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Monday, July 30, 2018

‘I guess we’ll find out’: What does the future hold for Joe Mauer?

Herein lies the question(s), then: Clearly, Mauer can still hit a bit, but does his offensive profile have any market value, especially in the face of his other deficiencies? And, moreover, does the possibility of qualitative value - the benefit of having a potential mentor in Mauer - make palatable the opportunity cost of committing a roster spot to an aging, power-deficient first baseman?

Dennis Eclairskey, closer Posted: July 30, 2018 at 04:26 PM | 109 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: free agency, joe mauer, minnesota twins

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   1. Walt Davis Posted: July 30, 2018 at 06:02 PM (#5718139)
Wow that contract is finally at an end. Anywwy there aren't really "other deficiencies." bWAR still credits him as an average baserunner, doesn't really hit into DPs and mildly above-average defense. There's nothing really to "like" but he's been average over the last 5 years and this year. Given the state of 1B/DH in the AL currently, he seems worth a moderate 1-year contract -- basically a (pre-2018) Mitch Moreland.

The average AL 1B this year is -0.8 WAA and only Oakland is getting anything solidly above average and 4 teams are at replacement level or worse. That can change quickly of course (last year AL 1B were just -0.2 WAA) with trades, FAs and pushing old farts aside but there's a good chance Mauer will still be worthy of a starting 1B spot somewhere next year.
   2. Dennis Eclairskey, closer Posted: July 30, 2018 at 11:02 PM (#5718282)
Mauer's WAR totals for the past five seasons read: 1.7, 0.3, 1.0, 2.2, and, presently, 0.7


I see the article uses Fangraphs which credits Mauer with about 6 WAR in just over 4 and half years

BB Ref WAR has Mauer's seasonal WAR totals as 2.0, 1.7, 2.1, 3.4 and presently 1.0 for an overall total of 10.2 WAR and 0.7 WAA
   3. vortex of dissipation Posted: July 31, 2018 at 03:10 AM (#5718333)
Could the Twins' trade for Tyler Austin be the writing on the wall?
   4. Leroy Kincaid Posted: July 31, 2018 at 06:09 AM (#5718336)
It'd be kinda cool if we didn't find out. Like if Mauer just disappeared, became a recluse or something. But then I guess we would still have found out.
   5. Fiore Gino Posted: July 31, 2018 at 08:34 AM (#5718353)
It's hard to imagine Mauer in another uniform. I hope to see Minnesota re-sign him for a 1 or 2-year deal. I think it helps his HOF case if he stays on one franchise but that's not likely the main thoughts on Mauer's or the Twins franchise's minds
   6. caspian88 Posted: July 31, 2018 at 12:28 PM (#5718477)
Would Mauer even want to play for another team? He was born and grew up in St. Paul and he has played his entire career in Minnesota. He'll be 36 years old next season, he's been an average player for five years now, and his power is gone. He's made probably $250 million in his career (between salary, signing bonus, merchandising and endorsements, and so on).

The Twins probably have room for Mauer next year (at a reduced salary for a one-year contract), but I'd be shocked if he chose to sign with another team.

Honestly, I think the next step for him is really the Hall of Fame ballot. He's a 50% catcher (more like 70% if you ignore DH time) with a .307 career batting average, 2000 career hits, three batting titles, an MVP and three Gold Gloves. His overall career shape, offensively, isn't far off from Mickey Cochrane, though Mauer doesn't have the managing resume or the postseason success. I'd vote for him and I think he'll have a strong debut, but he won't make it on the first ballot.
   7. DL from MN Posted: July 31, 2018 at 01:20 PM (#5718517)
The Twins found a spot for Molitor and Winfield and will for Mauer also.
   8. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: July 31, 2018 at 01:31 PM (#5718527)
It's hard to imagine Mauer in another uniform.
He'll finish up his career with a half-season with the A's.
   9. Batman Posted: July 31, 2018 at 01:46 PM (#5718541)
After he finishes his mandatory season with the A's, I hope Mauer signs a one-day contract to retire with somebody like the Rockies, just to confuse everybody.
   10. vortex of dissipation Posted: July 31, 2018 at 02:05 PM (#5718560)
Or the Yokohama DeNA BayStars, to really confuse everybody.
   11. The Yankee Clapper Posted: July 31, 2018 at 02:17 PM (#5718565)
If Mauer comes back for another season, he'll end up with more games at DH & 1st Base than behind the plate (assuming he plays fairly regularly). He'll still have those peak years through his age-30 season as primarily a Catcher, but it probably doesn't increase his HoF chances to put up little or no value at other positions at this point.
   12. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: July 31, 2018 at 02:20 PM (#5718568)
Or the Yokohama DeNA BayStars, to really confuse everybody.
"I always wanted to retire as a Ham Fighter."
   13. Zonk qualifies as an invasive species Posted: July 31, 2018 at 02:28 PM (#5718575)
Strictly for purposes of the counting stats many writers will still be using inside of 10 years -

He ought to get to 1000 runs (he's 9 short) this year. 1000 RBI (92 short) he might be able to straggle his way towards. Ditto 1000 BBs (76 short).

