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Mauer to 1st?

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#1 Rocky

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Posted 23 October 2013 - 02:07 PM

I don't see any reason why not move Mauer to first. We are in need of a first baseman and it would surely lower his risk to injury. Then we could go about picking up a free agent like McCann or Navarro, plus about 4/5 2014 mock drafts have us picking up a solid catcher in Alex Jackson.

#2 gunnarthor

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Posted 23 October 2013 - 02:28 PM

It makes sense but I think they'll have Mauer stay behind the plate and catch some more. (Twins won't spend 80m or more on McCann). His durability has been frustrating these last few years but it works best for the team if he can catch.

#3 PSzalapski

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Posted 23 October 2013 - 02:36 PM

I'm assuming that you want Josmil Pinto to start at Catcher in the near term, right? Is he good enough behind the plate to play 100 games there?

#4 mike wants wins

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Posted 23 October 2013 - 02:36 PM

I think having him at first/DH 160 games, is signficantly more valuable than 80 at catcher and 40 at 1B/DH. But I dont' think anyone is going to change anyone's mind here.....
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#5 stringer bell

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Posted 23 October 2013 - 03:23 PM

I am totally on board with Mauer converting to a full-time first baseman, who would catch only in an emergency. I would expect that he could play 150+ games and hit better and probably for more power. While Mauer is a fine catcher, he isn't the freak of nature that the most durable catchers have been. He is a Hall-of-Fame hitter and moving to first is good for his long-term future as a hitter. The next blow to the head from a foul tip could cost him at least a month or might cost him the rest of his career. Something like 50% of the players disabled on the concussion list were catchers. It is undoubtedly less risk for him to be a first baseman. That the Twins have a clear vacancy at first only makes this decision easier.

#6 SpiritofVodkaDave

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Posted 23 October 2013 - 03:29 PM

They should do the same plan as this year, the concussion was a freak injury and they kept him out for the rest of the season out of an abundance of caution.

80 games at C
40 games at 1B
25 games at DH

Let Pinto and Doumit catch the other 80 games.

#7 Marta Shearing

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Posted 23 October 2013 - 03:59 PM

It makes sense but I think they'll have Mauer stay behind the plate and catch some more. (Twins won't spend 80m or more on McCann). His durability has been frustrating these last few years but it works best for the team if he can catch.

So you're saying its best for the team having a banged up Mauer behind the plate? His offense suffers when he catches. It wears him down. Not to mention the whole concussion thing. Not to mention Pinto deserves a shot and looks very promising. Not to mention I don't want Chris Colabello at 1B.

#8 TheLeviathan

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Posted 23 October 2013 - 04:15 PM

So you're saying its best for the team having a banged up Mauer behind the plate? His offense suffers when he catches. It wears him down. Not to mention the whole concussion thing. Not to mention Pinto deserves a shot and looks very promising. Not to mention I don't want Chris Colabello at 1B.


He's been a better hitter as a catcher.



C - 408/481/889
1B - 397/435/831

We need to just kill that falsehood. The Twins are best when that 800+ OPS is behind the plate and he should continue to play there primarily until Pinto or someone else can full time.

#9 LaBombo

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Posted 23 October 2013 - 04:21 PM

I think having him at first/DH 160 games, is signficantly more valuable than 80 at catcher and 40 at 1B/DH. But I dont' think anyone is going to change anyone's mind here.....

What about 80 at catcher and 80 mostly at DH with some 1st mixed in?

Gardenhire doesn't believe DH'ing is a day off. But even a man of Mauer's advancing years should be able to handle the exertion of running out two grounders and an opposite-field single, plus a walk to first, every other game between starts at catcher.

#10 gunnarthor

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Posted 23 October 2013 - 05:40 PM

So you're saying its best for the team having a banged up Mauer behind the plate? His offense suffers when he catches. It wears him down. Not to mention the whole concussion thing. Not to mention Pinto deserves a shot and looks very promising. Not to mention I don't want Chris Colabello at 1B.


