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

  1. #281
    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Brooks View Post
    I guess I just fundamentally disagree with you that just because he is a great hitter means he is perfect and cannot ever be criticized for any reason, at any time.
    Sure, but where did I ever say that? By all mean bitch all you want but when your criticizing a legitimate hall of famer it better have some meat I said complaining about not swinging at first pitches is about as relevant as adjusting your cup. Most other complaints in this thread enter the same realm.

  2. #282
    Senior Member All-Star cmathewson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jokin View Post
    For the record, both #1 and #5 are (very) hittable pitches. Aren't "pitchers' pitches" on one of the corners, just inside (or just outside) the strike zone?
    Besides, the walk was not useless in the situation (runners on first and second, two outs). Down by three runs, they needed base runners. Loading the bases gets them a double away from tying it. It has the same affect as a single. The odds of an extra base hit were pretty low. The odds of a walk were pretty high. He was just playing the odds.
    "If you'da been thinkin' you wouldn't 'a thought that.."

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    Quote Originally Posted by USAFChief View Post
    Can you point me to where you determined that Mauer has "the highest average in baseball when he makes contact with the first pitch?" You might be right, but can you confirm that?
    Gladly

    http://www.beyondtheboxscore.com/201...-pitch-hitting

    He hit .484 with a .796 slugging on the first pitch.

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  5. #284
    Senior Member All-Star LaBombo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Brooks View Post
    I guess I just fundamentally disagree with you that just because he is a great hitter means he is perfect and cannot ever be criticized for any reason, at any time.
    Nobody is saying that. The people apologizing for Mauer's HoF-ish career are wondering, as the N^2 article does, why the Twins' best player is also its most frequently and puzzlingly criticized.

  6. #285
    Senior Member All-Star cmathewson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kblack1011 View Post
    All these players have over 3,000 hits. Mauer has 1,400 so it's unlikely he will get close to 3,000. I think John Olerud is a more comparable.
    Olerud never won a batting title did he? Ole rude never won a gold glove or an MVP did he? Mauer is the first catcher ever to win three batting titles. That makes hi elite.
    "If you'da been thinkin' you wouldn't 'a thought that.."

  7. #286
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    Quote Originally Posted by cmathewson View Post
    I think this chart is deceptive. Maybe he should have taken a hack at the first pitch, like Plouffe did, and made an out. The second strike was a pitcher's pitch. It had Deduno type movement. Even though it crossed the front of the plate there, it was caught outside and low.
    Why do you automatically assume that he would make an out had he swung at the first pitch right down the middle of the plate?
    I don't have a heat map handy, but I'm guessing the AVG for a hitter of Joe's caliber is off the charts when it comes to fastballs right down the middle, it might even be over .500.

    If your argument is that he MIGHT have made an out, well by that logic no player should ever swing at any pitch, because if they do they might make an out.

  8. #287
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    Quote Originally Posted by BHtwins View Post
    Sure, but where did I ever say that? By all mean bitch all you want but when your criticizing a legitimate hall of famer it better have some meat I said complaining about not swinging at first pitches is about as relevant as adjusting your cup. Most other complaints in this thread enter the same realm.
    No, swinging at first pitches is nothing like adjusting your cup.
    When the first pitch is a fastball right down the middle, and likely to be the best pitch you see all AB, I think it garners a bit more of a debate then adjusting your cup does.

  9. #288
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    Quote Originally Posted by cmathewson View Post
    Besides, the walk was not useless in the situation (runners on first and second, two outs). Down by three runs, they needed base runners. Loading the bases gets them a double away from tying it. It has the same affect as a single. The odds of an extra base hit were pretty low. The odds of a walk were pretty high. He was just playing the odds.
    Mauer has 419 career XBH's, versus 519 career non intentional walks. So while yes, the odds are better that he walks than gets an XBH, its not as wide of a margin as you would suggest.

  10. #289
    Twins Moderator MVP USAFChief's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DJL44 View Post
    Gladly

    http://www.beyondtheboxscore.com/201...-pitch-hitting

    He hit .484 with a .796 slugging on the first pitch.
    I think you are misreading the data in that article. It only shows the 15 players most likely to swing at the first pitch, and the 15 least likely. There are thousands of other players over that time frame. Of those 30 players, Mauer has the highest BA when putting the ball in play on the first pitch. We still don't know about the BA of those thousands of other players.