Not saying it helps his worthiness mind you - indeed, if he gets there by eating into his WAR/WAA (and he'd almost certainly shed some WAA to get there), it might hurt him with the saber sorts.... but I suspect a few more four digit totals in his career line might net him a few BBWAA votes.
   14. Crispix Attacksel Rios Posted: July 31, 2018 at 02:34 PM (#5718581)
I think he'll go to the Rockies. No real reason.
   15. Ithaca2323 Posted: July 31, 2018 at 03:26 PM (#5718609)
I'm not sure I'd vote for Mauer. I'm a career guy, not a peak guy, and I really hadn't given much thought to how to weigh the C/1B/DH split.
   16. Walt Davis Posted: August 01, 2018 at 03:39 AM (#5718896)
Barring a renaissance, I don't see Mauer making it. Mickey Cochrane might be a fine comp but the only post-WW2 catcher to get major support with so little time behind the plate is Campanella and there were all sort of extenuating circumstances there. He's only about 1 season ahead of Gene Tenace in terms of career starts at C. Piazza and Berra have got the lowest WAR (60) of any Cs they've put in since Campy and they both have about twice as many starts back there as Mauer. Closest comp in terms of a half-C is Torre - nearly identical in starts at C, WAR, WAA -- and he never topped 22%. The nice part of Simmons' career (71-83) is also a nice match in PA, WAR and WAA but he's also got about twice as many starts at C and a lot of (not good) playing time outside of his peak. He was one and done. He did just come close with the VC though.

Munson was a short-career C (with 400 more starts than Mauer) who managed to stay on all 15 years but topped at 15%. Freehan is another one (600 more starts) and was one and done. I suppose Banks is something of a comp -- 55 WAR as a SS primarily in about the same number of PAs Mauer was a C/DH, then a meh 1B. But that meh 1B phase was another 5200 PA and put him over 500 HRs. And, since nobody paid attention to Arky Vaughan, at his peak, Banks was probably the best SS the living voters had ever seen.

It's not like he deserves some sort of extra credit for moving off C. If none of those guys made it with many more starts at C, it's hard to justify it for Mauer. He'll be something of a test of the staying power of "batting titles" and a 300 career average.

In his 9+ years of mostly catching (though only two seasons over 110 starts) he put up 45 WAR. That's very good but not such an amazing peak to ignore the short career. That's roughly Munson's career except with 400 fewer games caught. It's roughly the same as Simmons C peak (72-80) with about 300 fewer games caught.

It's a shame, but he just couldn't stay healthy enough in-season or across-season to make it. And age hasn't been kind either. If he'd managed to stay at C for another 500 or so games caught, it might be a different story ... at least he would have earned the comp to Simmons and wouldn't look that far off Piazza/Berra. Then the defense, the BA, the MVP, the batting titles might work their magic. Anyway, step 1 is the BBWAA viewing him as a "catcher" in the way Banks and Yount were "shortstops" rather than in the way that Torre was not considered a "catcher." I suppose the GGs will help with that.
   17. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: August 01, 2018 at 06:03 AM (#5718904)
It'd be kinda cool if we didn't find out. Like if Mauer just disappeared, became a recluse or something.


That's pretty much what happened to Stan Belinda.
   18. Howie Menckel Posted: August 01, 2018 at 08:27 AM (#5718915)
Mauer top to bottom OPS+ batting title qualified, mainly as a catcher:
171 144 142 140 140 138 134 107

after that:
115 107 104 100 098

so as noted, pretty irrelevant re post-C days

125 career OPS+

.307 career AVG, .390 OBP - but has reached neither mark since discarding the tools of ignorance in 2013

hit more than 13 HR just once, never knocked in 100 runs, 6-time All-Star, finished 1-4-6-8-19 in MVP voting, 3 Gold Gloves

I think he needs to hurry up and retire before his most likely voters kick the bucket!
   19. Zonk qualifies as an invasive species Posted: August 01, 2018 at 10:10 AM (#5718951)
Munson was a short-career C (with 400 more starts than Mauer) who managed to stay on all 15 years but topped at 15%. Freehan is another one (600 more starts) and was one and done. I suppose Banks is something of a comp -- 55 WAR as a SS primarily in about the same number of PAs Mauer was a C/DH, then a meh 1B. But that meh 1B phase was another 5200 PA and put him over 500 HRs. And, since nobody paid attention to Arky Vaughan, at his peak, Banks was probably the best SS the living voters had ever seen.


Huh, it's closer than I'd have thought - strictly from his years as a catcher (no, I did not remove his DH PAs during his catching years) -

Mauer 27 WAA/44.7 WAR (27.7 WAA/52.8 WAR total)
Freehan 21.2 WAA/43.3 WAR
Munson 25.5 WAA/43.1 WAR

Munson and Mauer both have MVPs (and Munson has a ROY), but Freehan's got a runner-up and 3rd pace. Freehan's got more GGs (5 to 3 each) and more ASGs, so we could probably call the hardware about even.

What Mauer does have is more black ink - the three batting titles plus two OBP titles (and the black ink heavy 2009 overall).

I'm comfortable saying that Mauer has a clear lead over Freehan and Munson/is more HoF deserving.... but I can't decide whether this means Freehan and Munson should get more HoF consideration or perhaps Mauer deserves less than I'm giving him credit for.

   20. BDC Posted: August 01, 2018 at 10:25 AM (#5718963)
Mauer's got three batting titles and an MVP award … but then, so does Larry Walker. They're not particularly similar players, but in terms of how the HOF voters will view them, it might be a similar voting pattern: some support, staying on for several ballots, but not enough. Mauer would appear to be a shoo-in for the Hall of Merit.
   21. The Yankee Clapper Posted: August 01, 2018 at 11:06 AM (#5718996)
He'll be something of a test of the staying power of "batting titles" and a 300 career average.

