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Article: A Closer Look At Joe Mauer's Struggles

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#1 Parker Hageman

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Posted 30 May 2014 - 12:12 AM

You can view the page at http://twinsdaily.co...uer-s-Struggles

#2 blairpaul715

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Posted 30 May 2014 - 12:37 AM

Well, one of the ways to combat this is to hit mistake pitches, I don't know how many times on the 1st and or 2nd pitch, that the ball is in his wheelhouse and he lets it go by..........that has always been disturbing to me, but he has always hit well , so it was no big deal, now that teams are shifting on him, after strike 1 and or strike 2t hey keep hitting the outside forcing him to roll over a grounder or hit into the shift............I think the best remedy to this is to hit on first or second pitches more...........I think most of the bashing is because he shows no emotion and most people feel that showing emotion, is caring, even if not true.

#3 dannyboy

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Posted 30 May 2014 - 02:49 AM

It's a GREAT joke....Touchy,huh ?

#4 SarasotaBill

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Posted 30 May 2014 - 05:23 AM

Adjustments to adjustments.

Mauer needs to make adjustments (get closer to the plate, be more aggressive early in the count, ....) or

Trade him to Boston after the season - (Joe will be tired of the shift if he doesn't adjust).

#5 kblack1011

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Posted 30 May 2014 - 05:40 AM

I think people try to sell his struggles as just a slow start, but you can see these problems last year. His strike out increased and he could hit with RISP. His average began to drop fast last year:
RISP
2012 .372
2013 .239
2014 .189

As the lineup expectation of Mauer has increased, his production has decreased. Like most hitters, he may only see 1 good pitch an ABnd if it's early in the count, he's likely to take it. Scott Baker threw him a pitch right down the middle his first AB and he just took it. He did it again the second AB, and he drilled a double to right.

I do wish we would get over Mauer hitting .400 in Boston. Just for the record, in 182 AB's, he hitting below his career average in Boston.

#6 Seth Stohs

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Posted 30 May 2014 - 06:12 AM

I think part of the point is that we have seen an attempt to adjust. Parker showed an increase in the number of times he has pulled the ball the last 2 weeks.

I also think he has lost a lot of singles up the middle. You're always taught to hit it back up the middle. Unfortunatel, shortstops are playing him there now too.

#7 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 30 May 2014 - 06:22 AM

Jack Goin and his team shouldn't only analyze free agents. I hope that his team is allowed some leeway to approach subjects like this one.

In a perfect world, he'd have video and spray charts to bring to Mauer and tell him "This is why you're getting killed out there. What are you going to do about it?" Jack can't make the adjustment for Joe but he should be helping him determine the root of the problem and give Joe the information he needs to succeed.

#8 JohnFoley

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Posted 30 May 2014 - 06:37 AM

This is interesting to juxtapose against Jayson Stark's new article at ESPN: http://espn.go.com/m...t-proof-hitters

#9 SDTwinsFan

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Posted 30 May 2014 - 07:03 AM

I think he turns this around, but it will take a major adjustment. He needs to start swinging. He is too good to be "this" bad. That said, hasn't it been noted that his LD% is higher than his career this year?

It certainly seems that a lot of balls have been hit really hard, only to find a glove.

#10 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 30 May 2014 - 07:13 AM

That said, hasn't it been noted that his LD% is higher than his career this year?


Yep. Looking over the stat line, Joe looks just fine from a health perspective. After a rough start, he stopped striking out (8 Ks in past 28 days over 77 PAs). He's lining balls all over the field, posting a LD% of 28.7, a career best.

They're not falling in. That leads me to believe he's getting killed by shifts. Or at the very least, that's a significant part of his problem. He could also being going through an incredible streak of bad luck, though I can't chalk all his struggles off as bad luck.

#11 Kirby_Waved_At_Me

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Posted 30 May 2014 - 07:17 AM

I found this interesting (from July 2013):
http://blogs.thescor...oach-joe-mauer/

Do you do a lot of video work between games? Joe Mauer - Yeah. I use video daily, usually to go over the opposition starting pitcher just to see some previous at bats I’ve had against him and to see what he’s done lately.

You mention staying true to what got you here. What kind of adjustments are required as you learn the league etc. JM – You’re constantly making adjustments. One of the biggest things is body of work, rather than the amount of work. Used to be able to get into the cage and swing swing swing but now it’s making sure I feel good and head out there, saving some for the game.

#12 mike wants wins

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Posted 30 May 2014 - 07:19 AM

In addition, his strikeout rate is up, and his walk rate is down. This is not just about shifts, this is also on Mauer.

#13 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 30 May 2014 - 07:21 AM

In addition, his strikeout rate is up, and his walk rate is down. This is not just about shifts, this is also on Mauer.


His K % is just over 10% in the past month. The strikeouts were certainly concerning in the early going but he has dropped that number considerably in the past few weeks.

Joe appears to be making adjustments, they're simply not working yet.

