By the way, last season Joe Mauer had 20 scoops in 753 2/3 innings played at first base, per FanGraphs. That's basically one scoop per every four games he played there. It's a valuable skill, no doubt, and you'd much rather have a guy at first that can pick it than somebody with stone hands, but I think it's an overvalued skill.
Not to mention other 1B also had scoops.....that ability is in the defensive rankings, and there just isn't that much difference between 1B at the MLB level. These guys have been fielding grounders since they were 7 ......or 5.
Just not buying it mainly by the eye ball test.Last year when Ortiz and Sano were playing in place of Mauer when I watched there would be at least one play that they messed up that I mentally said Mauer gets that one.Not all scoops are created equal and Mauer would make some while I watched that I thought "Most Sano, or Ortiz or Austen miss that most of the time"The stats say Mauer scoops one every 4 games.Hard to believe but I accept your facts.Of course once in every 4 games sounds like more than 20 time in 753 innings.Yes, other 1st basemen have scoops but do the stats track the ones that aren't caught?It is said one hit every two weeks is what separates an average hitter from an all star and my eyes still tell me Mauer caught one ball every two weeks that Sano would not.Every one has played ball since young age and hitters have unique athletic ability but Rod Carew was a great hitter and mediocre fielder and I could probably cite hundreds of examples of athletic skills not translating.I'm sure Sano was fielding fly balls since a young age also but it didn't make him an outfielder. Doesn't mean he can't get better though.Morneau was good but not great.Still did that hockey thing where he made the big wave at the ball on scoops. Looks flashy as heck and he was good at it but balls still got by him every once in a while.Good but not great.If Mauer is gone next year I think you will notice the difference. Might be only once in 10 or twenty games but games hinge on that kind of thing.