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Joe Mauer: #5 First Baseman

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#1 JP3700

JP3700

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Posted 26 January 2014 - 04:45 PM

Recently I was watching a show on MLB network called Top 10 Right Now. It's a show where they rank players position by position using what they call the "Shredder". The Shredder uses a multitude of statistical factors with no human bias. Brian Kenny, Bill James and one of the MLB network analysts also supply their own lists.

The one I happened to catch was Top 10 First Basemen. I was curious where they would have Joe Mauer ranked. I was a little surprised when the Shredder, Brian Kenny and Bill James all had Mauer at a consensus #5. After all, there are a lot of great hitters at first base and Mauer isn't your prototypical power hitting first basemen. So I decided to dig deeper.

Using the last two years, here are the top 10 first baseman using wRC+.

[TABLE="class: grid, width: 500"]
[TR]
[TD][/TD]
[TD]wRC+ (2012-2013)
[/TD]
[/TR]
[TR]
[TD]Miguel Cabrera
[/TD]
[TD]178
[/TD]
[/TR]
[TR]
[TD]Joey Votto
[/TD]
[TD]165
[/TD]
[/TR]
[TR]
[TD]Edwin Encarnacion
[/TD]
[TD]148
[/TD]
[/TR]
[TR]
[TD]Chris Davis
[/TD]
[TD]146
[/TD]
[/TR]
[TR]
[TD]Joe Mauer
[/TD]
[TD]142
[/TD]
[/TR]
[TR]
[TD]Paul Goldschmidt
[/TD]
[TD]141
[/TD]
[/TR]
[TR]
[TD]Prince Fielder
[/TD]
[TD]139
[/TD]
[/TR]
[TR]
[TD]Freddie Freeman
[/TD]
[TD]133
[/TD]
[/TR]
[TR]
[TD]Brandon Belt
[/TD]
[TD]129
[/TD]
[/TR]
[TR]
[TD]Albert Pujols
[/TD]
[TD]124
[/TD]
[/TR]
[/TABLE]

*I left out Allen Craig since he projects to be a right fielder this year. He would have ranked eighth.

Surprise, surprise! Mauer ranked fifth among projected first basemen. What's even more impressive is that he achieved this while making 145 starts behind the plate. We won't know until the next couple of years pass whether or not the move to first base will help Mauer's offensive production, but I'd think the consensus thought is that it can't hurt.

After really breaking it down and looking at the numbers, it seems to me that Mauer at #5 is right about where he should be. One could probably make an argument for #4.

Where would you have him ranked?