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The New first Baseman

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#1 Bark's Lounge

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Posted 22 February 2014 - 09:58 PM

I may be some dipstick yahoo, or a undiagnosed human disease.

Either way, I am going to soundly pound my fist on the table of Joe Mauer's 2014 offensive performance.

Joe will do as such this season:

.354 BA
19HR's
119 BB
107 R

He will also be selected to the all-star game as a reserve, will win the gold glove award at 1B and be top 3 in AL MVP voting.

I'm feelin' it!
I'm believing it!
Let's get this MoFo show on the road!

There he goes. One of God's own prototypes. Some kind of high powered mutant never even considered for mass production. Too weird to live, and too rare to die.


#2 ashburyjohn

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Posted 22 February 2014 - 11:26 PM

148px-Thumbs_up_bro.jpg

I like the way you think, sir.

#3 johnnydakota

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Posted 22 February 2014 - 11:29 PM

pssst bro pass it over here...Me thinks maybe its a strech, but I can see a 25 % increase in power(more games, less stress on the legs) and I can see a higher batting average, but not sure he reaches those levels....but I truely hope your right , and I am wrong:jump:

#4 stringer bell

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Posted 23 February 2014 - 07:33 AM

We saw Mauer take more big rips and swing and miss more last year. I expect that to continue. Last year's strikeouts might have been a bit of an anomaly, but I wouldn't be surprised if Joe fanned 100 times this year in 150-160 games. With that many Ks, I can't see .350, but I can see another batting championship. Fresh legs and more PAs should yield more slugging--I think somewhere between 20 and 27 homers, probably about 24.

#5 Halsey Hall

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Posted 23 February 2014 - 09:25 AM

I don't see more than about 16 homers, but at least .330 average. Joe doesn't swing for the fences, and loves the opposite field. No sense messing with what's working. Just hope someone can drive him in this year.

#6 scottz

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Posted 23 February 2014 - 10:27 AM

I don't see more than about 16 homers, but at least .330 average. Joe doesn't swing for the fences, and loves the opposite field. No sense messing with what's working. Just hope someone can drive him in this year.


Very similar to what I would have predicted. In spite of all the speculation that playing first will have a tremendous impact on his power numbers, I think the uptick will be marginal. Other than the year he hit 28, the most HR he ever hit in a year has been 13. In seasons where he has had greater than 450 plate appearances, he has hit double digit HRs four times and single digit HRs four times. So while it is logical that not having his legs and hands get beat up all year will improve his numbers, I don't see why it would make him twice the power hitter he has been.

.330 (3rd highest single-season average)
40 doubles (2nd highest single-season total)
14 HR (2nd highest single-season total)

I would love it if he would do something huge like Bark's is predicting, but I don't think that's who he is. Not many are. Also, 119 walks would be a 32% increase over his highest single-season total, so I think that isn't feasible. Also, no Twin has scored as many as 107 runs since 1997 when Chuck Knoblauch had 117 (along with a .291 BA, 26 2B, 10 3B, 9 HR, 62 SB in 72 attempts, and 84 BB). Joe Mauer is not going to score 107 runs, in my opinion, with this lineup...or probably with almost anyone's lineup.

#7 notoriousgod71

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Posted 23 February 2014 - 12:27 PM

Very similar to what I would have predicted. In spite of all the speculation that playing first will have a tremendous impact on his power numbers, I think the uptick will be marginal. Other than the year he hit 28, the most HR he ever hit in a year has been 13. In seasons where he has had greater than 450 plate appearances, he has hit double digit HRs four times and single digit HRs four times. So while it is logical that not having his legs and hands get beat up all year will improve his numbers, I don't see why it would make him twice the power hitter he has been.