Bill Madlock had 4 batting titles and a .305 career average, but was one and done with just 4.5% of the vote in his one year on the HoF ballot. Mauer seems to be more highly thought of, and will probably do better, but past precedents don't help him much. The Hall is overdue for making a proper positional adjustment for catchers, but I'd feel better about any re-evaluation if the beneficiaries were the guys who caught a lot, who may continue to be overlooked if Mauer is regarded as a special case. Should be one of the more interesting Hall of Fame debates of late.
   22. Dennis Eclairskey, closer Posted: August 01, 2018 at 11:16 AM (#5719000)
I think some of Madlock’s batting titles were less respected since he sat out games specifically to win the batting crown. Also, Madlock had a poor defensive rep but he does bring up an interesting comparison due to the batting titles. Mauer & Molina will retire close enough to each other that they will affect each other’s support to a degree. I think both get in eventually
   23. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: August 01, 2018 at 11:22 AM (#5719007)
I think some of Madlock’s batting titles were less respected since he sat out games specifically to win the batting crown.


Also, winning a batting title with 95 hits is not particularly impressive. Madlock won 2 batting titles with fewer hits than team games. Very few players did that even once.
   24. dlf Posted: August 01, 2018 at 11:23 AM (#5719009)
It isn't exact, but I see Mauer as Joe Torre a few decades later. Former MVPs, had to move off catcher, really good hitter for the position, but spent a lot of time elsewhere. Mauer's MVP was behind the plate while Torre's was at 3B. Close enough to the same overall offensively 129 OPS+ vs. 125. Both had about 900 games at C, Torre about 1300 elsewhere and Mauer about 600. I would have voted for Torre even absent his managing, but he was getting 10-15% support from BBWAA until he won a WS as a manger.
   25. Master of the Horse Posted: August 01, 2018 at 11:26 AM (#5719013)
Why isn't Mauer receiving any credit for coming back from injury? He was a regular all star and mvp candidate through age 30, took that foul tip that gave him a severe concussion and that forced the move to first base. And while I think the hall of fame is pretty stupid because it's governed by made up rules by silly people I don't know why Molina is talked about as a hall of fame player and Joe Mauer isn't.
   26. dlf Posted: August 01, 2018 at 11:31 AM (#5719023)
I don't know why Molina is talked about as a hall of fame player and Joe Mauer isn't.


Pretty simple: Molina's teams have won the WS, Mauer's haven't gotten out of the first round.
   27. BDC Posted: August 01, 2018 at 11:32 AM (#5719024)
Why isn't Mauer receiving any credit for coming back from injury? He was a regular all star and mvp candidate through age 30, took that foul tip that gave him a severe concussion and that forced the move to first base

Same reason Don Mattingly doesn't get a lot of credit for his latter years. Both kept playing for a while, but as pretty ordinary players, and the extra seasons didn't help them get to any major career milestones (because their peaks were so short to start with).
   28. RMc Has Bizarre Ideas to Fix Baseball Posted: August 01, 2018 at 11:32 AM (#5719025)
Hm. I use 62 WAR as my informal in/out line, and award up to 10 "bonus" WAR for catchers. Mauer's played 60% of his career behind the dish, so that's 54.7 + 6 = 60.7. No rings, and his HOF Standards, Monitor, Black Ink, counting stats and sim scores (Michael Young?) are all underwhelming. It's a no from me, dawg.
   29. Master of the Horse Posted: August 01, 2018 at 11:33 AM (#5719026)
Is that something you believe is an accurate summary of career value of each player or what you believe drives the Molina is a hall of fame player talk?
   30. Master of the Horse Posted: August 01, 2018 at 11:37 AM (#5719031)
Mattingly and Mauer both had 5 WAR plus seasons at age 23 and Mattingly's last 5 WAR type season was at age 26 and Mauer did it at age 30. I get the Mattingly short peak statement but don't see it for Mauer. And Mauer had a 3 win season at age 34. Mattingly was a 2 win player at 33 and then done. Don't think it's really that close and Mauer has like a 10 win advantage on that guy so feel ok with this position
   31. Master of the Horse Posted: August 01, 2018 at 11:41 AM (#5719033)
And I thought people were always looking out for the guys who were thought to be No Peds. Mauer did all this with no hint of help from any magical rubs or creams or injections. Why no No Peds bonus for Mauer?
   32. The Yankee Clapper Posted: August 01, 2018 at 11:44 AM (#5719036)
I don't know why Molina is talked about as a hall of fame player and Joe Mauer isn't.

The current chatter may not be representative of the thinking of BBWAA voters, now or when they are both on the ballot. A strong, or weak, finish could affect voter perceptions. It also may be that the pro-Molina camp feels more of a need to talk up his HoF case, since he's the less obvious candidate by some measures.
   33. Zonk qualifies as an invasive species Posted: August 01, 2018 at 11:57 AM (#5719043)
Hm. I use 62 WAR as my informal in/out line, and award up to 10 "bonus" WAR for catchers. Mauer's played 60% of his career behind the dish, so that's 54.7 + 6 = 60.7. No rings, and his HOF Standards, Monitor, Black Ink, counting stats and sim scores (Michael Young?) are all underwhelming. It's a no from me, dawg.


When it comes to the HoF - I really feel like WAR needs to be paired with WAA... 27-28 is a bit low for me - generally, I feel like 60/30 gets you in, but you hit either (but not both) and you'll at least get/deserve a strong look.

Mauer certainly wouldn't the worst HoFer... but I remain on the fence on him. Prior to the stricter BBWAA cutoffs - I suspect he'd have just missed my ballot most of the time.

With the 10 and done - I've got a feeling he'll have a better shot at the 10 slot... Looking at the current backlog - I'd expect everyone except Vizquel (no), Manny (yes) and Rolen (yes) to be cleared out by the time he retires, one way or another. Maybe Wagner and Sheffield, maybe not. Assuming Jeter, Mo, and Halladay skate in - maybe Ortiz, too? - I see upcoming additions of Abreu, Pettite, Tejeda, Hudson, Helton, Beltran, Berkman and a sprinkle of others. Then there's A-Rod - unfair though it is.

