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Article: The Twins' Next Hall Of Famer

mike piazza joe mauer hall of fame
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#1 Ted Schwerzler

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Posted 14 January 2016 - 06:26 AM

With the winter months dominating the calendar at the present time, one of the highlights of the offseason has been the Hall of Fame voting. With Ken Griffey Jr. being a guaranteed lock heading into the reveal (even despite three clueless voters), it was a question of who would join him during enshrinement in Cooperstown this summer. After the dust settled, we now know that honor will go to Mike Piazza.For the Twins, the ballot was void of any Minnesota presence. In upcoming years, the most closely tied name will be that of Jim Thome. While he won't go in as a member of the Twins, he provided plenty a bright spot in Twins Territory as he rounded out his career. It's not Thome though who is the next most likely Twins player to gain consideration for enshrinement.

For Minnesota, an opportunity may be presented when Torii Hunter is first eligible. It's almost guaranteed he will be inducted into the Twins Hall of Fame, but despite the potential to reach Cooperstown, he should fall short. Hunter has a better resume than that of Jim Edmonds, but it's not 70% better, which is what will be needed to reach enshrinement. Edmonds fell off the ballot after missing out on the needed 5% this year, Hunter will likely do better. Regardless, don't expect him to break the Twins drought.

No, instead that honor could most likely go to a player twho is still a member of the Twins. 32 year-old Joe Mauer is the Minnesota Twins next most likely candidate for Hall of Fame consideration. Had he not been given the injury hand he has been dealt, and still was behind the plate, I'd feel good about forecasting him as a first-ballot type player. As things stand currently, he presents a very strong case with a few more years left to push the needle one way or another.

At this point in time, Hall of Fame voting principles don't seem to rely heavily on the golden numbers. While 3,000 hits, 500 home runs, and other milestones seemingly should guarantee induction, other factors such as character and performance enhancers have muddied the waters. For Mauer though, those numbers will be left out of consideration entirely.

Sitting currently at just under 1,700 hits for his career with just over 115 home runs, Mauer's case for the Hall will be built on some different principles. As a catcher, Mauer garnered four All-Star appearances, an MVP award, three Gold Gloves, and four Silver Slugger titles. He was arguably the best in the game, at one of its most demanding positions for the first seven years of his big league career.

Following concussion issues, Mauer's game has been transformed. He's become a relative shell of the hitter he once was, and has had to adapt to playing an entirely new position. Despite the downturn in production, Mauer still owns a career .313/.394/.451 slash line and can claim three batting titles to his credit.

Most importantly for Mauer's prospects regarding the Hall of Fame, is how the story ends up being written. As the 2016 season kicks off, Mauer will be 33 years old. Under contract for the Twins until 2018, there are probably at least another 400 plus hits in his bat, and production that could be boosted by some lineup changes.

Should Mauer trend back towards what he once was, or at least to an high average and contact hitter, he should be seen favorably in the eyes of voters. If the trend of a dipping average combined with mediocre peripheral numbers continues, Mauer's longevity could actually hurt him down the stretch. Hanging on and compiling stats while diluting and distancing from the catching days likely won't do him any favors.

At the end of his career, Joe Mauer is not going to be Mike Piazza. He could (and likely should) surpass the 2,127 hits of the Mets backstop. Mauer probably will lay claim to a better average and on-base percentage. He's going to have the MVP and batting titles to his credit, and his Gold Gloves should make a difference. He isn't the power hitter his current position is expected to be though, and the injuries that have changed the course of his career will be held against him

Sometime within the next ten to twelve years, Joe Mauer is going to get his turn on the Hall of Fame ballot. He's not a lock the first time around, but expecting him to come up with 75% of the vote through the first half of his voting eligibility is far from a fool's proposition.

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#2 theBOMisthebomb

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Posted 14 January 2016 - 07:16 AM

He is not a winner and is not known for his clutch hitting in pressure situations. His playoff stats are abysmal, to be kind. The big question is was he dominant enough when he was catching to get the votes for HOF? It should be fun to see how his career ends and how the HOF values his career. Good January talking points for years to come.