Yes, it's better for the Twins to have Mauer get as many AB as a catcher because he is one of the 10 best catchers of all time, his bat is incredible for a catcher (For his career, his OPS+ (not adjusted for position) is better than Adrian Gonzalez, Teixeira, Hamilton, HanRam etc). Moving him for Pinto is not a good idea. If Mauer isn't healthy enough to play catcher, obviously that changes things.

Twins hopefully will have more options that Colabello at first.

#11 Willihammer

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Posted 23 October 2013 - 05:42 PM

The Twins are best when that 800+ OPS is behind the plate and he should continue to play there primarily until Pinto or someone else can full time.


Or until he hits the DL, whichever comes first.

#12 Alex

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Posted 23 October 2013 - 05:53 PM

He's been a better hitter as a catcher.



C - 408/481/889
1B - 397/435/831

We need to just kill that falsehood. The Twins are best when that 800+ OPS is behind the plate and he should continue to play there primarily until Pinto or someone else can full time.


I agree that Mauer has more value at catcher -- there's no doubt. But for his health, I'd have no problem with a move to first.

And come on, there there's no falsehood to kill. Simply posting those numbers is incomplete analysis at best.

Mauer has just 232 PAs at 1B and most has often played 1B as a day off of catching (so his legs wouldn't be fresh) or coming off of injury (again, likely not at the top of his game). So, it's not surprising that his numbers are lower. Not to mention his peak season, 2009, he didn't play 1B at all. His 29 HR were all hit at catcher, skewing that slugging heavily in his favor.

Edited by Alex, 23 October 2013 - 05:56 PM.


#13 TheLeviathan

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Posted 23 October 2013 - 05:59 PM

I agree that Mauer has more value at catcher -- there's no doubt. But for his health, I'd have no problem with a move to first.

And come on, there there's no falsehood to kill. Simply posting those numbers is incomplete analysis at best.

Mauer has just 232 PAs at 1B and most has often played 1B as a day off of catching (so his legs wouldn't be fresh) or coming off of injury. So, it's not surprising that his numbers are lower. Not to mention his peak season, 2009, he didn't play 1B at all. His 29 HR were all hit at catcher, skewing that slugging heavily in his favor.


Please provide some evidence that he is a better hitter when he's not catching. The stats don't back that claim. Until they do, it's a false claim. This isn't a matter of opinion or excuses....stats tell the story.

As for the DL, the day may come to protect him but you can't ever completely do it. The only certain thing is that you dramatically reduce his value to the team.

#14 Alex

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Posted 23 October 2013 - 06:21 PM

Please provide some evidence that he is a better hitter when he's not catching. The stats don't back that claim. Until they do, it's a false claim.


If you think throwing up those two statlines (one of which involves less than 300 PAs) is sufficient evidence that he'd be a better hitter at catcher, that's fine. To me, because I realize the context that those at-bats came, they mean pretty much next to nothing, especially in terms of future predictability. If he gets 500 PAs at 1B in the next season (2014) and then returns to catching after that and hits better (2015) I could be convinced.

Or, have there been a lot of studies that show players hit differently moving positions? If there are, I haven't read any.

To your question, I'm not convinced he WILL be a better hitter at 1B, but I can't imagine he'd be worse. It's also tough to compare as he'll be a year older (unless something similar to what I suggested happens above).

Back to DL---no, you can't protect him completely, but if he catches, he will get more foul balls off the facemask, which led to concussions for several catchers last season, and the next time it happens is likely to be more severe. Did first baseman last season have more concussions? If so, I'd agree that we should keep him at catcher. At some point, especially in terms of brain injuries, I think there's more responsibility involved than simply what value he provides. If that does nothing for you, then consider that the next foul ball of his mask could end his career and then you get very little value after that.

Finally, if the Twins are headed to 90 losses again next season, there's really no point, in my opinion, to him catching at all.

Edited by Alex, 23 October 2013 - 06:26 PM.