Ichiro... Pujols, assuming he doesn't play out his contract.

IDK... Mauer should probably talk to his colleagues about their retirement plans. I think he'd definitely benefit - just ballot crunch-wise - from timing his entry. Of course, a lot depends on how the backlog goes.



   34. dlf Posted: August 01, 2018 at 12:03 PM (#5719049)
Is that something you believe is an accurate summary of career value of each player or what you believe drives the Molina is a hall of fame player talk?


Assuming this is in response to #26, the latter.
   35. Master of the Horse Posted: August 01, 2018 at 12:18 PM (#5719064)
34--Thanks.
   36. BDC Posted: August 01, 2018 at 02:58 PM (#5719194)
Mattingly's last 5 WAR type season was at age 26 and Mauer did it at age 30. I get the Mattingly short peak statement but don't see it for Mauer


I tend to agree with you, and I think the Hall of Merit certainly will. I think the Hall of Fame voters might disagree with all of us :(
   37. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: August 01, 2018 at 03:11 PM (#5719204)
I don't know why Molina is talked about as a hall of fame player and Joe Mauer isn't.


Molina has been an absolute key cog, if not the most important cog, in a highly successful franchise. Yadier has been extremely durable, and has now started nearly twice as many games at catcher as Mauer. He has nearly twice as many innings caught as Mauer. Molina has won 8 GG to Mauer's 3.

Postseason is not remotely comparable. Molina has 343 PA in the postseason, helping his team reach 4 World Series and winning two of them. His postseason OPS is 707. Mauer has 44 PA in 4 quick playoff flameouts. His postseason OPS is 641.

Molina leads in ASG 9 to 6.
   38. Jose Bautista Bobblehead Day Posted: August 01, 2018 at 03:14 PM (#5719207)
The HOF chances of the Mauer/Molina/Posey trio are going to be greatly affected by what we learn about the value of pitch framing, game-calling, etc. over the next decade or so. The Baseball Prospectus estimates of catcher value may be overly aggressive, but they're probably closer to the truth than the likes of Keith Law dismissing Molina's HOF chances altogether. If Baseball Reference WAR used BP's run values for catcher defense in place of Rfield, you'd get about the following career WAR (using 10 runs per win):

Mauer - 59
Martin - 56
McCann - 55
Molina - 52
Posey - 52

While these estimates may seem high (particularly for Martin and McCann), would it really be surprising to learn that the best defenders at catcher—the position that handles the ball one to two orders of magnitude more often than any other—are worth 30-40 runs a year?
   39. BDC Posted: August 01, 2018 at 03:17 PM (#5719210)
Molina also seems, at least in the popular imagination, to be the Mazeroski of catchers: a guy whose defense is so uniquely superior that he deserves the HOF no matter what he did with the bat.
   40. Master of the Horse Posted: August 01, 2018 at 03:25 PM (#5719213)
37--I know what posters are sharing is how hall of fame voters think and not their personal views so I am comfortable stating that everyone here is doing a fabulous job of explaining why the hall of fame is irrelevant at least to younger fans. Or maybe just me. And I am not picking on Molina because I know the guy has been amazing as a catcher and turned himself into a hitter which is pretty rare because hitting is so difficult. But Mauer was just so ####### awesome for such a good stretch it blows me away that anyone who thinks they know baseball and claims they get baseball can then say Joe Mauer is not one of the best catchers of his era and therefore is not a hall of fame player. Like how do you make that argument and consider yourself intelligent on baseball? You can't. Because it's nonsense.
   41. Zonk qualifies as an invasive species Posted: August 01, 2018 at 03:25 PM (#5719214)
The HOF chances of the Mauer/Molina/Posey trio are going to be greatly affected by what we learn about the value of pitch framing, game-calling, etc. over the next decade or so. The Baseball Prospectus estimates of catcher value may be overly aggressive, but they're probably closer to the truth than the likes of Keith Law dismissing Molina's HOF chances altogether. If Baseball Reference WAR used BP's run values for catcher defense in place of Rfield, you'd get about the following career WAR (using 10 runs per win):

Mauer - 59
Martin - 56
McCann - 55
Molina - 52
Posey - 52

While these estimates may seem high (particularly for Martin and McCann), would it really be surprising to learn that the best defenders at catcher—the position that handles the ball one to two orders of magnitude more often than any other—are worth 30-40 runs a year?


Unless he falls off a cliff soon - I don't see Posey really fitting in the trio.

He's already got 40.7 WAR and 26.2(!) WAA -- he's having his "worst" season of this career (291/364/404 - but still good for a 110 OPS+). Plus - even this down season has still been worth 1.1 WAA/2.4 WAR... that's on top of an MVP and a batting title (and the two WS wins). Posey pretty much needs to stay away from PEDs and not pull an early Alomar.

Who knows - if this is the start of a slide, maybe... but I feel like Posey is pretty safe.

As for Molina- I'm not as dismissive as Law.... but 16.5 WAA and 38.2 WAR? There better be one hella lot of unknown value we're not seeing.

EDIT: Not doing the bWAR adjustments, of course... just saying.

EDIT2: Per Posey - or maybe try some PEDs but not get caught!
   42. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: August 01, 2018 at 03:30 PM (#5719217)
would it really be surprising to learn that the best defenders at catcher—the position that handles the ball one to two orders of magnitude more often than any other—are worth 30-40 runs a year?


It would. In the same way that the infielder that handles the ball more than any other is the least valuable defender.
   43. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: August 01, 2018 at 03:44 PM (#5719231)
it blows me away that anyone who thinks they know baseball and claims they get baseball can then say Joe Mauer is not one of the best catchers of his era and therefore is not a hall of fame player. Like how do you make that argument and consider yourself intelligent on baseball? You can't. Because it's nonsense.