#3 KGB

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Posted 14 January 2016 - 07:24 AM

I think he'll end up like Tony Oliva and not make the hall of fame.It's getting harder to compare him to HOF catchers (Piazza caught 650 more games than Mauer) and if he keep playing 150 games he'll need to get 2,100 hits, he'll end up playing as many games as a non-catcher.

 

If he continues to produce at the level of the last 2 years, he may even drop below a career .300 hitter. 


#4 Craig Arko

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Posted 14 January 2016 - 07:44 AM

I'm guessing Joe Nathan will be the next one who comes up for consideration. And I think the chances are better than 50/50 he'd choose to go in as a Twin.

Mathematics knows no races or geographic boundaries;
for mathematics, the cultural world is one country. - David Hilbert


#5 diehardtwinsfan

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Posted 14 January 2016 - 08:16 AM

A few years ago, a friend of mine and were discussing this and Mauer was a sure thing. Now, I'm not so certain. As a catcher, no question. His problem though is longevity. His transition to 1B has been less than smooth. I think if he can have a couple Maueresque seasons over the next two years, then yeah, he's in. But if he keeps playing like he did the last 2 seasons, I don't know of HOF voters will be so kind. As it is, you could argue that there were 15 clear cut HOF guys on the ballot this year.Only 2 made it in. Mauer strikes me as a casualty in this scenario.


#6 zenser

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Posted 14 January 2016 - 08:34 AM

With his numbers trending downward for the past couple seasons, I can't see how he will get in.He is in the Hall Of Very Good, but not Hall Of Fame.It is sad too because he was on track to get there.3 Batting Titles, 1 MVP was a great start.As others have stated, injuries slowed down his career and the transition to 1B hasn't helped him.

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#7 Vanimal46

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Posted 14 January 2016 - 08:55 AM

Hit the nail right on the head zenser. He will be remembered as a very good baseball player, but he has no chance at the Hall of Fame. Other than his batting average and on-base percentage, there isn't a single career stat that will entice voters to consider him for Cooperstown. 


#8 Loosey

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Posted 14 January 2016 - 09:42 AM

 

Hit the nail right on the head zenser. He will be remembered as a very good baseball player, but he has no chance at the Hall of Fame. Other than his batting average and on-base percentage, there isn't a single career stat that will entice voters to consider him for Cooperstown. 

I wouldn't go as far as to say "no chance".However the longer he plays as a below average first baseman the worse his odds get.If he ends up playing 5 more years at 1st base at a .270 average with 5-10 HR's.He will have played half of his career as a below average first baseman.That will most likely offset his first 7 years as an elite Catcher.He will probably get votes but never the 75% needed.I see him topping out around 50%-60%.If he can put together a 2-3 years of .310 average with a .350 OBP then his chances rebound.I just don't see that happening.


#9 nicksaviking

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Posted 14 January 2016 - 09:57 AM

This game was a lot more fun about five years ago when Mauer and Johan Santana looked like shoe-ins and Mornuea, Nathan and Hunter looked like they had an outside shot with a strong finishing kick to the end of their careers.

 

At this point, I actually think Nathan has the best, albeit slim, chance of making it. But he'd have to come back healthy, put together a couple more very strong seasons and get 50 or so saves to pass Billy Wagner who along with Trevor Hoffman are contemporaries who got strong HOF consideration this past year.


#10 gunnarthor

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Posted 14 January 2016 - 10:12 AM

I think if I had to rank their chances I'd go Mauer, Santana, Hunter, Nathan.  I think Mauer's got strong support with voters who like WAR and his 3 batting titles will impress more traditional voters.  But he really could use a rebound season or two.  I've complained about this before but the HOF should be more about HOF seasons than career numbers and Santana had an absolute HOF peak, he should be in. He probably won't get in but he should.  I think Hunter will stick on the ballot for 10 years.  He got 50 WAR which is borderline but he was also seen as a leader and a good guy by most of the voters who might reward his intangibles.  He also managed a crap ton of hits and had very few bad years.  I suppose on a crowded ballot he could drop off like Edmonds and Lofton did but by the time he's on the ballot I think a lot of the logjams will be cleared up.  I don't think Nathan makes it.  He was dominating in the regular season but horrible in the post season and he played in an era where a lot of closers put up video game numbers.  