#15 diehardtwinsfan

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Posted 23 October 2013 - 06:35 PM

I'll say what I've said before, moving him to first permanently is foolish. His value as a catcher is far greater than his value as a 1B. I don't have a problem playing him at both positions in order to get him in more and keep him from wearing down as much, but he should be playing catcher until he can no longer do it. He isn't there yet.

#16 Marta Shearing

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Posted 23 October 2013 - 06:42 PM

He's been a better hitter as a catcher.



C - 408/481/889
1B - 397/435/831

We need to just kill that falsehood. The Twins are best when that 800+ OPS is behind the plate and he should continue to play there primarily until Pinto or someone else can full time.


Three words: Small sample size. So lets put that to rest. Remind me what his numbers are when he's not playing. I want him in the lineup for 162 games. 1st base is the least physically demanding position. He needs to play EVERYDAY. This team needs offense.

#17 TheLeviathan

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Posted 23 October 2013 - 06:46 PM

If you think throwing up those two statlines (one of which involves less than 300 PAs) is sufficient evidence that he'd be a better hitter at catcher, that's fine. To me, because I realize the context that those at-bats came, they mean pretty much next to nothing, especially in terms of future predictability. If he gets 500 PAs at 1B in the next season (2014) and then returns to catching after that and hits better (2015) I could be convinced.


This isn't a "convincing" matter. The claim was that he hits better when he's not catching. Other than his injury shortened 2011, that has never been true even in individual seasons. So it's both not true over his career and it's not true even in isolated seasons.

Again, I'll repeat:There is zero evidence that shows he is a better hitter when he's not catching. Zero. So you can't make that claim.

As for next year - I'm fine resting him more in bad seasons, but I don't "move" him anywhere at this point.

#18 TheLeviathan

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Posted 23 October 2013 - 06:48 PM

Three words: Small sample size. So lets put that to rest. Remind me what his numbers are when he's not playing. I want him in the lineup for 162 games. 1st base is the least physically demanding position. He needs to play EVERYDAY. This team needs offense.


You claimed he's a better hitter when he's not catching. There is no truth in that statement. You can claim small sample size until you're blue in the face, but you made a very definitive statement that is not supported by the stats.

If it was true you'd have a persuasive argument for moving him. But it's not true - so find a better argument and drop that one.

#19 mike wants wins

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Posted 23 October 2013 - 06:58 PM

What is better, Mauer at first and pinto at catcher, or Mauer catching and random guy from the system playing first? What is better, more at bats from Mauer, or less at bats from Mauer? Who gets hurt more, first basemen or catchers? Is Mauer more or less likely to play longer if he moves off catcher sooner, or later?
Lighten up Francis....

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Posted 23 October 2013 - 07:57 PM

What about 80 at catcher and 80 mostly at DH with some 1st mixed in?

Gardenhire doesn't believe DH'ing is a day off. But even a man of Mauer's advancing years should be able to handle the exertion of running out two grounders and an opposite-field single, plus a walk to first, every other game between starts at catcher.

The next time Mauer appears in 160 games in a season will be the first.

He doesn't even have a 150 game season under his belt. He's gotten 600 PAs in a season 4 times.

If he catches 80 games, he won't get into 80 more no matter the position.

#21 Alex

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Posted 23 October 2013 - 08:42 PM

This isn't a "convincing" matter. The claim was that he hits better when he's not catching. Other than his injury shortened 2011, that has never been true even in individual seasons. So it's both not true over his career and it's not true even in isolated seasons.

Again, I'll repeat:There is zero evidence that shows he is a better hitter when he's not catching. Zero. So you can't make that claim.


That's fair, that there's no evidence to support it. I just pointed out that you arguing it as a "falsehood" based on 200ish PA isn't useful evidence either as it ignores the context of those PAs. I don't think that arguing he's a better hitter at catcher is any more valid because, imo, we just don't know.

