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Article: 2013 Spring Training Preview

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#31 Steve Lein

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 04:36 PM

True. I don't think that changes my point which was: The notion of Mauer hitting 2nd is in play to some extent. Not that it's likely or anything, just that there is some precedent. I don't expect it to happen. I get a morsel of hope from the fact that 2009 was a fairly good year for him (understatement intentional) and that he absolutely RAKED from the 2-spot that year, even compared to his more familiar slots.


It's funny how that year is also the only year he's really hit like a prototypical #3 hitter should... (outside of the Avg./OBP, of course)

Scouting Report: Power: 30, Hitting: 50, Arm: 60, Defense: 40, Speed: 40. "Line drive swing and shows good contact and on-base abilities. Double's power at his peak. Strong arm from 2B or the OF, stiff hands. Not a fast runner, but above average instincts on the bases. Skinny body doesn't look the part, but can sneak up on you. ACL surgery sapped much of his athleticism." (Probably)


#32 ashburyjohn

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 04:57 PM

before he leaves for the birth of his child.


Maybe he would have had a better second half in 2012 if he hadn't been suffering from morning sickness.

#33 LoganJones

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 05:27 PM

It's funny how that year is also the only year he's really hit like a prototypical #3 hitter should... (outside of the Avg./OBP, of course)


Of course Joe's SLG has been higher than league avg for 3rd place hitters in nearly all of his seasons. 2011 Being a glaring exception.

#34 bcntwinsfan

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 06:28 PM

Guess Gardy must have gotten some of the good stuff then.


Come on Nick. You know as well as anybody that he has nothing to do with payroll decisions. I'm sure he wasn't a happy camper to lose both his center fielders and thus made that Hicks comment. But six weeks less of Hicks in the bigs is going to have almost no effect on their win total. Maybe they'll win 69 instead of 70. That being said, I'm going big on the over of 64.5. It's already moved up. That starting pitching disaster from last year happening again is about as likely as likely as Ponder throwing for 5000 yards next season.

#35 Nick Nelson

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 02:06 AM

Come on Nick. You know as well as anybody that he has nothing to do with payroll decisions. I'm sure he wasn't a happy camper to lose both his center fielders and thus made that Hicks comment. But six weeks less of Hicks in the bigs is going to have almost no effect on their win total. Maybe they'll win 69 instead of 70. That being said, I'm going big on the over of 64.5. It's already moved up. That starting pitching disaster from last year happening again is about as likely as likely as Ponder throwing for 5000 yards next season.

I don't really have any idea what their win total will be, but I would like to see them put the best team on the field to start the season. I'm really not concerned about the guy's contract situation six years down the line. The phrase "it'll take care of itself" comes to mind, especially when you've got younger outfield prospects coming through the pipeline that could make him a trade candidate long before then.

#36 grover738

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 09:06 AM

I don't really have any idea what their win total will be, but I would like to see them put the best team on the field to start the season. I'm really not concerned about the guy's contract situation six years down the line. The phrase "it'll take care of itself" comes to mind, especially when you've got younger outfield prospects coming through the pipeline that could make him a trade candidate long before then.


He'd have more value as a trade candidate if he was under control for an extra year....

The other thing to think about is that he never played in Rochester. At a certain point, the Red Wings are going to get pissed if the best players skip Rochester. They're running a business, want to put fans in the stands, the best way to do this is a better product on the field. Clete Thomas or whoever they'll have in center if Hicks skips AAA isn't going to sell tickets. I get that keeping Rochester happy isn't everything, but it is another factor to consider.

#37 ashburyjohn

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 12:41 PM

I get that keeping Rochester happy isn't everything, but it is another factor to consider.


It's an excellent observation, since I believe it's pointless to play armchair-GM without at least attempting to see things through the eyes of the guy actually in the big chair.

#38 Steve Lein

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 01:50 PM

Of course Joe's SLG has been higher than league avg for 3rd place hitters in nearly all of his seasons. 2011 Being a glaring exception.


Just an FYI - I've been doing a lot of research for an article I've been writing, which is basically about Joe Mauer vs. the rest of the #3 hitters in baseball (He's not nearly as good in this regard as you think) that I may or may not ever finish. For this, I have a spread sheet with all the primary #3 hitters for each team in the league last year.

The results of that show your statement is flat out not true (and I assume is the same for almost all other years). The "average" slugging percentage of primary #3 hitters last year was .489, Joe Mauer was .446. "Average" amount of HR's was 23.03, Mauer had 10.