He was an unbelievable catcher for a short period of time. You value his pinnacle of greatness covering a short period of regular season play, where his team didn't win anything of note.

Others place more value on a player who had the durability and skill to provide lots of value to his team over many years of regular season grind, while continuing to produce in the postseason and help his team become two-time world champions.

   44. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: August 01, 2018 at 03:48 PM (#5719234)
One more data comparison:

Seasons with 100+ GS at catcher:

Yadi: 142, 136, 133, 133, 131, 131, 130, 128, 118, 114, 111, 106, 101
Mauer: 135, 119, 110, 107, 105

Filling catcher starts is difficult in today's game, and those backups probably provided little value when Mauer couldn't play, which was frequent.

You play to win the game. If I was able to draft Yadi's career before it happened, or Mauer's career, I know which one I'd draft to maximize my team's chances for winning games.
   45. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: August 01, 2018 at 03:54 PM (#5719237)
You play to win the game. If I was able to draft Yadi's career before it happened, or Mauer's career, I know which one I'd draft to maximize my team's chances for winning games.


If you pick the guy who had 2 seasons higher than 4 WAR over the guy who had 7, it would be a foolish pick.
   46. BDC Posted: August 01, 2018 at 03:54 PM (#5719238)
would it really be surprising to learn that the best defenders at catcher—the position that handles the ball one to two orders of magnitude more often than any other—are worth 30-40 runs a year?


It would surprise me that they were that much better than the average catcher, especially since all those mentioned in #38 are pretty good hitters. If catchers differed so greatly from one another defensively, I think you'd see more Jeff Mathis types as regulars.

If the argument is that C should get more of a positional adjustment, because all catchers add more defensive value than, say, bWAR now thinks they do, that might be a stronger argument.
   47. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: August 01, 2018 at 03:57 PM (#5719240)
If you pick the guy who had 2 seasons higher than 4 WAR over the guy who had 7, it would be a foolish pick.


You may not realize this, but WAR is not the perfect measure of value. Particularly at catcher. Mauer gets credit for being a superb hitter for the two or three full seasons he managed to stay on the field, and no downside to his value when the Twins are trotting out garbage for 100 games a year because Mauer is hurt.

   48. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: August 01, 2018 at 04:01 PM (#5719243)
and no downside to his value when the Twins are trotting out garbage for 100 games a year because Mauer is hurt.


Exaggerate much? Mauer has 12 seasons in which he qualified for the batting title, and has only one season in which he played fewer than 100 games, and has never missed 100.
   49. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: August 01, 2018 at 04:04 PM (#5719245)
We're talking about catching. Mauer had 5 seasons where he played at least 100 games at catcher. Yadi has 13. Mauer has played half as many games at catcher at Molina.

   50. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: August 01, 2018 at 04:07 PM (#5719246)
Mauer has played half as many games at catcher at Molina.


And yet, he's been a far more valuable player over his career.
   51. Zonk qualifies as an invasive species Posted: August 01, 2018 at 04:12 PM (#5719247)
You may not realize this, but WAR is not the perfect measure of value. Particularly at catcher. Mauer gets credit for being a superb hitter for the two or three full seasons he managed to stay on the field, and no downside to his value when the Twins are trotting out garbage for 100 games a year because Mauer is hurt.


Not saying it impacts the career value or HoF chances/deserving...

But strictly from the "if you could draft either" niche question - it probably ought to be noted that Mauer's peak value, health, and catcher-ness came when he was basically team-controlled.... whereas Molina's came after he signed a fairly lucrative extension (the inverse of Mauer).

Indeed, to the extend it does impact the broader debate - I cannot help but wonder if this plays a role.

I.e., Mauer was HoF value while he was relatively cheap and team-controlled... then he signed a lucrative extension and... wasn't (not his fault if you want to blame the concussion, just saying). Conversely - Molina wasn't as valuable while he was team-controlled - but probably played worth his at-the-time lucrative extension.

Strictly for purposes of perception - this probably can't really be overlooked.

Mauer provided extraordinary value while he 'cheap'... but was way overpaid when he was no longer cheap. Molina - probably the opposite (though not as extreme).

   52. Ithaca2323 Posted: August 01, 2018 at 04:32 PM (#5719258)
I don't think Law is dismissive of Molina's chances as much as his credentials. I have no doubt Molina will do well in the voting, in large part due to the leadership/pitch framing/handling the staff stuff, as well as the narrative that will probably emerge that, "despite not being an offensive force, he hit .327 in the NLCS and WS"

   53. Ziggy's screen name Posted: August 01, 2018 at 04:51 PM (#5719266)
Mauer's problem, of course, is the move to 1B. I'm no B-R wizard, so you'll have to deal with this ugliness, but games caught:

Irod 2427
Carter 2056
Fisk 2226
Bench 1742
Berra 1699
Campy 1183

Mauer 920

When you are 200 games caught behind the guy who lost the first part of his MLB career to the color line AND was paralyzed in a car wreck, then, for HOF purposes, you aren't a catcher. Mauer is a C/1B hybrid, and the time at 1B really did nothing for his resume. He won't make it, and I wouldn't vote for him. If he could have stayed behind the plate he would be up around Bench for games caught, and then he'd have a good argument. His recent production with the bat would be fine for a catcher. The concussions cost him the HOF, but then he's part of a very big list of players who would be HOFers if not for injury.
   54. QLE Posted: August 01, 2018 at 07:23 PM (#5719301)
First off, my own analysis of this matter:

On the one hand, statistically speaking, Mauer clearly belongs- his value during his peak seasons is roughly equal to that of Fisk, Cochrane, and Berra, behind only Bench, Carter, Piazza, and Rodriguez, and (rather importantly) was compiled chiefly when he was a catcher. For him not to be in would require either a belief in a very small Hall, or that virtually no catchers will ever merit induction.