You can argue it's not a "convincing argument" but I don't find your statistics, in this case, compelling, and I'm normally way on the side of the "statheads" on this site. I'd like to see what he does at 1B for a full season before I make that judgement, especially in a meaningless season, which looks like it will be the case next season...

Edited by Alex, 23 October 2013 - 08:44 PM.


#22 TheLeviathan

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Posted 23 October 2013 - 09:15 PM

That's fair, that there's no evidence to support it. I just pointed out that you arguing it as a "falsehood" based on 200ish PA isn't useful evidence either as it ignores the context of those PAs.


The falsehood is arguing to move him because he's performed better when not catching. That isn't true. If it was, it'd be a compelling argument. But it's not true in what evidence we have.

I'd like to see what he does at 1B for a full season before I make that judgement, especially in a meaningless season, which looks like it will be the case next season...


Then you THINK he'll hit better. If you claim that he HAS hit better - you're stating a falsehood. And it's one repeated on this issue often by posters here and by talking heads in the local media.

#23 twinscowboysbulls

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Posted 23 October 2013 - 10:09 PM

I would venture to guess that status quo (assuming his head is FINE) means he will play about 50 games at 1B
75 games at C
25 games at DH

This would mean they A) need to make sure Pinto is ready to catch 75 Games and platoon 1B with Parmelee or B) Sign an actual backup Catcher, Doumit can't catch. If we keep him he is strictly a DH/3rd catcher. That is all he should ever be used as, but then again what do I know about baseball.. Gardy just keep doin' what works.

#24 glunn

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Posted 24 October 2013 - 12:17 AM

if he catches, he will get more foul balls off the facemask, which led to concussions for several catchers last season, and the next time it happens is likely to be more severe. Did first baseman last season have more concussions? If so, I'd agree that we should keep him at catcher. At some point, especially in terms of brain injuries, I think there's more responsibility involved than simply what value he provides. If that does nothing for you, then consider that the next foul ball of his mask could end his career and then you get very little value after that.


We already know from Koskie and Morneau that concussions can destroy a career. The more concussions the greater the risk. And it is impossible to know how many "minor" concussions Mauer has suffered over the years -- maybe none, maybe twenty or maybe fifty -- we just don't know.

I will be jubilant if Mauer recovers from his last concussion. I am worried that his career may already be over, but no one yet realizes it. I pray that this is not the case, but Koskie and Morneau both taught me that concussions can ruin players despite my most fervent prayers for them to recover.

Sadly, no one seems to be developing a catcher's mask that uses modern materials and design to absorb more of the force of a foul tip. Unless that happens, Mauer's entire career could be ended by a single foul tip.

I would love to see Mauer catch, and I completely agree with those who say that he is most valuable as a catcher. However, it seems to me that this is not worth risking his career or his long-term health.

Since the Twins probably won't contend next year, why not let Mauer's brain have one year to heal, leaving open the possibility for him to go back to catching in 2015? Maybe by then someone will come out with a catcher's mask that is more protective. And if we have any engineers here who are capable in the field of modern materials and design, please PM me if you might be interested in a joint venture to create a better catcher's mask.

#25 Alex

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Posted 24 October 2013 - 06:41 AM

The falsehood is arguing to move him because he's performed better when not catching. That isn't true. If it was, it'd be a compelling argument. But it's not true in what evidence we have.



Then you THINK he'll hit better. If you claim that he HAS hit better - you're stating a falsehood. And it's one repeated on this issue often by posters here and by talking heads in the local media.


Again, that's fair a point, but I think you tried to come across pretty heavily on a semantical point (the tense chosen by the poster), who by the way, just stated Mauer's offense "suffers when he catches" not "he's a better hitter when he plays 1B."

There's a lot of room for interpretation there, for example did the poster mean on a daily basis or over a season? Still no evidence either way for that as he's played significant numbers of games at catcher every season, so it's tough to know for sure. However, it's actually a very reasonable stance to take that Mauer would be a better hitter at 1B based on the lack of evidence but other things we know about catching and catchers.

