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Article: Everyone's a Doctor: Joe Mauer, the Injury Bug and the Notion of Toughness

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#41 SwainZag

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Posted 17 August 2014 - 02:29 PM

I think people's position about Mauer get locked in and they have a hard time looking at the player he is today.He was a great player his first 5 years, with 3 battling titles and an MVP.Expectation were set on those standards and he was rewarded with a $23 million per year contract.But he has not been the same player he was prior to the contract.He was a good player who was injury prone, but not a great player.HIs lifetime average on RISP is ,320, but in 2011 he hit .239 and is hitting .230 this year.You can look at him either by his career average or what you see today.

 

He appears like a player on the decline and we just need to accept realize that. 

.328/.413/.451  9 HR, 85 RBI  

.324/.404/.476 11 HR, 47 RBI   

 

Examine the 2 lines.  Yes, the 2nd one had 160 less PA.  One of them is 2008 when he was a "great" player in his 1st 5 years and the 2nd is last year when he is in his "decline."  

 

I would rather think that Joe started this year in a slump, got hurt and is just now coming out of it than think the slow start is just simple decline.


#42 KGB

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Posted 17 August 2014 - 03:08 PM

Some people see the hitter with a .360 average with bases empty last year and some people see the .240 hitter with RISP with 2 times the strike out ratio.The RISP and strike out ratio continue this year, so it hard to justify it as just a slump.It's two sides of a coin, but you have look at both sides. And when you are the most important hitter in the lineup, people are going to hold you to a higher standard.


#43 kab21

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Posted 18 August 2014 - 09:15 AM

Some people see the hitter with a .360 average with bases empty last year and some people see the .240 hitter with RISP with 2 times the strike out ratio.The RISP and strike out ratio continue this year, so it hard to justify it as just a slump.It's two sides of a coin, but you have look at both sides. And when you are the most important hitter in the lineup, people are going to hold you to a higher standard.

 

BA with RISP from 200 odd PA's (2013-2014)?

 

This is a poor argument due to small sample size. 

I look forward to the day that a pitching prospect is truly blocked by good pitchers.


#44 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 18 August 2014 - 09:20 AM

Some people see the hitter with a .360 average with bases empty last year and some people see the .240 hitter with RISP with 2 times the strike out ratio.The RISP and strike out ratio continue this year, so it hard to justify it as just a slump.It's two sides of a coin, but you have look at both sides. And when you are the most important hitter in the lineup, people are going to hold you to a higher standard.

 

Expect that they don't.

 

Joe Mauer 2014 bases empty: .697 OPS.

 

Joe Mauer 2014 RISP: .796 OPS.

 

Yes, a lot of that is OBP driven (his OBP is a whopping .400 with RISP) but his slugging is also marginally higher with RISP (.015).

 

What can we learn from this? That RISP is pretty much a useless statistic on which to base a player's worth, as it fluctuates wildly from season to season due to SSS.

 

Joe Mauer spent the bulk of his career hitting marginally better with RISP, just as most players do (because RISP appearances tend to come against worse pitchers who are hit more easily). He didn't suddenly "forget" how to hit with RISP after a decade in the league. It's a meaningless statistic. Joe Mauer has been a pretty bad hitter this season. That's his problem, not RISP.


#45 Steve Penz

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Posted 18 August 2014 - 11:00 AM

Jharaldson made a great point above about Joe managing the messaging surrounding any injuries.  This is a place where I feel the Twins and Joe's management team have failed him.  Mauer is not paid to be a speaker.  It might be nice if he had a little more flare but I will take boring with a career OBP of .400 any day.  The team and his representation should have better helped him speak to the press; this is part of their function.  Customer service 101: very clearly give your clients the message you want them to hear or they will make up their own version.  We see that happen here.  

 

Also, the local press and their bashing is especially sad because I feel they know better.  They are just doing it to be shocking to their audience and that sells commercials.  Phil Mackey seems to rise above this (Thank you!) and here is an awesome article he wrote a few years ago.  http://www.1500espn....ng_of_OBP092012


#46 diehardtwinsfan

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Posted 18 August 2014 - 12:51 PM

I guess the issue I have with 'toughness' is that I really don't think we want that.I'm no professional baseball player, but I do remain fairly active.I play softball in the summer, soccer most of the year, and I'm training for my second marathon.I've never had pnuemonia, but I have had bronchitis on several occasions.It can take more than month (for me at least) to recover from that and even begin to do what I was doing prior to it.I cannot imagine how much more is needed to play at a high level.Sure, Mauer could show up in that scenario, but what would the end results be?Do people really think he'd still be winning batting titles with bi-lateral leg weakness (or whatever it finally ended up being)?Sure, he could occupy a spot, but with most of the ailments mentioned, he wouldn't be very effective at all.I get that all athletes play through pain from time to time, but there's also a pretty stark line in the sand where their effectivness diminishes.I don't think you want them up when that happens, otherwise you end up with what we dealt with Nolaso.