    It does show Mauer as the least likely player to swing at the first pitch of any player.

    I think the data shows those of us who think Mauer should be more aggressive to have some data on our side. He has great success doing so, but almost never does it.
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  12. #290
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    Quote Originally Posted by LaBombo View Post
    Nobody is saying that. The people apologizing for Mauer's HoF-ish career are wondering, as the N^2 article does, why the Twins' best player is also its most frequently and puzzlingly criticized.
    I don't think Mauer is nearly the most frequently criticized Twin.

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  14. #291
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    Quote Originally Posted by USAFChief View Post
    I think you are misreading the data in that article. It only shows the 15 players most likely to swing at the first pitch, and the 15 least likely. There are thousands of other players over that time frame. Of those 30 players, Mauer has the highest BA when putting the ball in play on the first pitch. We still don't know about the BA of those thousands of other players.

    It does show Mauer as the least likely player to swing at the first pitch of any player.

    I think the data shows those of us who think Mauer should be more aggressive to have some data on our side. He has great success doing so, but almost never does it.
    I don't see how it's possible for Mauer to have more success when swinging at the first pitch, as I've been told its about as relevant as adjusting one's cup. I wonder what Joe's AVG and SLG are after he adjusts his cup? I think we need that data to truly know the whole story.

  15. #292
    Twins Moderator MVP USAFChief's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dman View Post
    I guess I don't understand why a walk would be less valuable than a single on the first pitch. Isn't the idea to make the pitcher work by taking pitches and then still get on base. If you ascribe to the theory of taking pitches which most teams do then isn't taking pitches more advantageous than not taking pitches? I am not sure I understand can you elaborate?
    I'm too lazy to go look it up, but if memory serves, the math nerds have calculated a single to be worth something like 25 percent more than a walk. The primary difference is in the extra bases for base runners that can result from a single. Base runners can't go first to third, or score from second, on a walk, but often do on a single. A ball in play also has a small chance of resulting in an error that can further advance the hitter or base runner(s).

    Extra base hits multiply that effect.

    As to "the idea" of offense, I think it's to score runs. Taking pitches is one method that may advance your chances, but it's not the goal.
    Last edited by USAFChief; 04-10-2014 at 09:54 PM.
    Every post is not every other post. - a wise man

  16. #293
    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Brooks View Post
    No, swinging at first pitches is nothing like adjusting your cup.
    When the first pitch is a fastball right down the middle, and likely to be the best pitch you see all AB, I think it garners a bit more of a debate then adjusting your cup does.
    No it really is about that irrelevant.

    There is absolutely 0 data that suggest any meaningful correlation and the issue has been studied long ago.

    What they have found is that the best hitters have outstanding stats when swinging at 0-0 pitches but its because they ONLY swing at 0-0 when its a strong hittable pitch. Joe Mauer fits that mold perfectly with his 1.015 OPS on 0-0 counts.

    There is absolutely no strong objective evidence that swinging more on 0-0 will improve offensive performance one iota. When you post some, I will revisit my view on this issue.

    Until then....yeah....same as adjusting his cup

  17. #294
    Senior Member All-Star Sconnie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BHtwins View Post
    I found some things shocking when I looked around because of this thread.

    Mauer's WAR7 is freaking 5th EVER among catchers. Thats Johnny Bench, Gary Carter, Ivan Rodriguz kind of rarified air.

    Also his JAWS score is 13th RIGHT NOW and the only one even close career-wise at 1180ish games and 11 seasons is Thurmon Munson.

    In my opinion, he just has to perform marginally well for a few seasons regardless of position and he almost is a hall of fame shoo-in.

    Of course, he might make the baseball hall of fame in Cooperstown but he apparantly wont make the Twins fans hall of fame because he didnt swing enough at first pitches.
    If only those stats were used in HOF voting...

  18. #295
    Senior Member All-Star cmathewson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Brooks View Post
    I guess I just fundamentally disagree with you that just because he is a great hitter means he is perfect and cannot ever be criticized for any reason, at any time.
    Look. Joe will be the first one to admit he is not perfect. He goes through stretches where he's pull happy (like his 0-12 to start the year), and he rolls over a lot of balls to second base. He has to hit like he does to get base hits. Should he have more power with his body type? Absolutely. And he has tried. When he tries, he almost always goes into a slump. So he has resigned himself to driving the ball the other way because it is the best way for him to hit. That's not ideal.