#11 Kwak

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Posted 14 January 2016 - 10:40 AM

I think Jim Kaat has a better chance through the Veteran's Committee than anyone who built their reputation as a Twin.

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#12 Willihammer

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Posted 14 January 2016 - 10:40 AM

 

Should Mauer trend back towards what he once was, or at least to an high average and contact hitter, he should be seen favorably in the eyes of voters. If the trend of a dipping average combined with mediocre peripheral numbers continues, Mauer's longevity could actually hurt him down the stretch. Hanging on and compiling stats while diluting and distancing from the catching days likely won't do him any favors.

One school of thought is that a HoF should have an MVP type 7 year peak, combined with overall career totals that meet certain milestones. He probably has a peak in the bank already, so he just needs to pad his career totals, esp. WAR. And the trend towards the public (and I assume the BBWAA will follow) emphasizing WAR over hits, HR, etc isanother reason that delaying his eligibility would probably help his case IMO, since there's no way he reaches those. But, he's 33 with 45 rWAR. Finishing somewhere around 55-65 WAR seems possible if he rebounds.

Well, there's that.

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#13 SweetOne69

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Posted 14 January 2016 - 10:52 AM

 

I'm guessing Joe Nathan will be the next one who comes up for consideration. And I think the chances are better than 50/50 he'd choose to go in as a Twin.

 

The player doesn't have a choice on which "hat" he wears in the hall.That is decided by MLB/Cooperstown.


#14 bluechipper

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Posted 14 January 2016 - 10:58 AM

It's disappointing the way things played out with Mauer in regards to injuries, but I think the three batting titles as a catcher, the MVP, and the possibility of getting 2500 hits will be enough to get him in.


#15 ALessKosherScott

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Posted 14 January 2016 - 12:16 PM

Johan Santana had a five-year run where he was the best pitcher in baseball. There is no god if Torii Hunter gets put in the Hall-of-Fame before him.

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#16 dxpavelka

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Posted 14 January 2016 - 12:21 PM

 

I'm guessing Joe Nathan will be the next one who comes up for consideration. And I think the chances are better than 50/50 he'd choose to go in as a Twin.

Those chances are also far less than 50/50 that he even gets in.

 


#17 jimmer

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Posted 14 January 2016 - 01:21 PM

I am having a hard time seeing where Hunter has a Better resume for the HOF than Edmonds, who fell off the ballot 1st time due to the 10 player vote max. Edmonds has the better stat slash line, a better wRC+, and roughly 25 more WAR. And he was a top notch defender as was Hunter. where is the argument Hunter has a better HOF case than Edmonds?

Edited by jimmer, 14 January 2016 - 01:25 PM.

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#18 jimmer

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Posted 14 January 2016 - 01:23 PM

I am pretty sure I read an article about Piazza choosing to go in as a Met and another about Griffey choosing to go in as a Mariner. in fact, Piaza talked to Lasorda about it before picking the Mets cap. I believe they do have a choice.
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#19 nicksaviking

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Posted 14 January 2016 - 01:28 PM

 

I am having a hard time seeing where Hunter has a Better resume for the HOF than Edmonds, who fell off the ballot 1st time due to the 10 player vote max. Edmonds has the better stat slash line, a better wRC+, and roughly 25 more WAR. And he was a top notch defender as was Hunter. where is the argument he has a better HOF case?

 

Like it or not, his rep is going to carry a lot of weight. Lot's of baseball people love the guy. Not sure if Barardino gets a vote though....

 

Plus Edmonds almost certainly was compared to the PED contemporaries, fair or not. Hunter likely will be compared with the post PED era, even if those guys had a lot of overlapping years.

 

I don't think he gets in, but I'd bet good money he stays on the ballot quite a long time.

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#20 Boom Boom

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Posted 14 January 2016 - 01:30 PM

Maybe if Mauer goes into broadcasting after he retires, giving him a soapbox to cry and whine about how Fergie Jenkins is in and that Mauer is at least as good as Jenkins.

I don't think Joe has the voice or personality to be a broadcaster, though.



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