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

  1. #241
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheLeviathan View Post
    Similar, sure. They are different, though. Now you can disagree with Verlander (and should given the matchup numbers) but clearly there is a perception of Mauer as a hitter not to pitch around but to challenge.
    Other than the quote from Verlander, which appears to be a foolish position on his part based on their head to head numbers, I don't think it's clear at all that pitchers hold this perception. Mauer ranks highly year to year in both intentional and unintentional walks. Maybe some/many fans have that perception, but I don't see any evidence in the numbers that indicate pitchers feel that way. Maybe I misunderstood your point.

  2. #242
    Twins News Team All-Star TheLeviathan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Willihammer View Post
    Since 2010, Mauer is not even in the top 100 batters with the fewest strikes seen. But he has the 3rd lowest swings percent. He looks at a lot of hittable pitches, I don't think there's any question about that.

    edit: go to fangraphs, sort Z-swing%. Mauer is 6th from the bottom among qualified batters since 2010.
    Good facts. His first pitch strike percentage was lower than I thought too.

    to the last poster: no his unintentional walks are nowhere near the top end. Go look that up. He does well, no doubt, but he's isn't a league leader.

    also, just to be clear, I'm not slighting Mauer. He has an excellent eye at the plate and his OBP is a credit to him. But the idea that he doesn't hit aggressively in key situations is that he doesn't see hittable pitches is false IMO. That excuse doesn't fly to me.

  3. #243
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    Quote Originally Posted by Willihammer View Post
    Since 2010, Mauer is not even in the top 100 batters with the fewest strikes seen. But he has the 3rd lowest swings percent. He looks at a lot of hittable pitches, I don't think there's any question about that.

    edit: go to fangraphs, sort Z-swing%. Mauer is 6th from the bottom among qualified batters since 2010.
    Link:
    http://www.fangraphs.com/leaders.asp...ers=0&sort=4,a

    He's right next to another hitter who is notably too passive, Mike Trout.

    Also, he's 13th lowest in that time frame for 1st pitch strike percentage (F-Strike%). Is the best way to pitch him really to groove the first pitch?

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  5. #244
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    Quote Originally Posted by spycake View Post
    I agree that Mauer is great, but it's not fair to compare Mauer's OPS through age 30 with Boggs/Gwynn through age 41 (or Olerud through 36). There should be era/ballpark adjustments too. I don't think your conclusion is at all clear given that problematic data.
    I agree in most cases guys decline after 30. In Mauer's case I think not catching will slow the decline a bit or not cause his decline to be as severe. But even if he does decline, he has to come down 15 basis points to average out to Boggs average and 26 basis points to be in Gwynn territory. That is probably a realistic drop for Mauer, but my point is that even if Mauer is in the range, we are comparing with a guy who played 10 years at catcher with a 1B, 3B, and OF.

  6. #245
    Quote Originally Posted by tobi0040 View Post
    I think it is unrealistic to expect a catcher to end up with 3,000 hits. Mauer actually has a higher OPS (.873) than Olerud (.863), Boggs (.858), or Gwynn (.847). Given that he had that OPS through 8 years at a position that generates little offense, it is safe to conclude Mauer has added more value than all three.

    Which comes back to, the criticism of Mauer is a little silly and he is a great player.
    Good thing Joe's no longer a catcher, so if he wins 4 batting titles from the age of 34-37 like Gywnn, I'll have no problem putting him in the same category.

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  8. #246
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheLeviathan View Post
    to the last poster: no his unintentional walks are nowhere near the top end. Go look that up. He does well, no doubt, but he's isn't a league leader.

    also, just to be clear, I'm not slighting Mauer. He has an excellent eye at the plate and his OBP is a credit to him. But the idea that he doesn't hit aggressively in key situations is that he doesn't see hittable pitches is false IMO. That excuse doesn't fly to me.
    Define "nowhere near the top end". Since 2010, Mauer ranks 46th in unintentional walk rate among 287 players with 1000+ PA. His rate is almost equal to David Ortiz's. Ortiz ranks 12th overall, 44th unintentional; Mauer 24th overall, 46th unintentional.

    I'm kinda not sure what this is supposed to mean anymore, but I enjoyed the database queries.

