C: The Great One
With this post, I will begin my series of evaluating the positions/players of the 2008 Minnesota Twins, looking at what went wrong, what went right, and what we can expect in 2009. Now, you may think that this assessment is a bit premature (what with the playoffs just heating up), but I would like to comment on these things before they fade from my memory and become generalizations instead of observations. Let’s start with the catcher position:
In 2008, Joe Mauer was the most consistent batter in the Twins’ lineup. His stats read: .328 BA (AL leader), 85 RBI, 98 R. He doesn’t hit for much power, but he is pretty much money to get at least one hit a night. Basically, he’s the perfect table-setter for the Twins’ “big bats” (do those exist…more later), as he always seems to be on base (where he runs well) and making something happen.
Defensively, Mauer still has a cannon-like arm and can throw out pretty much anybody. His defensive numbers seemed to droop this year, but that was likely because of the Twins’ young pitchers’ inability to effectively hold runners on first base (something that will only improve with time).
This position is really the simplest to “critique”, as nothing is wrong! Mauer can hit, run, field, throw, catch, and handle a young pitching staff with the best of them. Though some people may want the power numbers to improve, I will take a .320 hitter batting third in the lineup until kingdom come. Mauer will be the catcher of the Twins for a very long time.
Next: First Base