On the other hand: the players just behind him in value are Munson and Simmons, whose performance with the BBWAA is noted above (though the strong chance that Simmons might get in by the VC might help Mauer in those terms). No player significantly below Mauer in value who played after WWII (unless we count Campanella, and he is at roughly Mauer's value according to the latest MLEs) has been inducted into the HOF, and few have received much consideration. Even the players better than Mauer have struggled somewhat- note how long it took Carter, and even Piazza's delay might have had a basis in more than just bacne and the glut.

For those reasons, while it is hard to predict this far out (especially since I have no idea how long it will be before Mauer retires or who else might be on the BBWAA ballot when he does), Mauer clearly is highly unlikely to be a first-ballot HOFer (even Rodriguez, with a long career, a BA just short of .300, and a reputation as the greatest defensive catcher of all time, barely did it), and his chances of getting in depend heavily on how he fares his first time on the ballot, as, if he doesn't do well then, he probably will never get in by the BBWAA.
   55. QLE Posted: August 01, 2018 at 08:31 PM (#5719333)
And now, to deal with a set of arguments made here in their own space:

Yadier has been extremely durable, and has now started nearly twice as many games at catcher as Mauer.


Do you think Omar Vizquel belongs in the HOF? This is basically the argument his defenders make for him, and it's one that most of the rest of us have fun tearing apart.

Molina has won 8 GG to Mauer's 3.


In both cases, inertia played a role- Molina kept winning them because the GG voters have a tendency to repeat themselves, and Mauer's early peak as a catcher overlapped with the perpetual GGs of Ivan Rodriguez.

Molina has 343 PA in the postseason, helping his team reach 4 World Series and winning two of them.


Let's look at those World Series teams:

-Molina was the backup catcher for the 2004 Cardinals, and mattered about as much for that team as any other bench player did.

-Molina had -1.5 WAA for the 2006 Cardinals, who were basically carried by Pujols, Rolen, and Carpenter- and, if leadership meant something, Rolen would have done better than 10.2% last time around with the BBWAA.

-To be fair, Molina actually had a role on the 2011 Cardinals- however, he was still only the fifth-best position player on that team by WAA, and, if his Rfield is accurate, it's hard to argue that he deserves more credit for his fielding, as that was a down year for him by that metric.

-Then there's the 2013 Cardinals, where (once we make adjustments for playing time) he was the best player on the team- the issue being, if he had more seasons like his 2012 and 2013, we wouldn't be having this argument.

Overall, then, it's not an out and out bad record- but, at the same time, it pales compared to Buster Posey, who twice was the leading player on WS-winning teams and was the third-best player in partial time as a rookie.

Mauer has 44 PA in 4 quick playoff flameouts.


This is punishing Mauer for having bad teammates- would we take an argument that we should hold it against Mike Trout that he only has made the playoffs once (and went 1 for 12 the one time that he did) that seriously?

Molina leads in ASG 9 to 6.


Mauer started four ASGs, while Molina has started three- essentially, this rewards Molina for being Posey's backup, while Mauer, in moving to first base, ended up facing off against much fiercer competition.

You play to win the game.


To be perfectly frank, this is exactly the same sort of cant that made a bunch of people think David Eckstein was something he was not- at least the BBWAA saw through that when he made the ballot.

You may not realize this, but WAR is not the perfect measure of value.


It's not, but you haven't offered a single actual measure of value that isn't either 1) clocking in day after day (in which case Bill Buckner would have been a great player) or 2) praising a player for the quality of his teammates (or, how Frankie Frisch and friends stuffed the HOF).

Mauer gets credit for being a superb hitter for the two or three full seasons he managed to stay on the field, and no downside to his value when the Twins are trotting out garbage for 100 games a year because Mauer is hurt.


May I ask you what you think of Larry Walker, who had 8030 plate appearances (in comparison, Mauer is at 7751- in 180 fewer games, and with two fewer years as an active player)?
   56. SoSH U at work Posted: August 01, 2018 at 10:12 PM (#5719416)
while Mauer, in moving to first base, ended up facing off against much fiercer competition.


I'm on board with some of your rebuttals here, but this is wrong two different ways. He didn't make the all-star teams after his move to first because he hasn't been very good at first. Oh, and during his time at first, the AL roster of all-star first basemen includes Eric Hosmer, Jose Abreu, twice, Justin Smoak, Yonder Alonso, Mitch Moreland and the player who used to be Albert Pujols. Fierce, that aint.

   57. Sunday silence Posted: August 02, 2018 at 07:06 AM (#5719484)

You play to win the game. If I was able to draft Yadi's career before it happened, or Mauer's career, I know which one I'd draft to maximize my team's chances for winning games.


Well its not quite that simple. to me, it you play to win CHAMPIONSHIPS. Isnt that the better way to assess this?

WAA is a better measure than WAR of a players contribution to a pennant or a world series. This has already been shown pretty convincingly elsewhere; I dont have the reference on me right now but I dont think it will be hard to dig up.

By that measure Zonk makes an argument that you cant simply dismiss out of hand. He states Mauer has 26.2 WAA. That to me sounds that he was more able to get his team a pennant than Molina. To me, that's what I would draft a player for; to win pennants/WS.

I dont think you cant just wave that argument away.

If catchers differed so greatly from one another defensively, I think you'd see more Jeff Mathis types as regulars.



I think again that there's a lot more going on in what JoseBautista is saying than simply there's a huge differential among catchers. For one thing, Catchers could be providing a lot more defense value that we realize, in which case whatever WAR they should get credit for would be coming out of WAR for pitchers.

