Minnesota Twins: A look at Joe Mauer’s Hall of Fame case

(Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
(Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) /

With the Hall of Fame induction ceremony taking place in Cooperstown, NY this week, Minnesota Twins fans might be wondering when the next member of their team will gain election. Right now, it appears that former star catcher Joe Mauer has the best chance, so here we’ll take a look for his case for election.

The Twins drafted Mauer with the first overall pick in the 2001 amateur draft, though some thought that pitcher Mark Prior, who was taken second by the Chicago Cubs, was the much better talent. Prior quickly made a big impact at the major league level, though injuries derailed his career and he only lasted at the big league level until 2006.

This is one decision that worked out well for the Twins, as Mauer had a great 15-year career (2004-2018), all in Minnesota. Many Twins fans know the accomplishments: Six-time All-Star, five-time Silver Slugger Award winner, and three-time Gold Glove Award winner are among them. He batted over .300 eight times, finishing with a .306 career average and 2,123 hits, and he won three batting titles (2006, 2008, and 2009). In 2009, he took home the American League MVP Award when he finished with a .365 average and a 1.031 OPS.

Minnesota Twins: Did Joe Mauer do enough to get into the Hall of Fame?

Will we see Joe Mauer take the stage in Cooperstown one day? Since he retired after the 2018 season, he will first be eligible in 2024, so there’s still time to discuss his candidacy. His career WAR of 55.2 is impressive for someone who played catcher for the first ten years of his 15-year career.

The 55.2 WAR is above the average Hall of Famer at the catcher position. Mauer ranks ninth all-time; all the other catchers in the top 12 have gained election. Right behind Mauer on the list is Ted Simmons, who was just inducted this week.

Some will argue that Mauer’s peak wasn’t long enough. Over a five-year stretch (2006-2010), he finished in the top eight in MVP voting four times, yet he only placed once outside of that stretch (19th in 2012). Some will also argue that the offense isn’t quite there, especially when he played first base for five seasons. While he was a great hitter overall, he only topped 13 home runs once (28 in 2009) and never had 100 RBIs in a season.

Then there’s the missing postseason resume. While postseason success hasn’t traditionally been a huge factor in baseball voting, it may be held against him by some that his team never won a postseason series and that he only has one career postseason extra base hit and one postseason RBI.

However, when we consider how much that Mauer accomplished over his career at the game’s most physically demanding position, the guess here is that Mauer will get in, maybe not on the first try, but eventually. What do you think? Let us know!

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