.330 (3rd highest single-season average)
40 doubles (2nd highest single-season total)
14 HR (2nd highest single-season total)

I would love it if he would do something huge like Bark's is predicting, but I don't think that's who he is. Not many are. Also, 119 walks would be a 32% increase over his highest single-season total, so I think that isn't feasible. Also, no Twin has scored as many as 107 runs since 1997 when Chuck Knoblauch had 117 (along with a .291 BA, 26 2B, 10 3B, 9 HR, 62 SB in 72 attempts, and 84 BB). Joe Mauer is not going to score 107 runs, in my opinion, with this lineup...or probably with almost anyone's lineup.


These are the most realistic predictions for Mauer that I've seen.

#8 Oxtung

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Posted 23 February 2014 - 03:13 PM

Mauer's K% has increased four straight years rising from 9% to 17% last season. In addition last season his BABIP (because of a career high LD%) was extremely high and well above his norms. I did some mathematical analysis, starting with this post, into how this would affect Mauer's production this season. I believe his final line will be:

.295/.385/.425
.810 OPS
115 K's
93 BB's
37 doubles
11 HR's

#9 JB_Iowa

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Posted 23 February 2014 - 03:34 PM

I honestly believe that it is difficult to project Mauer this year. I don't think any of us really understands the impact that catching was having on him. Even if someone separated out his catching stats for a year from his non-catching stats, it wouldn't really account for the impact of catching over the entire season.

I'm not as optimistic as the original poster but I do think that Mauer will enjoy a bit of a renaissance. I also think that his productivity will be relative to what the team as a whole is doing. If we can see some younger hitters start to come into their own and if Willingham and/or Kubel can have a return to health and productivity, it may bode well for what happens with Joe.

I'm content to wait and see.

#10 KirbyHawk75

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Posted 23 February 2014 - 03:50 PM

Interesting post...I love your enthusiasm. I think he will push for the batting title. He will hit at least .330 in my opinion. I also think he will hit around 15 homers.

#11 Thrylos

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Posted 23 February 2014 - 04:02 PM

Mauer's K% has increased four straight years rising from 9% to 17% last season. In addition last season his BABIP (because of a career high LD%) was extremely high and well above his norms. I did some mathematical analysis, starting with this post, into how this would affect Mauer's production this season. I believe his final line will be:

.295/.385/.425
.810 OPS
115 K's
93 BB's
37 doubles
11 HR's


Steamer has him: .297/.388/.439, 102 K, 83 BB, 35 2B, 14 HR and
Oliver has him: .300/.382/.444, 100 K, 71 BB, 32 2B, 13 HR

That is in the ballpark of what you have him too.

But there is a huge wildcard here: Mauer not hurting from catching and playing 15-20 games more in the season. I think that your projection is low.
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#12 twinsfan34

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Posted 23 February 2014 - 04:11 PM

We saw Mauer take more big rips and swing and miss more last year. I expect that to continue. Last year's strikeouts might have been a bit of an anomaly, but I wouldn't be surprised if Joe fanned 100 times this year in 150-160 games. With that many Ks, I can't see .350, but I can see another batting championship. Fresh legs and more PAs should yield more slugging--I think somewhere between 20 and 27 homers, probably about 24.



Just was curious top batting averages with guys having >= 100 K's in a season.

Here ya go:

Highest BA with 100+ K's.JPG
I'd rather not Mauer get to 100 K's from a purist point of view, however, if he lands in this group, I think I'd find a way to overlook the 100 K's... ;)

#13 Thrylos

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Posted 23 February 2014 - 04:16 PM

He will also be selected to the all-star game as a reserve, will win the gold glove award at 1B and be top 3 in AL MVP voting.


Why not as a starter? Mauer's 5.2 WAR in 2013 would have been the second highest of AL First Basemen, behind Chris Davis' 6.2. Davis is due for a regression and he is more of a DH, so why not an All Star starter ;)
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#14 maars

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Posted 23 February 2014 - 04:17 PM

Normalizing his absurd 2009 to his career average HR/FB rate I got a line of .342/.425/.495 (.920) with an ISO .153 and 14 HRs. I don't think he'll get quite back to those heights, but I do think the best comp for how moving to first will impact his performance is the impact of his missing the beginning of the 2009 season and being fresh later in the season. Based on that, my mostly subjective projection for 2014 Mauer is .335/.410/.485 with 40 doubles and 15 HR.