I dont know much if anything about Jeff Mathis, but how do we know objectively that the league isnt filled with great defensive catchers? Personally I think the current defensive rating systems are probably under rating the defensive value of OFers and middle infielders. Catching skill seem to be even less measurable then middle infielder skills and measuring them seems to be in its infancy, it wouldnt surprise me to find out ten years from now that our current measures of catching are missing a lot of a defensive value.

I mean this is similar to the same arguments we see with middle infielders. Half the primates, at least, are convinced that hitting is 80% of their value and we can just punt the defense. And it isnt helped by the fact that you can find the best seasons of Rabbit Maranville, a guy who wasnt just mentioned as being a great defensive SS, but he was deployed as if his managers and GMs believed that. He held down the position for 20 years.

And yet, TZ or whomever gives him like +9 def runs saved in his best season. that cant possibly be true can it? Hell you could still stick Possum Whitted or Les Bell out there and if they can hit 3 or 4 HRs that would make up for whatever defense is lost by Maranville not being out there.

SOmehow managers and GMs never think like this, but BTF is full of people who think you can just punt defense it really doesnt matter. I guess the GMs are all stoopid.

Someone's already cited the BP measure of defense for catchers and no one is challenging it. If you're not gonna challenge it then I dont think you can dismiss out of hand what Bautista and the rest are saying here.




Molina also seems, at least in the popular imagination, to be the Mazeroski of catchers


I know you used the caveat "in the popular imagination; but wouldnt Johnny Oates be more like the Mazeroski of Catchers:? Someone else mentioned IRod so I through this out in response to that quote as well.
   58. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: August 02, 2018 at 08:23 AM (#5719493)
Mauer a Hall of Famer? I don't think so. Other than a .307 career BA that's not likely to last, what's he got of any great significance?

Fewer than 1000 games as a catcher.

Little or no home run power aside from that one Metrodome year of 2009. His second highest HR total was 13.

At age 35 he's still got barely 2000 hits.

Aside from his one MVP award, he's had 4 other top 10's but none since he turned 28, and only a #19 since then.

HoVG is what I'm seeing here.
   59. Booey Posted: August 02, 2018 at 08:44 AM (#5719498)
Mauer a Hall of Famer? I don't think so. Other than a .307 career BA that's not likely to last, what's he got of any great significance?


3 batting titles (out of 7 won by catchers in MLB history) and a unanimous MVP, and the MVP season was one of the best years for a catcher of all time. The .365 avg is an all time record, it's one of just 4 seasons where a catcher led the league in OPS+ (Piazza in 1995 and 1997, Posey in 2012), and the only year where a catcher won the slash line Triple Crown (avg/obp/slg). Don't know how many catchers have led the league in either OBP or SLG, but it can't be many.

Mauer's career is borderline, but his peak was amazing, and that's what separates him from other short peak players and moves him onto the "borderline yes" vs "borderline no" side of the fence for me. What he did at his best was much more unique and memorable than most borderline guys.
   60. SoSH U at work Posted: August 02, 2018 at 08:47 AM (#5719499)
Mauer's career is borderline, but his peak was amazing, and that's what separates him from other short peak players and moves him onto the "borderline yes" vs "borderline no" side of the fence for me. What he did at his best was much more unique and memorable than most borderline guys.


That's kind of how I feel. I'm not sure where I fall on him yet, but his peak was simply much higher than those other borderline catchers.
   61. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: August 02, 2018 at 10:07 AM (#5719550)
Mauer a Hall of Famer? I don't think so. Other than a .307 career BA that's not likely to last, what's he got of any great significance?

3 batting titles (out of 7 won by catchers in MLB history) and a unanimous MVP, and the MVP season was one of the best years for a catcher of all time. The .365 avg is an all time record, it's one of just 4 seasons where a catcher led the league in OPS+ (Piazza in 1995 and 1997, Posey in 2012), and the only year where a catcher won the slash line Triple Crown (avg/obp/slg). Don't know how many catchers have led the league in either OBP or SLG, but it can't be many.


Nevertheless, it's still just one year, and in Mauer's entire career he's been behind the plate for only 920 games. Roy Campanella didn't make his MLB debut until he was 26, was injured for a good part of his career, was through at 35, and still managed to catch 295 more games than Mauer. I just don't see how his career overall comes to anything more than the HoVG, not when so much of it has been played at 1B or at DH. We're not exactly talking about Edgar Martinez offensive numbers here.
   62. nick swisher hygiene Posted: August 02, 2018 at 10:13 AM (#5719556)
Yeah, I think we’re still blinded to how clearly not HoF Mauer’s career has been, because we’re too close to those (very) few great early years. Seems a straightforward “no” to me.

(Funny though: I would have said 1200 games caught ABSOULTE MINIMUM, but then that Campy stat upthread....)
   63. puck Posted: August 02, 2018 at 10:36 AM (#5719570)
I think some of Madlock’s batting titles were less respected since he sat out games specifically to win the batting crown.

Also, winning a batting title with 95 hits is not particularly impressive. Madlock won 2 batting titles with fewer hits than team games. Very few players did that even once.


I remember Madlock as being hurt a lot, and not just to back in to batting crowns. Even so, looking it up I am surprised he only played in 150+ games twice. He only played in 140+ games 5 times. Even when young with the Cubs (and winning two of the batting titles) he missed a lot of games. The team lineup page makes it look like injuries. In 1975, he started the Cubs' first 75 games at 3rd and ended up with 127 starts total. In 1976 he started the first 28 and ended up with 135 starts total.

Not that that necessarily contradicts the batting crown stuff.