    The thing that gets me is that there are 24 other guys on the team who are worse, and yet he is the one who takes most of the shots in the media and the blogosphere. Don't you find that odd? You'd think fans would have a lot more to complain about. But, I guess it's like Yogi used to say, "they're not happy unless they're miserable."
    "If you'da been thinkin' you wouldn't 'a thought that.."

  19. #296
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    Quote Originally Posted by BHtwins View Post
    No it really is about that irrelevant.

    There is absolutely 0 data that suggest any meaningful correlation and the issue has been studied long ago.

    What they have found is that the best hitters have outstanding stats when swinging at 0-0 pitches but its because they ONLY swing at 0-0 when its a strong hittable pitch. Joe Mauer fits that mold perfectly with his 1.015 OPS on 0-0 counts.

    There is absolutely no strong objective evidence that swinging more on 0-0 will improve offensive performance one iota. When you post some, I will revisit my view on this issue.

    Until then....yeah....same as adjusting his cup
    So a fastball down the middle is not a strong, hittable pitch?

  20. #297
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    Quote Originally Posted by cmathewson View Post
    Look. Joe will be the first one to admit he is not perfect. He goes through stretches where he's pull happy (like his 0-12 to start the year), and he rolls over a lot of balls to second base. He has to hit like he does to get base hits. Should he have more power with his body type? Absolutely. And he has tried. When he tries, he almost always goes into a slump. So he has resigned himself to driving the ball the other way because it is the best way for him to hit. That's not ideal.

    The thing that gets me is that there are 24 other guys on the team who are worse, and yet he is the one who takes most of the shots in the media and the blogosphere. Don't you find that odd? You'd think fans would have a lot more to complain about. But, I guess it's like Yogi used to say, "they're not happy unless they're miserable."
    No, I don't disagree with any of that.
    I just think people should be able to criticize certain aspects of his game without being burned at the stake, which is what is happening in this thread.

    I don't understand why a person cannot BOTH think that Mauer is a HOF player, and also has flaws that he could work on, as I do.

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  22. #298
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    Quote Originally Posted by USAFChief View Post
    There are thousands of other players over that time frame.
    Not thousands, they gave a minimum 1500 PAs, just a couple hundred. He's batting 150 points higher than league average. If he tried doing it more often he would be less successful at it.

    Is the biggest criticism anyone can come up with for Mauer is he's too picky swinging at the first pitch? That's not much of a criticism. He's very successful with his approach. It certainly doesn't explain why people whine so much.

  23. #299
    Senior Member Triple-A D. Hocking's Avatar
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    This thread really shows how you can dissect hitter in a multitude of ways and 1,000,000 different stats that can be looked used in a baseball argument.

    I am a bit in awe of people's passion to continue their debate and coming up with new numbers and statistics (although I think I would be scared to meet some of you in a dark alley, esp. if you were armed with a calculator).

    I also suspect some of you are going to have to agree to disagree.

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  25. #300
    Senior Member All-Star JB_Iowa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LaBombo View Post
    The people apologizing for Mauer's HoF-ish career are wondering, as the N^2 article does, why the Twins' best player is also its most frequently and puzzlingly criticized.
    You are trying to understand this based on facts and figures. The term "lightning rod" brings to mind an emotional reaction NOT a logical one. If you are trying to understand negative reactions to Mauer by trying to understand facts, figures and logic, you will never get it.

    He may actually be better able to swing the emotional reaction back his way as a first baseman than he could have as a catcher. That is ironic because from a logical standpoint, he was more valuable as a catcher.

    But if he can stay healthy and produce at the plate at a near-average level for his career, he can probably swing the emotional pendulum back his way a little (although it would help substantially if the team would start winning). But just BEING on the field every day would be helpful in repairing his image -- don't you remember all the comments about people who felt cheated because they could never see Mauer play on a getaway day or in a day game after a night game?

    Most fans aren't going to sit and analyze Mauer's performance based on WAR or any other logical factors. They are going to make their judgments based on how his performance makes them feel and based on what they see (that's why being on the field is important) and what is memorable.

    You can argue for days based on facts and figures but that will never get you to the reason that Mauer is a lightning rod

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