#15 twinsfan34

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Posted 23 February 2014 - 04:32 PM

For one thing, we will definitely find out if the toll it takes on a catcher really is as signification as many say.


If it is as they say, then Mauer's 2014, despite it being his age 31, Mauer should easily eclipse his career average of .323. And it's not like he's going into 2014 struggling, he's just come off .319 and .324.

Bold Prediction:

155 G .342 AVG 23 HR 90 BB 85 K

Floor Prediction:

Given Mauer's worst full healthy season was .294 in 2005.

I'll say 130 G .310 AVG 13 HR 80 BB 105 K

#16 Bark's Lounge

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Posted 23 February 2014 - 06:37 PM

Why not as a starter? Mauer's 5.2 WAR in 2013 would have been the second highest of AL First Basemen, behind Chris Davis' 6.2. Davis is due for a regression and he is more of a DH, so why not an All Star starter ;)


Miguel Cabrera:)

There he goes. One of God's own prototypes. Some kind of high powered mutant never even considered for mass production. Too weird to live, and too rare to die.


#17 Jdosen

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Posted 23 February 2014 - 10:05 PM

Why not as a starter? Mauer's 5.2 WAR in 2013 would have been the second highest of AL First Basemen, behind Chris Davis' 6.2. Davis is due for a regression and he is more of a DH, so why not an All Star starter ;)

The flaw in saying that however is that a lot of Mauer's WAR was derived from playing catcher, so you can expect an automatic drop from moving to 1B.
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#18 Jdosen

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Posted 23 February 2014 - 10:14 PM

I hate to be a downer, but I think most of you guys saying he's going to hit .350 and hit 25 HRs are out of your minds. He's going to be 31 this year. Guys don't have jumps in production at age 31. I know the other factor at play is his moving out from behind the plate, and I agree that there is probably some sort of positive effect on his health, but if you put a gun to my head, I would guess that that positive effect will be negated by the negative effect of having another birthday.

If you ask me, Steamer's projection of .297/.388/.439 is probably a little bit low, as well as PECOTA's of .312/.393/.448, but both of those systems are known to be a tad conservative. I would be pleased to see .315/.400/.450 from him, and would be pretty surprised if he was considerably better than that.
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#19 maars

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Posted 23 February 2014 - 10:47 PM

The flaw in saying that however is that a lot of Mauer's WAR was derived from playing catcher, so you can expect an automatic drop from moving to 1B.


Entering Mauer's numbers into a WAR calculator shows that a shift in position from C to 1B, assuming he'll have above average defense, would drop his WAR from 5.4 (bbref) or 5.2 (fangraphs) to between 3.9 and 4.3 over 113 games. Everyone on these forums seems to be assuming that the move to 1B will let him play closer to 150-160 games this season, so taking that hypothesis, an identical performance to last season would make Joe worth between 5.3 and 5.6 WAR at 1B, or between $23.6m and $25.4m.

#20 Oxtung

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Posted 24 February 2014 - 09:46 PM

Steamer has him: .297/.388/.439, 102 K, 83 BB, 35 2B, 14 HR and
Oliver has him: .300/.382/.444, 100 K, 71 BB, 32 2B, 13 HR

That is in the ballpark of what you have him too.

But there is a huge wildcard here: Mauer not hurting from catching and playing 15-20 games more in the season. I think that your projection is low.


The problem with the "moving to 1st will make him better" meme is that he hadn't struggled with power. He hits a ton of doubles. He's never going to be a HR hitter unless he changes his swing. His problem the last few years, which has been obscured by his BABIP, is that he is striking out so much more. It doesn't seem likely that moving to 1st will help his contact rate, at least IMO.

At best I think he'll hit a few more doubles and his ISO will go up, but I also expect his BABIP to regress which will decrease his rate stats across the board.

I find the effects of BABIP and K% to be very interesting. We had a big discussion on the boards about Mauer's last season. It will be interesting to see how it turns out.