#14 SDTwinsFan

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Posted 30 May 2014 - 07:23 AM

In addition, his strikeout rate is up, and his walk rate is down. This is not just about shifts, this is also on Mauer.

True, but it seems--from me watching games--he is getting strikes called where it could be a ball. Again, I have nothing to back this up, but it seems he should have a few more walks, less Ks, strictly from better zone awareness of a few umps.

#15 mike wants wins

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Posted 30 May 2014 - 07:27 AM

Sorry, I see this whole effort as a way to excuse him from not producing, blaming the opposition and not taking accountability. That rubs me the wrong way.
Lighten up Francis....

#16 SDTwinsFan

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Posted 30 May 2014 - 07:28 AM

I also think that Joe is swinging at worse pitches now later in counts to avoid the squeeze he has been given by some umps. Those bad pitches turn into weak grounders frequently.

#17 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 30 May 2014 - 07:30 AM

Sorry, I see this whole effort as a way to excuse him from not producing, blaming the opposition and not taking accountability. That rubs me the wrong way.


It's not excuse-making, it's analysis of the situation. No one is saying Mauer's current production level is acceptable but a nuanced breakdown of why this is happening is far more enlightening than "Joe Mauer sucks" or "chicks dig the long ball, Joe".

#18 mike wants wins

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Posted 30 May 2014 - 07:32 AM

Except we left off the whole discussion of ISO, strikeouts, and walks, and only talked about shifts......I know not most will agree, but to me, this is just another example of the Twins and their accountability problems, it is always something oustide their control that causes bad things to happen.
Lighten up Francis....

#19 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 30 May 2014 - 07:35 AM

Except we left off the whole discussion of ISO, strikeouts, and walks, and only talked about shifts......I know not most will agree, but to me, this is just another example of the Twins and their accountability problems, it is always something oustide their control that causes bad things to happen.


Well, the shifts *might* be directly linked to that ISO, as evidenced by Joe's career high line drive percentage.

The strikeouts were a huge concern. Thankfully, he's shown recent ability to make better contact (11% K rate over past 28 days).

The base on balls, eh... Hard to say. His ISO D is still decent but he hasn't been taking walks lately. A concern, a change in approach, or both? Hard to say.

This isn't an easy situation to figure out and the answer doesn't appear to be "Joe is cooked" or "swing harder".

#20 mike wants wins

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Posted 30 May 2014 - 07:41 AM

I agree, obviously, that it is not a simple thing to fix or figure out. I don't agree, as the Twins and media seem to be implying, that this is all about other people, and not about the Twins most highly paid, most tenured, player. He needs to adjust, and fix things, or he's pretty much a drain on this roster. He needs to adjust.
Lighten up Francis....

#21 Seth Stohs

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Posted 30 May 2014 - 07:42 AM

The base on balls, eh... Hard to say. His ISO D is still decent but he hasn't been taking walks lately. A concern, a change in approach, or both? Hard to say.



That's the thing. That might be part of the adjustments he's working through. Maybe he is being a little more aggressive. I don't know. Didn't I read somewhere that he is swinging at like twice as many first pitches this year as he had previously (someone else can look that up)?

#22 Boom Boom

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Posted 30 May 2014 - 07:53 AM

Bremer saying that Joe's been "victimized" by shifts and Gardenhire saying that Joe would hit .400 in Boston miss the point.

Defensive shifts aren't cheating, and Joe's not playing in Boston. He's not a victim of circumstance. If the defense and the ballpark are depressing Joe's offensive numbers then he's got to make the adjustment himself. So far he hasn't done that.

#23 Parker Hageman

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Posted 30 May 2014 - 07:54 AM

Didn't I read somewhere that he is swinging at like twice as many first pitches this year as he had previously (someone else can look that up)?


First-pitch swing rate:

2010 -- 9.4%
2011 -- 5.7%
2012 -- 7.8%
2013 -- 7.7%
2014 -- 12.9%

#24 twinsnorth49

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Posted 30 May 2014 - 07:57 AM

Except we left off the whole discussion of ISO, strikeouts, and walks, and only talked about shifts......I know not most will agree, but to me, this is just another example of the Twins and their accountability problems, it is always something oustide their control that causes bad things to happen.


I don't quite get where you're coming from Mike, what is it that you propose they do, publicly castigate Mauer in some way to make him accountable? Despite the huge body of work he's already provided that buys him some leeway in working this out?

I think they probably have discussed what Joe could try differently by discussing how the shifts have effected him, you could interpret it as an excuse or you can interpret it as a recognition that they might need to try something different in an attempt to keep teams honest.

I don't see it as an accountability issue, it's really just a rational response to something that is very out of the ordinary for a guy like Mauer.

#25 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 30 May 2014 - 07:57 AM

First-pitch swing rate:

2010 -- 9.4%
2011 -- 5.7%
2012 -- 7.8%
2013 -- 7.7%
2014 -- 12.9%


So what you're telling me is that Joe needs to stop swinging at the first pitch. :D

#26 mike wants wins

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Posted 30 May 2014 - 08:07 AM

I don't quite get where you're coming from Mike, what is it that you propose they do, publicly castigate Mauer in some way to make him accountable? Despite the huge body of work he's already provided that buys him some leeway in working this out?

