Sunday, September 18, 2011

Saying nice things about Joe Mauer

First, let me just express my shock that I find myself having to defend Joe Mauer (though Joe Mauer bunting is still an unforgivable offense).Joe Mauer had knee surgery in the offseason, and it came too late for him fully recover, and he was unprepared for the season, physically. Late in the season, he has developed pneumonia. In the middle, he tweaked his neck. People have called him soft, and questioned his resolve and even his remaining talent this season.
Despite being plagued by injury and only playing half of the season, he OPS+'d at a clip of 104, meaning he was above average at the plate as compared to the rest of the players in the league. Because he is a catcher, his value is even greater, and his WAR is 1.7, which ain't bad (not great, but not bad, either). Mauer generally has a high BABIP owing to his line drive clip. His BABIP is down 30 points this season, indicating an unlucky onfield performance, and his line drive rate is nearly the same, so it IS mostly luck (though his fly balls and ground balls are down and up respectively).
Basically the point is that Joe Mauer is good even in a bad season, and his bad season had a lot to do with bad luck.

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