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Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Congrats Joe

In honor of the start of awards season tomorrow, I thought we here at Twins MVB were overdue in congratulating Joe Mauer on his second American League Batting Title!

With the chaos and frustration of a tie breaking loss the Chicago White Sox the season ended on an abrupt and sour note. The players walked away with the stinging loss and at best the hopeful thoughts of next year. Yet Mauer's accomplishment cannot go unnoticed.

The St. Paul native now has two batting titles at the young age of 25. In 2006, Mauer hit .347 to become the first AL catcher to ever win the title and the last catcher to win it in either league since Ernie Lombardi hit .330 for the 1942 Boston Braves. In 2008, Mauer hit ONLY .328 but grabbed his second title as a catcher leaving him in a league of his own.

With just over 2000 at bats in his young career, Mauer owns 653 career hits with a .317 career batting average. It's hard to project these numbers into the future with Mauer's injury history and the nature of the catcher position, but it is undeniable that Joe is truly a special hitter. If I were a betting man I would say Mauer will win two more batting titles by the end of his career, and possibly more if he can successfully transition to a new position in the distant future.

For now, I'll always remember the story I read about Joe's grandpa who taught him how to hit as a little boy. When the Twins drafted Mauer with the No. 1 overall pick in 2001, Joe's grandpa came into GM Terry Ryan's office and said, "You just drafted the next .400 hitter!" Let's hope that oracle someday comes true.

For now... how many more batting title do you think Joe can win? Let's hear your comments.


Paul said...

my question for mvb is where would you move mauer if you had to due to injury, considering the twins still have morneau at first, DH? or do you trade him off while he still has value

MVB said...

Good question! Tough question. You definitely can't trade him even if his value does decline in the future. I think it would be a PR nightmare trading away the hometown hero. Perhaps he could catch until 2012 or whenever Morneau's contract ends up and play 1B, or many scouts think he has enough athleticism to play 3B but I'm a bit sceptical because of his height (6'5''). We'll see how his knees hold up over the next 4-5 years.