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#47 jokin

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Posted 18 August 2014 - 02:30 PM

I guess the issue I have with 'toughness' is that I really don't think we want that. ...

 

I get that all athletes play through pain from time to time, but there's also a pretty stark line in the sand where their effectivness diminishes.

 

You may not want that, but I think it's a bit presumptuous to assume the "we" part of your statement... and it comes down to your presumption of a "pretty stark line", it seems the facts argue against how "stark" that line in the sand actually is.  (just off the top of my head, Kirk Gibson HR in the '88 World Series, Michael Jordan's playoff flu game in '97... Brett Favre started 297 consecutive games, most of which he played with multiple injuries, and who can forget the beating he took against the, with-criminal-intent-to- harm, New Orleans Saints, in the NFC title game).  The fact is, some guys have much higher pain thresholds than others.  Re: Kurt Suzuki has continued to perform at a high level, despite taking a beating behind and at the plate this season, that other players are unable to tolerate, and thus, play with effectively.

Edited by jokin, 18 August 2014 - 02:33 PM.

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#48 DocBauer

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Posted 18 August 2014 - 07:15 PM

Not going to copy and paste everything Seth said since I think everyone has pretty much read it at least twice by now. And I agree with him whole-heartedly.

I think Joe's "reputation" with certain fans has little to do, overall, with his contract, which a different subject entirely, water under the bridge, and ultimately unimportant vs scoreboard. Any problem with perception of Mauer comes down to two things in my mind.

1) 2011. The Twins were supposed to be a top team and contender. The season became an absolute wreck. Missing one of your best, if not the best, and one of your top players while the disaster is taking place for mysterious reasons never explained or understood made fans very disappointed and frustrated. I still don't know who to blame on this one, but I'd say the Twins on this one.

2) Unreal expectations. Mauer has always had a mystique of the national athlete who could been a QB on a top, possibly national championship college football team, who was instead the top pick and top prospect of the local ML baseball team. And with all his talent, and big athletic frame, to some, no measure of defense, all star votes and batting titles will ever make up for not being Johnny Bench and Hank Aaron rolled in to one. Especially as the team has struggled the past couple of seasons.

BTW, Mauer's concussion was not his fault. And he WAS hitting like Mauer before his last injury, and has continued to hit like Mauer since his return.

"Nice catch Hayes...don't ever f*****g do it again."

 

--Lou Brown


#49 old nurse

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Posted 19 August 2014 - 09:47 AM

I think that Mauer has been unlucky with where foul tips have caught him.

I don't think you could ever call him the toughest player but he resisted moving out from catcher for awhile. It is not like he wanted to take an easier path to paycheck. If not for the concussions I think he would still want to be catching. I therefore do not think you could call him soft.

Perhaps using Kirk Gibson as a standard of toughness is appropriate. In Gibson's career he never played every game in a season.3 times in 16 years he played more than 135.8 times more than 100. For the one person who might not know, hewas an outfielder, not a catcher.

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#50 diehardtwinsfan

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Posted 20 August 2014 - 06:44 AM

You may not want that, but I think it's a bit presumptuous to assume the "we" part of your statement... and it comes down to your presumption of a "pretty stark line", it seems the facts argue against how "stark" that line in the sand actually is.  (just off the top of my head, Kirk Gibson HR in the '88 World Series, Michael Jordan's playoff flu game in '97... Brett Favre started 297 consecutive games, most of which he played with multiple injuries, and who can forget the beating he took against the, with-criminal-intent-to- harm, New Orleans Saints, in the NFC title game).  The fact is, some guys have much higher pain thresholds than others.  Re: Kurt Suzuki has continued to perform at a high level, despite taking a beating behind and at the plate this season, that other players are unable to tolerate, and thus, play with effectively.

The main reason why I use the term "we" in most of my posts is that it's less confrontational as doesn't call anyone out.If you notice, I do that in a lot of my posts and I apologize if that was misunderstood.It's good practice, especially for those who constantly find themselves in confrontational situations.There are some great books on that subject, which I highly recommend if anyone wants to PM me about it. 

 

That said,I get the high threshold for pain.Some players have it, though I'm not sure every one of your examples applies (such as Jordan), but it has it's limits.For every Radke (torn labrum) or Favre (the ankle beating he took, though you need to take adrenaline into account in his situation), there are a hundred Nolascos who actually make the team worse toughing out injuries.I have a hard time believing that Mauer isn't tough because he didn't play baseball while having pneumonia, a torn meniscus, or whatever health problem it was that was preventing him from doing basic things like squatting, and I'd say that about any player.They are human beings, and while they are exceptional at being atheletes, they don't have superpowers.

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