torii that all combined to make him the player he is. Talent is a component but talented players fail on teams all the time but will sometimes succeed for other teams, partially based coaching and mentoring so I am willing to say that all that stuff is irrelevent.

    Can someone point me to a source where Joe Mauer took a similar interest in a young catcher (Butera, Ramos, Morales, Pinto) or was he just "present"?

    Yeah I've never heard of Joe really "mentoring" someone not that it hasn't happened but given who he is I doubt it would be like Hunter or Pucket. I think you are right about him in that regard I just don't think those are things are "necessary" for him to do.

    Coaching is not irrelevant but a player has to have a certain skill set before any of that matters and its influence only goes so far.

    Mentoring\leadership to me is more about sharing experience and typically about helping build confidence in someone who maybe hasn't "been there" before. Important but minimal in relation to skill in my opinion.

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    Somewhat off topic (which might be good, since I don't particularly care for the topic anymore ):

    Is it time to revisit the idea of "Joe Mauer, leadoff hitter"?

    - We don't currently have a prototypical leadoff hitter (or if we do in Hicks, we are still protecting him in the bottom of the order).

    - Mauer ain't catching anymore, so he doesn't have to rush to get his catching gear off before the bottom of the first

    - Also since he's not catching, he's playing everyday and thus could provide more stability at the top for an offense that could use some

    - He's obviously still our best OBP guy

    Assuming full health, something like would be cool:
    Mauer
    Dozier
    Kubel
    Cola/Willingham
    Arcia
    Plouffe
    Hicks
    Pinto
    SS du jour

    I guess back to the thread topic, haters still gonna hate ("we didn't pay him $23 mil to leadoff"), but I think it could be a better role for him, framing his skills and accomplishments better, and in a way, it could also be seen as Joe being a leader or "taking one for the team" (volunteering to be the table setter, rather than insisting on the glory of the RBI guy).

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  17. #213
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shane Wahl View Post
    I didn't see the game yesterday. In that final at bat, did he take one strike?
    Of course he did.

  18. #214
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dman View Post
    I cannot defend the hit-able pitches argument as I have seen him take strike one right down the middle maybe thousands of time now. It is his approach and yes even I have been exasperated by it. And yet he continues to be successful at what he does and in some cases one of the best in baseball.

    Taking pitches is an important part of baseball as well. All teams try and get their players to do it. Eventually it forces the pitcher to tire and throw hit-able strikes as the pitch count rises. You can't swing at strike one all the time, but yes Mauer could every once in a while. I can't argue that point. At the same time until he becomes less successful it seems hard to complain about it.
    I agree but I think that explains the *why* of why fans see him as a lightening rod.

  19. #215
    Senior Member All-Star cmathewson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Winston Smith View Post
    I'm kind of or actually old and can remember the days of Killer, Tony O and later Kirby. There are some players like these guys that in a tight game you'd sit up in your seat a little because you knew these guys could change the game in that at bat. I've never felt that with Joe up. That doesn't mean anything negative about his ability other than imo he isn't the "game changer" that others are and have been.
    Does anyone think if Kirby batted yesterday with the winning runs in scoring position he'd have worked a walk?
    No, Kirby would have taken a hack and made an out two thirds of the time. I watched that at bat and I didn't see any very hittable pitches. He was being pitched around with two outs in the bottom of the ninth. An out ends the game. I don't blame him for taking two pitchers pitches and four balls. It's pretty easy to play Monday morning quarterback.
    "If you'da been thinkin' you wouldn't 'a thought that.."

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  21. #216
    Twins News Team All-Star TheLeviathan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by crarko View Post
    Similarly, there is a difference between working the pitcher for a walk and being pitched around. As I watched that at-bat I mostly saw the latter; maybe that's my own bias kicking in.

    But it doesn't surprise me that Joe did better when there was a healthy Morneau hitting behind him. One wonders what impact a healthy Sano might have in the future.
    I think this is a perception bias. There was a time when Mauer was being pitched around, but I'm not sure that's the case anymore. The man is typically in the top 10 in pitches per plate appearance, but his walk total has rarely been at an abnormally high rate/elite. If he was being pitched around, with his eye, we'd see more walks.

    Guys that get pitched around are Trout, Votto, etc. In fact, I'd argue Mauer is the least "pitched around" hitter I've seen in a long time. Pitchers of all ilk go up to him early in counts and groove strikes simply by virtue of his reputation to take pitches.

    Mauer has every right to be selective, but people are too frequently equating that with being pitched around. I'd argue he as close to the opposite of that as any great hitter in the league.

  22. #217
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    Quote Originally Posted by kblack1011 View Post
    If Mauer is deferring to Plouffe after a weeks worth of production, I think that a big problem. That why I think Joe is more a complementary player than the player that is going to carry the team. And I think that is by choice not by talent. Sometimes a player need to outside his comfort zone to help the team win, and I don't see Mauer as that type of player.
    The other thing you have to consider here is that once the bases were loaded the pitcher had to throw strikes and likely good ones. Plouffe was going to see better pitches than Mauer. The other team likely wanted Mauer to chase and they had a base open. Maybe they preferred to pitch to Plouffe I don't know. At any rate I don't think it was horrible to take the walk in that situation.

  23. #218
    Senior Member All-Star crarko's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheLeviathan View Post
    I think this is a perception bias. There was a time when Mauer was being pitched around, but I'm not sure that's the case anymore. The man is typically in the top 10 in pitches per plate appearance, but his walk total has rarely been at an abnormally high rate/elite. If he was being pitched around, with his eye, we'd see more walks.

    Guys that get pitched around are Trout, Votto, etc. In fact, I'd argue Mauer is the least "pitched around" hitter I've seen in a long time. Pitchers of all ilk go up to him early in counts and groove strikes simply by virtue of his reputation to take pitches.

    Mauer has every right to be selective, but people are too frequently equating that with being pitched around. I'd argue he as close to the opposite of that as any great hitter in the league.
    Confirming again why eyewitness testimony is so unreliable; we all see what we expect to, don't we? It does provide Penn and Teller with a nice living, though.

  24. #219
    Senior Member All-Star cmathewson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brock Beauchamp View Post
    Was Rod Carew a great hitter?

    I really don't understand why we don't accept that not making an out is the key to offense.

    Yeah, some hitters don't make outs AND hit homers. They're rare.
    This. See also, Boggs, Wade and Gwynn, Tony. No one argues that they were elite. The Mauer hate reminds me of stories of the Williams hate in Boston. After he hit .400, they couldn't accept .350.
    "If you'da been thinkin' you wouldn't 'a thought that.."

  25. #220
    Twins News Team All-Star TheLeviathan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by crarko View Post
    Confirming again why eyewitness testimony is so unreliable; we all see what we expect to, don't we? It does provide Penn and Teller with a nice living, though.
    True but I think the stats show your view on how often he is pitched around to have some flaws.

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