And If I do a little more math instead of taking a straight "average", the slugging percentage of primary #3 hitters across the league last year was .491.

Now, he does come out above average in a lot of other categories, but he's not nearly the same level of run producer (which a #3 hitter should be) as most others.

And since you brought up slugging percentage, the only primary #3 hitters Mauer beat last year in this category were: Justin Upton, Jason Kipnis, Brett Wallace, Alex Rodriguez, Chase Utley, and Kyle Seager. That's only 6 out of the 29 other players.

And thanks Nick for agreeing with me about "best roster" going north and how 6 years down the line shouldn't come into the thought process!

Scouting Report: Power: 30, Hitting: 50, Arm: 60, Defense: 40, Speed: 40. "Line drive swing and shows good contact and on-base abilities. Double's power at his peak. Strong arm from 2B or the OF, stiff hands. Not a fast runner, but above average instincts on the bases. Skinny body doesn't look the part, but can sneak up on you. ACL surgery sapped much of his athleticism." (Probably)


#39 ashburyjohn

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 02:37 PM

Now, he does come out above average in a lot of other categories, but he's not nearly the same level of run producer (which a #3 hitter should be) as most others.


#3's job is a blend of getting on base and driving in guys in front of him, since the 4-5-6 hitters on a good team are no slouches either. I hope you'll include OBA in your article. The Twins are a bit heavy on the table-setters and lack enough true power guys, but I would not straighten that out by monkeying too much with the best-balanced of our table-setters. If the thesis of your article will be to move Joe to #2, then whoever they move to #3 may not fare too well in your rankings either. Perceived deficiency in the #3 slot might just be a symptom of an overall teamwide deficiency in hitting talent.

#40 Steve Lein

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Posted 25 February 2013 - 07:58 PM

I'm assuming you mean Weighted-On-Base-Average, which Joe fares pretty well in (as does every .300+ hitter), he is above average in that. But what it doesn't do is measure how good a guy is at "producing" runs by himself or when the opportunity presents itself (hitting HR's, men-on-base, etc...), it measure's that players own contribution to the potential for "scoring" a run himself (if I understand it right).

Take Adam Dunn. Last year his batting average was .115 pts lower than Mauer's, but his wOBA is only .030 points lower...

Joe also is one of the best OBP guys in the league, but that hurts his value as a run-producer as well. There is only one situation where a walk can score a run, and it's a pretty rare one.

If I'm comparing these primary #3 hitters with high OBP's (.370+, there are 12 of them) to their wOBA, Mauer's is on the low end (he beats only 2 of them, and not by much). And this is while he led the league in OBP.

It's very interesting stuff to see the data you can pull looking at this stuff.

One final stat of note I've found, is the "average" primary #3 hitter grounded into 11.5 double plays on the year. Joe had 23. Ironically, the only guy with more than Joe, was your AL MVP, Miguel Cabrera (with 28).

And even though I'm pulling all this data, I do agree with you, as much as I'd like to see Mauer hit #2, he's still probably the best fit on this team for #3. Only way I see it differently is If Morneau is raking, 'cause then it's him.

#41 Willihammer

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Posted 25 February 2013 - 10:14 PM

This idea that the no. 1 hitter has to be a basestealing tablesetter, no. 2 hitter has to be a switch hitting bat handler who can bunt, no. 3 has to be a run producer, whatever - that all gets thrown out the window after the 1st inning, right? Heck, it gets thrown out the window in the first inning quite a bit.

Consider, you have a 1 and 2 hitter who OBP at .340 each. Well, math says .66^2 = .436. Meaning, almost half the time the 3 hitter gets up, there are 2 outs and the bases are empty. What do you want your 3 hitter to do, throw his plate discipline out the window? Cash in a few dozen more strikeouts for 3 or 4 solo home runs?

Joe is going to be 30. Why do people keep trying to square that circle. He's not a power guy, he's a hit and walk guy. Joe is what he is. He hits well in all situations. There's not a weak spot in his game.

#42 glunn

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Posted 26 February 2013 - 01:04 AM

This is a great thread -- lots of insightful points and every poster has exhibited passion, intelligence and respect for other viewpoints.

I would love to see Mauer move up to #2 this year, for all of the reasons that have been given. But the arguments for him staying at #3 are almost as persuasive for me.