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  1. The post May Chicago White Sox

    They only win everything.

    Comment by Matt — July 12, 2010 @ 4:32 pm

  2. When you see that his LD & FB rates are normal for him, but his BABIP and HR/FB rates are down, does that suggest he’s just not hitting the ball as hard as he used to?

    If so, maybe that is a sign of injury. He’s seeing the ball as well as ever, is able to square it up, just not generating as much bat speed, not driving the ball as well.

    Gardenhire and Mauer himself have both said he’s banged up.

    Comment by bowie — July 12, 2010 @ 4:37 pm

  3. It’s Ron Gardenhire, not Rod.

    Comment by Andy S — July 12, 2010 @ 5:10 pm

  4. yes, well said

    Comment by bowie — July 12, 2010 @ 5:38 pm

  5. From watching many Twins games, I believe the drop in BABIP drop is mostly due to the defensive shifts other teams are making. Mauer is not adjusting, his opponents are.

    Comment by Tim — July 12, 2010 @ 5:52 pm

  6. I agree with Tim. The defense shifts have seemed to work really well against Mauer. I don’t have any statistics to back this up, but seems many times when he gets a decent hit on the ball, the defense is lined up in a pretty good position to get him out. Another reason is also Target Field. Balls have not been carrying as much as the Metrodome. A few of the balls he hit at Target field would have been easily homeruns at the homer dome.

    Comment by Dane — July 12, 2010 @ 5:58 pm

  7. Both Tim and Dane make valid points on Mauer. Being a Twins fan, and having seen nearly every game so far this season, Mauer has definitely been on the short end of the stick as far as batted balls go.

    More teams are implementing defenses that have been successful versus Mauer – and frankly, Mauer has been a bit ‘unlucky’ so far this season. While his BABIP will not reach that of 2009, it should increase from the current .315 if his LD% and FB% continue to hover around their current marks.

    Also, looking deeper – should much be made about Mauer’s struggles versus the fastball this season? The numbers indicate that he has struggled a bit versus that pitch so far in 2010.

    Comment by Erik — July 12, 2010 @ 6:34 pm

  8. ugh, fixed

    Comment by Matt Klaassen — July 12, 2010 @ 7:44 pm

  9. I can’t speak too much to the shifts — that would be interesting if it were the case. “Bad luck” is probably still part of it.

    This might relate the this fastballs issue — those who have watched Mauer every game as Twins fans probably have more to add here about what he “looks like” against fastballs. It might be that he’s having trouble getting around them as well as he did the previous two years, but it also might be the factors discussed above — fastballs he makes contact with this season may be finding defenders more frequently than in the past, which would effect his pitch value results.

    Thanks for the comments.

    Comment by Matt Klaassen — July 12, 2010 @ 7:48 pm

  10. They’re playing Mauer very well. He’s got to start pulling the ball and driving it more for them to play him straight up or he’ll continue to scuffle a bit. They don’t respect his ability to pull the ball so they bust him in continually and he keeps trying to go the other way with it where they’re defending him. He’s rarely getting extended and therefor not driving it as well as he did last year… Anecdotally, when he does seem to drive it, he’s hitting it at em’ and not over the fence.

    Comment by MC — July 12, 2010 @ 7:59 pm

  11. And I really don’t know how to “prove” that with the data that’s out there, but that’s my general observation and it makes sense to me given all the data out there over the off season about how insane Mauer was last year at driving the ball the other way.

    Comment by MC — July 12, 2010 @ 8:30 pm

  12. He has hit a ton of balls to the warning track in left-center. He really does need to try and pull the ball more- the gain in power would far offset what I think would be a minimal drop in avg, if any.

    Comment by Mike Smithson — July 12, 2010 @ 8:57 pm

  13. If mauer was Spanish, there would be 100 posts about how overrated he is and how terrible that contract will be.

    Comment by Tom — July 12, 2010 @ 9:09 pm

  14. The “That would have been a home run in the Metrodome” excuse has become tiring.

    Comment by Bryz — July 12, 2010 @ 9:55 pm

  15. If I remember correctly, Mauer hits the ball in the air to lf and pulls the ball on the ground. That’s likely a result of his swing path and bat speed. Meaning he likely cannot just up and decide to pull the ball in the air more often. He’s more like Tony Gwynn in that regard.

    I’m not sure if he will have a power season like he did last year, perhaps ever again in his career.

    Comment by CircleChange11 — July 12, 2010 @ 10:17 pm

  16. Interesting fact: Over essentially the same amount of plate appearances, Joe Mauer has been worth about 3 more wins above replacement than Chris Hoiles.

