Minnesota Twins: Joe Mauer, the Poster Boy for Regression
Joe Mauer isn’t the same player he once was and is hurting the Minnesota Twins lineup by batting in the top of the order every night.
The Minnesota Twins have a problem on their hands when it comes to producing runs and it all comes down to Joe Mauer being in the top of the lineup. Do not get me wrong, Mauer was once a great hitter. He was part of a dangerous team featuring the M & M boys (Mauer and Morneau).
However, Justin Morneau has not played for the Twins since 2013 and was not the same player after a concussion in the middle of the 2010 season. Mauer began playing first base in order to prolong his career and to give Morneau off days. His time at first base continued to increase until taking over full-time in 2014.
This is the same timing as when Mauer’s bat no longer led the Twins offense. Joe became an average hitter and finished 2014 with a .277/.361/.371 line with four home runs and 55 RBIs. He has continued to regress while remaining at the top of the Twins batting order.
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Mauer has hit more than thirteen home runs once in his career.
Now the power has never been something fans expected from Mauer. He has warning track power and had a knack for getting doubles and finding the opening in the defense to bring in runs. His MVP season in 2009 was the exception with 28 home runs, 96 RBIs and a .365/.444/.587 line that led the AL.
First base is a position known for power from Albert Pujols to Miguel Cabrera to Paul Goldschmidt. Mauer provides doubles power but defenses have learned to shift on him to play his tendency to hit the ball to the opposite field.
Mauer continues to regress from what he used to be and instead of increasing offensive production he is slowing down run scoring. Joe used to walk more than he struck out, now it is the opposite. His batting average is no where near where it used to be and fans are starting to notice.
Mauer has batted cleanup for the Twins ten times this season with six RBIs. That just will not cut it for a team that needs runs and offensive production. It is time for the Twins to drop Mauer to the bottom half of the lineup card.
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Although Mauer used to be the hometown hero for the Minnesota Twins, he is no longer the same player. The Twins need to drop him in the lineup and allow their young core to take over. Thank you, Joe, for everything you have given to this team but it’s time for change.