The Minnesota Twins are a mess. Sure, they beat the vaunted Angels yesterday in frigid conditions at Target Field, but the Twins are B-A-D bad. Their lineup is just not that good, to my eyes anyway. They aren’t off to the worst start imaginable but the talent on-hand looks a lot like the 70-win team Baseball Prospectus currently projects.
All these statements are meant to exclude Joe Mauer, who is so unbelievably good at baseball it is important to remind ourselves that he is, in fact, real.
Joe Mauer makes a lot of money, that we all know. Joe Mauer agreed to sign his life over to the Twins, an admirable decision for the hometown kid. Sadly, for the next few years at least, Joe Mauer is wasted in Minnesota. With the ghost of Justin Morneau and Josh Willingham around him in the batting order, the Twins are wholly reliant on 2.5 players to handle all their run scoring.
Which isn’t to say Joe Mauer might not be up to the task, because goodness knows he is. He doesn’t hit for power as so many wish he would but the endless barrage of line drives to the gaps will more than suffice.
Mauer is one of the very best hitters in the game today. His swing is a work of art, a marvel of balance and rotational energy. Mauer can seemingly handle any pitch in any count in any location. He ranks in the top ten in wRC+ over the last four seasons, one of which was largely lost to injury. He is also a catcher and also enormous, two facts which are largely at odds.
Mauer had four hits last night, a double and a home run included, in leading his hapless Twins to victory. It’s just so sad that he’s in it alone.
The Twins might be better in the next couple years, with a few promising young players coming through their pipeline. Maybe Mauer will still command the squad from behind the plate at that point, maybe he’ll complete his move to designated hitter slash first baseman. For now, Mauer is a rare talent in the Major Leauges, one many won’t get to appreciate as he struggles along with the also-ran Twins.
Don’t be that guy. Don’t miss out on a player of Mauer’s calibre because the management of his team was so wrongheaded for so long. Appreciate Joe Mauer and his unique skillset because his swing will bring a tear to your eye, if you let it.
And the rest
Ben Revere, doing things and doing them well.
In response to the attacks in Boston and amid concerns of a charged atmosphere after last week’s brawl, the Dodgers beefed up security before last night’s game with the Padres at Dodger Stadium. [L.A. Times]
Jeff Sullivan on the relative value of blown calls in baseball games. [Fangraphs]
What I picture when I hear people drone on about robot umps and beefed up video replay:
On the Cubs and their use of an on-field interpreter. [Chicago Sun-Times]
Some thoughts on Jackie Robinson [Getting Blanked]
Must-read on the Cardinals pitchers learning to embrace elevation. [St. Louis Post-Dispatch]