  9. #247
    Senior Member All-Star Willihammer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by spycake View Post
    Link:
    http://www.fangraphs.com/leaders.asp...ers=0&sort=4,a

    He's right next to another hitter who is notably too passive, Mike Trout.
    Right, just because they're hittable, doesn't mean they all turn into hits. Since Mauer isn't a home run hitter - and I maintain his lack of power is at the crux of the entire lightning rod debate - there's not much reason for him to swing. If the likely best outcome of your at-bat is a single, it makes sense to give the pitcher every opportunity to work himself into trouble I think. And Mauer does that. Especially if you get ahead 1-0 as often as he does.

    Mauer has had his share of flops with men on base and 2 outs but then there are games like last year in Cinci. Down 1, men on base, 9th inning. 2 strike count and Aroldis Chapman on the mound. Your choice is 100 mph fastball or 90 mph LH slider. Mauer got the slider and hit a double, and won the game for the Twins. Chapman blew his first save of the year. I think Mauer was responsible for something like 25% of AC's earned runs for all of 2013, and he did it on that swing. I don't think there's another LH hitter who could have done what he did in that spot. Maybe even including Votto.

    edit: OK it was 2012 and Chapman's 3rd blown save. This is why you trust stats, not your memory.

    ... and there was nobody on base. Nope, just a bases empty double. Hammer took Chapman deep for the game winner.

    http://www.baseball-reference.com/bo...01206240.shtml

    Well that's the last time I type something from memory.
    Last edited by Willihammer; 04-10-2014 at 03:02 PM.

  10. #248
    Senior Member Triple-A h2oface's Avatar
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    Would have been nice for Joe to answer the call and respond with a great day at the plate today for all us supporters. But alas...... another o-fer. Two K's, one looking and one swinging, and little two ground outs, one into a double play, and a sweep by the Oakland A's.

    I seem to remember Mauer often getting behind 0-1 and not getting ahead 1-0. Pitchers are usually laying it in there because they know he probably won't swing..... what is the percentage of takes on the first pitch for him anyway? 80%? 90%? Today....... all takes on the first pitch, three for strikes, and one for a ball, but it was right on the upper part of the strikezone, right down the middle, and by rule, could have been a strike, or, for many hitters, the meat they are hoping for to drive it out of the park.

    As for memory......... we see what we want to see, and hear what we want to hear.
    Last edited by h2oface; 04-10-2014 at 03:20 PM.

  11. #249
    Twins News Team All-Star TheLeviathan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by spycake View Post
    Mauer ranks 46th in unintentional walk rate
    I wouldn't call 46th "highly". It's good and contributes to his excellent OBP, but he isn't a walks machine. I mean, he's half of what the top 4-5 typically are at. People treat it like he's top 10 in walks every year and that simply isn't true. (Even his detractors often exaggerate this)

  12. #250
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    Quote Originally Posted by kblack1011 View Post
    Good thing Joe's no longer a catcher, so if he wins 4 batting titles from the age of 34-37 like Gywnn, I'll have no problem putting him in the same category.
    This thread is kind of silly. We knock Joe for a lack of power and then say Mauer is not in Tony Gwynn's category. Joe only needs 30 HR from here on out to overtake Gwynn and has his OPS already.

    Joe had an OPS of .873 from 22-30, the average for a catcher is .748.

    Gwynn averaged .847 for his career, much less of a gap between the average corner OF of .777. I get that it was a different era. But the gap is larger than the difference in era.

    I expect Mauer to have about the same as the average 1B from here. Personally, I think Mauer should be playing LF or RF for the next 4-5 years anyway. To widen the gap between him and his peers so we can sign a bat. He is athletic and has the arm.

    But again, 99% of the criticism of Mauer is a joke. He if a HOF player and we should be thankful he is on our team.

    http://scoresheetwiz.tripod.com/id136.html

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    Deleted duplicate message

  14. #252
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    Quote Originally Posted by h2oface View Post
    Would have been nice for Joe to answer the call and respond with a great day at the plate today for all us supporters. But alas...... another o-fer...
    He is hitting .250 9 games in and has a career .323 average. A lot fewer o-fer's than most.

  15. #253
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    Quote Originally Posted by shimrod View Post
    You miss my point; his position has changed. Will his game change? He's now filling a run-producing position with little defensive value.
    Ten days into the season, it's pretty safe to say that's yet to be determined.

    In the mean time, yes, we "apologists" will continue to point to the decade he spent as a Hall of Fame caliber hitter, "for a catcher". The words you chose made it appear that such a standard is widely discredited, when the opposite is in fact true.