For example, look at Mike Napoli. He had one of his better and most healthy seasons playing first base all year. He did it at age 32 and also said he's never had legs this fresh this late in the year.

Does that mean a loss of potential value within a season? Absolutely, even though Napoli had one of his healthiest and better hitting seasons, his overall value was not where it would be if he were at catcher (based on BBREF WAR). But, like we've said, there are plenty of other reasons to move Mauer.

Edited by Alex, 24 October 2013 - 07:17 AM.
added a couple points for clarification


#26 Alex

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Posted 24 October 2013 - 07:20 AM

We already know from Koskie and Morneau that concussions can destroy a career. The more concussions the greater the risk. And it is impossible to know how many "minor" concussions Mauer has suffered over the years -- maybe none, maybe twenty or maybe fifty -- we just don't know.

I will be jubilant if Mauer recovers from his last concussion. I am worried that his career may already be over, but no one yet realizes it. I pray that this is not the case, but Koskie and Morneau both taught me that concussions can ruin players despite my most fervent prayers for them to recover.


I absolutely agree. One thing I've found interesting, at least with Twins that have been out for a significant time with concussions, is their sports background, even if they haven't had concussions, or rather been diagnosed with them, in their past. Mauer has caught and he played football in high school. Denard Span played football. Morneau and Koskie were both hockey players. Now, it's probably true that a lot of pro players were multi-sport athletes, but it's just something I thought was interesting

#27 gunnarthor

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Posted 24 October 2013 - 07:36 AM

Now, it's probably true that a lot of pro players were multi-sport athletes, but it's just something I thought was interesting


I think every single one of them were multi-sport athletes, at least in high school as Mauer was. Perhaps the exception might be the international guys - Kepler, Sano - who signed at 16 to just concentrate on baseball. I think we remember Mauer's HS stuff a bit more b/c he, like Stewart and Bundy and Bradley, was a top flight QB who could have gone to a football power.

#28 spycake

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Posted 24 October 2013 - 07:43 AM

I think having him at first/DH 160 games, is signficantly more valuable than 80 at catcher and 40 at 1B/DH. But I dont' think anyone is going to change anyone's mind here.....


It's pretty unlikely than any player plays 160 games in a season. In the Gardy era, Hunter did it once and so did Morneau. Most guys top out closer to 150, even under good circumstances.

On the other hand, Mauer usually tops 120 games, even when primarily catching. He's averaged 127 games the past 9 seasons, but even that is a bit misleading -- his missed games are usually bunched up, like 2011 or the end of 2013. Outside of the standard weekly game off, he's not chronically missing time. Under normal circumstances, he usually approaches or exceeds 140 games per season, which is comparable to other players. (Hunter, a pretty durable guy, only averaged ~140 over his first 9 full seasons, or even just through age 30 like Mauer)

Of course, all of this could go out the window pending his concussion recovery.

#29 spycake

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Posted 24 October 2013 - 07:49 AM

I absolutely agree. One thing I've found interesting, at least with Twins that have been out for a significant time with concussions, is their sports background, even if they haven't had concussions, or rather been diagnosed with them, in their past. Mauer has caught and he played football in high school. Denard Span played football. Morneau and Koskie were both hockey players. Now, it's probably true that a lot of pro players were multi-sport athletes, but it's just something I thought was interesting


The Twins in general seem cursed in this regard, although it's really just Morneau so far. Koskie's issues were post-Twins, and Span seems to have been unaffected long-term. Hopefully Mauer falls into that latter group too.

Koskie was apparently a goalie -- is that position less susceptible to concussions?

#30 mike wants wins

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Posted 24 October 2013 - 08:02 AM

So two of the last three years, he's had injury issues? Isn't that what happens as guys age, and isn't that an argument for moving him?

Also, if he's the 1B/DH, and Gardy doesn't play him more than 150 games, then I'm looking for a new manager......
Lighten up Francis....