    I’m not really going anywhere with this as far as passing judgment on Mauer (or Hoiles for that matter), I just thought it was a fun little piece of information.

    Comment by The Sauce — July 13, 2010 @ 1:23 am

  17. Or, far more likely, last year was Mauer’s career year. He was 26, it was his 5th full year in the majors, and he put up numbers far, FAR beyond anything he’d ever done before. It’s extremely unlikely 2009 represented a new, sustainable level of performance for Mauer, and it’s unfortunate that the Twins felt they had to sign him to that deal.

    Comment by Jack Str — July 13, 2010 @ 4:31 am

  18. Except that other than his career year last year, his lucky year, Mauer was never much of a ‘hit em over the fence’ kind of guy. Prior to that the best he’d done was 13 HRs in 608 PAs. It’s remarkable to me, even on several stats-oriented websites, how many people take it for granted that Mauer’s 2009 season wasn’t a fluke, and instead use it as the most legitimate baseline from which to make assumptions.

    Comment by Jack Str — July 13, 2010 @ 4:39 am

  19. Yes, we really do go out of our way to criticize Pau Gasol here at FanGraphs.

    Comment by Matt Klaassen — July 13, 2010 @ 9:29 am

  20. “The Post May Chicago White Sox

    They only win everything”

    Minus 2005 when there was an AL Central Team that actually, ya know, managed to win A PLAYOFF GAME (something the Twins haven’t done in their last 9 attempts). How about that BLACKOUT in 2008?

    Comment by Sox27 — July 13, 2010 @ 9:51 am

  21. this is correct. if you look at mauer’s hit chart at target field ( http://mlb.mlb.com/stats/individual_player_hitting_chart.jsp?c_id=min&playerID=408045&statType=1 ) his shots to the left side are either gobbled up by the shortstop playing deep and shading the middle, or caught by the left fielder who is also playing him deep. the second basemen and first basemen have also been shading mauer to go to the opposite field, while the third baseman IIRC typically plays to close the hole.

    Comment by yefrem — July 13, 2010 @ 10:06 am

  22. And Xavi. He sucks, too.

    Comment by Jason B — July 13, 2010 @ 10:28 am

  23. why? aren’t park factors one of the pillars of this community?

    Comment by Steve — July 13, 2010 @ 10:37 am

  24. what a wierd comment.

    Comment by Steve — July 13, 2010 @ 10:38 am

  25. I understand where you’re coming from and often speak up on Latin-related issues. But, I think the comment is misplaced in this situation.

    If anything, to me, the situation represents either [1] how valuable the catcher position is, or [2] how we over-value offense at the catcher position.

    If Mauer played LF, the situation would be drastically different.

    Comment by CircleChange11 — July 13, 2010 @ 12:23 pm

  26. As an example, IMO, this site defends, perhaps too much, the performances of BJ Upton and Adrian Beltre, as compared to what the general fan thinks of them and says about them.

    The casual fan is much more negative, perhaps even borderline racist-sy, in some of their comments of Beltre and Upton.

    This site also does quite a bit of ridiculing the notion of “scrappy white player” such as Eckstein or any other player whgose most well-known attributes are [1] white, [2] undersized, [3] hustles.

    I think there are some worthwhile things to complain about in regards to how MLB and the casual fan views latin players (and takes advantage of their impoverished situation), but I have to say that this site has a pretty good track record at defending the numbers, wherever they may lead, and regardless of what color the player may be.

    LIke I said, the site in general seems to “oppose” the notion of the gritty, gutty, scrappy, white, veteran that the mainstream media worships, all the while defending the guys who are toolsy who may do things like defense, run bases well, and are often latin or “brown” descent, that the casual fan often ridicules for being lazy or “not as good as they should be”, etc.

    Comment by CircleChange11 — July 13, 2010 @ 12:32 pm

  27. Another interesting thing, and I touched on this in a blog post a little while ago – is that when looking at Mauer’s power (exclusively ISO), his 2010 number .131 is nearly right in line with his career figure when you exclude his ridiculous 2009 season.

    Most expected Mauer’s power to increase as he got older, and I still expect that to be the case – heck, he does have 24 doubles so far this season after hitting 30 all of last season…but his 2009 season should probably not act as a barometer when discussing his future.

    I would say that his 2006 season is probably closer to what one should expect from Mauer moving forward – assuming he remains healthy…which is still pretty damn good.

    Comment by Erik — July 13, 2010 @ 5:31 pm

  28. LOL

    Comment by CircleChange11 — July 14, 2010 @ 2:43 am

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