Rant Sports MLB Top 50 Players of 2014: No. 45 Joe Mauer
The Minnesota Twins received disappointing news late in the season when their star catcher, Joe Mauer, went down for the season. The 6-5 native of St. Paul was injured on August 19 after taking a foul ball off his mask during a game with the New York Mets.
Having been a former catcher myself, I can personally attest to the rattling and disorientation that kind of incident causes and apparently Mauer got hit hard enough that he had a concussion. After trying for over a month to get back to form and ready to play, the Twins decided it would be best for Mauer to sit out the rest of the season on September 19. As a result of being out almost the last two months of the MLB season, some of Mauer’s numbers are not as impressive as they could be, but it is still clear that he was on pace for a solid season.
Having played in only 113 games in 2013, Mauer’s 11 home runs and 47 RBI seem a bit low, but for him, are actually not bad at all. As a catcher, Mauer has never fit into the prototypical offensive mold. Other than his 2009, MVP-winning season in which he hit 28 home runs and drove in 96 RBI, Mauer has never hit more than 13 home runs nor had more than 85 RBI in any season. He has always been more of a contact hitter, always hitting for a high average and on-base percentage. Mauer is also the only catcher to ever win the batting title three times in his career and his .324 BA and .404 OBP in 2013 are exceptional.
In fact, Mauer is the only catcher in MLB history with at least 100 plate appearances to have a career BA and OBP over .300 and .400, respectively, in games played as a catcher. He is well on his way to becoming one of the best offensive catchers of all time. Mauer can field well too, having won three Gold Glove Awards already and finishing as a finalist this season. If he can remain healthy, Mauer could very well go down in the history books and into Cooperstown.
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