  16. #254
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    Quote Originally Posted by tobi0040 View Post
    He is hitting .250 9 games in and has a career .323 average. A lot fewer o-fer's than most.
    Thanks for the stat. I am well aware of this stat, and that facts are facts. I did say "us" supporters. I also remember that Joe Mauer didn't even play until May 1st in 2009, his MVP year. And I remember Justin Morneau was batting .202 on May 6th and .233 on May 27th in 2006, his MVP year. The season has always been a marathon, and not a sprint. It is nice when they come out of the blocks strong, but a lot of good things can still happen to great players when that doesn't happen.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kblack1011 View Post
    But being an elite hitter at the worst offensive position is not saying much. The reason there are not many elite hitting catchers is because it a catcher can hit they move them to a position where they can play 155 games.
    So somehow Mauer's value was diminished because most teams during his catching career relied on catchers who were half the hitter he was?

    You realize that's a fantastic argument in favor of the notion that Mauer has been incredibly valuable, right?

  18. #256
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    Quote Originally Posted by h2oface View Post
    Thanks for the stat. I am well aware of this stat, and that facts are facts. I did say "us" supporters. I also remember that Joe Mauer didn't even play until May 1st in 2009, his MVP year. And I remember Justin Morneau was batting .202 on May 6th and .233 on May 27th in 2006, his MVP year. The season has always been a marathon, and not a sprint. It is nice when they come out of the blocks strong, but a lot of good things can still happen to great players when that doesn't happen.
    Thank you for the clarification. It was hard to reconcile "another o-fer" when referencing a guy who was first and is probably at worst second or third in BA among active players.

    http://voices.yahoo.com/joe-mauer-ow...-12136050.html

  19. #257
    You know how Mauer could impress me? March into Ryan's office and volunteer to play LF and demand they sign Morales to play 1st base.

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  21. #258
    Twins Moderator All-Star ChiTownTwinsFan's Avatar
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    Moderator note: Let's leave out the back and forth chiding of one another. It serves no purpose other than to get tempers flared. Keep the discussion on track, please, and leave the personal stuff out.

  22. #259
    Most people still like Mauer as a player and are willing to think he's a decent person. We're also probably still proud of the successful local boy. However, his overall value appears lower than his cost.

    If Mauer had remained a catcher, he would be considered "one of" the most valuable catchers today, but definitely not the clearly best catcher, which his compensation would suggest he should be. Depending on who's counting, he would be considered more or less valuable than at least Posey, McCann, Perez, and Y. Molina.

    Now that he's moved to first, his relative value declines further, because his defensive skillset is no longer rare. As a first basemen, he "may be" one of the 50 most valuable players in the majors. However, his compensation suggests that he should be one of the five or ten most valuable players in the majors. He's a good player, but not one of the dominant players in the league. We could all probably come up with dozens of players for whom we'd be happy to receive in an even-up trade, especially when factoring in compensation.

    Because of his compensation, fans believe that the Twins have passed on other players because of salary requirements and may still be doing so. There has also been some damaged trust between the team and fans that is centered around Mauer, due to the unusual explanations for his lack of performance during the first year of his mega-contract and a suspicion that the contract was a calculation by the team that was more focused on putting fans in the seats than on winning a championship, despite any public statements to the contrary. Further, he's been the main guy on a team that has been tremendously disappointing for three straight years and appears headed for a fourth. Partly because of his contract, the team has also appeared directionless, because they've been neither truly rebuilding nor capable of succeeding. The root of the dissatisfaction stems from these issues.

  23. #260
    Quote Originally Posted by tobi0040 View Post
    This thread is kind of silly. We knock Joe for a lack of power and then say Mauer is not in Tony Gwynn's category. Joe only needs 30 HR from here on out to overtake Gwynn and has his OPS already.

    Joe had an OPS of .873 from 22-30, the average for a catcher is .748.

    Gwynn averaged .847 for his career, much less of a gap between the average corner OF of .777. I get that it was a different era. But the gap is larger than the difference in era.

    I expect Mauer to have about the same as the average 1B from here. Personally, I think Mauer should be playing LF or RF for the next 4-5 years anyway. To widen the gap between him and his peers so we can sign a bat. He is athletic and has the arm.

    But again, 99% of the criticism of Mauer is a joke. He if a HOF player and we should be thankful he is on our team.

    http://scoresheetwiz.tripod.com/id136.html
    Time will tell, but I think five years from now the comparison to Carew and Gwynn will not be close. Last year he was a .240 hitter with RISP. I'm a long time Twins fan, but I don't see a player on the upswing ready to carry a team. Which I think was were we started the whole conversation. The best case is Buxton and Sano are stars and Mauer can set the table for them.

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