I think they probably have discussed what Joe could try differently by discussing how the shifts have effected him, you could interpret it as an excuse or you can interpret it as a recognition that they might need to try something different in an attempt to keep teams honest.

I don't see it as an accountability issue, it's really just a rational response to something that is very out of the ordinary for a guy like Mauer.



read Boom Boom's post just above yours....that's my point. He doesn't play in Boston, he plays against shifts, he needs to find a way to produce. It isn't about everyone else, it is about him. he's the one at bat, that needs to hit to be worth his money. Him. The accountability for his success or failure is no him, not on playing in TF or against shifts.
Lighten up Francis....

#27 mike wants wins

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Posted 30 May 2014 - 08:09 AM

I'm not suggesting, btw, they call him out. I'm suggesting that publicly saying it isn't really his fault, that's excusing him from accountability. Like it isn't Gardy's fault that he doesn't play Pinto. It isn't Gardy's fault they lose more than the win. It isn't anyone's fault CF is messed up, NO ONE could have predicted their approach wouldn't work. It isn't the Twins fault they don't have enough good players, it is just too hard to succeed at drafting after pick 10 or so, and now it is not Mauer's fault he's not hitting well enough...........all things I've heard the Twins, media, and members of this forum say the last few years.
Lighten up Francis....

#28 JB_Iowa

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Posted 30 May 2014 - 08:16 AM

I, too, was struck by the use of the word "victimized" -- I hope that this was just a Bremerism and not a word that is used generally by the Twins.

Mauer has to make adjustments. Mauer needs to take advantage of all available information and technology in deciding how to make those adjustments.

The Twins need to take advantage of information and technology to "victimize" the opposition's batters.

#29 Kirby_Waved_At_Me

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Posted 30 May 2014 - 08:31 AM

The most recent Twins game I was able to attend in person was against the Orioles, who were using really dramatic shifts on Mauer and Kubel. In that game, both guys had hits by basically taking what was given to them.
Kubel had a routine soft liner to a completely abandoned Third Base, and Mauer was able to line two singles through the ss-3b hole that was a bit bigger than standard (SS was shifted to play the middle). Mauer also homered in that game (to deep left) and hit another sharp line drive to left, but that one was into the teeth of a shifted outfield alignment. His back flared up the next day...
I think it's reasonable to be critical of Mauer's season to date - he's not expected to hit .275 and only have 9 xbh this far into the year. I assume that he and the Twins are aware of the fact that he's expected to have better results. If his LD% stays where it is, I am confident that the average and slugging will improve.

#30 longstrangetrip

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Posted 30 May 2014 - 08:45 AM

First-pitch swing rate:

2010 -- 9.4%
2011 -- 5.7%
2012 -- 7.8%
2013 -- 7.7%
2014 -- 12.9%


I have noticed that J(0 and 1) Mauer does seem to be swinging at more first pitches this year, but the fact remains that he doesn't swing at that first fat pitch often enough. The league average is 26% (down from 33% in 1988) so Joe swings at the first pitch less than half as often as the typical major league hitter. And pitchers know this, and are using it more frequently to put Joe in a hole...with the logical resulting drop in his performance.

Mauer might be the most skilled hitter that I have ever had the pleasure to watch. But I also think he is one of the dumbest, and most stubborn. Pitchers and defenses have changed their approach quite dramatically, and it is working well as evidenced by Joe's drastic dropoff in performance.

The cat and mouse game between the opposition and Joe highlights what I love most about baseball. Yes, it's a physical game, and Joe has a physical gift for hitting a baseball. But it's also the most cerebral game, and it is becoming increasingly cerebral with teams embracing advanced statistics...and I would argue that Joe is losing the cerebral game.

But Joe is such an elite hitter that I am optimistic about his ability to change and win this battle. We are already seeing it, in the increase (albeit insufficient) in his first swing % and also what appears to be an attempt to pull the ball more frequently. We saw it against Scott Baker, when he uncharacteristically jumped on a fat first-pitch fastball and jacked it into the RF corner. And I saw it live in San Diego, where they applied an absurd outfield shift, and Joe clearly tried to alter his approach to try to pull.

Joe is skilled enough to alter his approach and make opponents pay for what they are doing...serving up first pitch fastballs and employing a wildly unbalanced outfield alignment. But I frankly don't think he is smart enough to do it by himself...he has Ted Williams' physical skills without Williams' brain. And let's face it...Tom Brunansky was never a cerebral hitter. I would like to see Paul Molitor get involved more here. Molly knew how to win the head game with the pitcher, and I would love to see him work with Joe more. Sit down with him and show him video of all the first pitch fastballs he is letting go by, and ask him why he isn't attacking that pitch more frequently. If Molly can teach Joe to hit his pitch, rather than the pitcher's pitch like he currently is doing, I believe Joe can become an elite hitter again.