Joe Mauer: Time to Bounce Back
By Brennen Rupp
The Minnesota Twins offense finished seventh in runs scored a year ago. The success the Twins had on offense in 2014 was a surprise. What’s even more surprising is the fact that they accomplished to be productive despite their best player having a down year.
First baseman, Joe Mauer had the worst season of his big league career in 2014. He had a career low .277 batting average and struck out a career-high 96 times. Despite Mauer’s struggles, the Twins offense was able to perform at a high level. How good can the Twins offense be if Mauer is able to bounce back?
Nobody is expecting Mauer to rewind the clock and have an MVP caliber season. New manager, Paul Molitor has made it clear that he plans to have Mauer batting in the three hole of the Twins lineup. He won’t be there for long if he produces like he did in 2014.
Mauer has never been known for his power. Expecting him to hit thirty or more home runs with a 120 RBIs is unrealistic. If Mauer can hit near his career average (.319) and hit 30 or more doubles it would no doubt make the Twins a more dangerous team and make the other bats in the lineup better.
Even if Mauer is able to return to “form” it’s no guarantee that the Twins offense will be one of the leaders in runs scored again in 2015. Youngsters like, Danny Santana, Kenny Vargas and Oswaldo Arcia could take a step back.
Every team in the AL Central, minus the Kansas City Royals, got better during the offseason. To expect the Twins to make the jump from the cellar in 2015 is hoping for a lot. However, if Mauer is able to bounce back the Twins won’t be losing 90 games and could climb out of the AL Central cellar in 2015.
The Twins start the “Molitor” Era on April 6th against the Detroit Tigers. Fans are excited to see prospects like, Byron Buxton, Miguel Sano and Alex Meyer at some point this season. Brian Dozier made a name for himself in 2014. But, make no mistake about it, this is still Mauer’s team.