   64. dlf Posted: August 02, 2018 at 10:52 AM (#5719577)
How different is this discussion if Mauer won the MVP in 2006? He clearly was the best position player on the division winning Twins, but Morneau took home the hardware because of the ribbies. He was less than 1 WAR away from the best position player in the league and, with the limitations on that stat, particularly for catchers, has a good argument for best. I remember that at the time I was semi-expecting it to go to Jeter as sorta career achievement award, but that in those pre-WAR days when VORP and the like were a bit rougher around the edges that Mauer should be the winner and, frankly, even a dozen years later, am not sure I'd disagree.
   65. Tom Nawrocki Posted: August 02, 2018 at 11:31 AM (#5719605)
Little or no home run power aside from that one Metrodome year of 2009.


In that Metrodome year, Mauer hit 16 homers in the dome, and 12 on the road. But it's cute to hear a Yankee fan complaining that a player's home park is the sole reason for his power.
   66. Swoboda is freedom Posted: August 02, 2018 at 12:20 PM (#5719644)
How different is this discussion if Mauer won the MVP in 2006?

Lets check with Juan Gonzalez and Dale Murphy on that one.
   67. aberg Posted: August 02, 2018 at 01:02 PM (#5719675)
Mauer was 4th in MLB for bWAR for the five-year period from 2006-2010, 3rd for position players. If you were one of the five best players in baseball for a five-year period, you have to be pretty terrible outside of that time not to be HOF-worthy, in my opinion. It's not a slam dunk and I can understand why someone would look at it differently due to the relatively low playing time and counting stats.

It's a shame because we probably wouldn't be having this conversation if not for the concussions. He's not like some part-time catchers who moved because their defense had deteriorated; he moved because continuing to catch would end his career. He also played through the injury for four or five years at a decent level. Should that matter for his HOF case? That seems debatable, too.
   68. dlf Posted: August 02, 2018 at 01:09 PM (#5719683)
Lets check with Juan Gonzalez and Dale Murphy on that one.


Murphy is probably a pretty good comp. Briefly among a very small number of the best players in the game but a rapid decline and early end. And the discussion about C defense is tangentially related to issues about Murph: his WAR is down a bit due to defensive demerits while at the same time he was winning GGs in CF suggesting the possibility of at least nominally greater value than advanced stats show. Murphy hung around the BBWAA ballot for the full 15 years and, I suspect, will be inducted by the Veterans Committee.

It seems that pretty much thirty seconds after the vote, everyone agreed that Gonzalez was a mistake as he wasn't even close to the best in the game in either year (ex. never once in his career was he top 10 in WAR), but I suspect that had he put up the same context adjusted numbers in the 70s or 80s and won two MVPs without PED issues he would be at least close to induction. The better two-time MVP argument might be Maris or looking on the CYA side Santana or Lincecum.
   69. Rally Posted: August 02, 2018 at 02:18 PM (#5719740)
And yet, TZ or whomever gives him like +9 def runs saved in his best season. that cant possibly be true can it?


Cannot possibly be true, because it isn't. Bbref has Maranville at +26 his best year, another at +24, 5 more years in double digits, and +130 for his career. The system fully agrees with the managers who kept putting him in the lineup, at least before he turned 40.

Can't explain his 1933 season, when he was 41. Rabbit hit .218 with no power, 2 steals, no OBP, and a -6 fielding runs. Manager must have had at least some idea the old Rabbit had lost a step since they moved him off SS and played him at second. Yet somehow he got 12th place in the MVP voting.
   70. Rally Posted: August 02, 2018 at 02:20 PM (#5719744)
but I suspect that had he put up the same context adjusted numbers in the 70s or 80s and won two MVPs without PED issues he would be at least close to induction.


It would only work if he played in Boston. George Foster did not get the same consideration Jim Rice did, despite being his equal as a player.
   71. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: August 02, 2018 at 02:42 PM (#5719767)
Little or no home run power aside from that one Metrodome year of 2009.

In that Metrodome year, Mauer hit 16 homers in the dome, and 12 on the road. But it's cute to hear a Yankee fan complaining that a player's home park is the sole reason for his power.


By that comment all I meant was that the year after he left the Metrodome his power totally caved, going from 28 homers to 9 and then down to 3 in a half season.

And if you want to press the point, I'll simply note that except for that one year he never displayed much power in any park, including the Metrodome. Before 2009 Mauer had played in 290 games at the Metrodome, with all of 20 home runs to show for it.
   72. Sunday silence Posted: August 02, 2018 at 06:01 PM (#5719925)

Cannot possibly be true, because it isn't. Bbref has Maranville at +26 his best year, another at +24,


Well OK thats my mistake for saying his best year, but my main pt remains. Take Maranville first 5 full seasons, starting at age 21. He misses about 5 games a year and TZ has him averaging 10.6 def runs saved per year.

How is that consistent with what reporters and players are saying and how his manager using him? He's a young kid who's prime value is his defense, they're sticking him out there every game to cover SS. If he was only worth 10 runs a year, why couldnt they get some putz who could hit say 30 pts better than him? or even a guy who could draw 20 more walks? It would be an equal trade off right?
   73. caspian88 Posted: August 03, 2018 at 02:13 AM (#5720131)
If he was only worth 10 runs a year, why couldnt they get some putz who could hit say 30 pts better than him? or even a guy who could draw 20 more walks?


Finding someone who can play shortstop adequately in the major leagues has never been easy, let alone finding someone who can play shortstop adequately while batting .280, especially when you have haphazard scouting, no farm systems, limited free agency, restrictive waiver and trade requirements, and a strong segregation system.

Also Maranville was actually not a bad hitter during his peak years - 93 OPS+ from 1913 to 1917, 92 from 1913 to 1924, playing almost every day.
   74. Sweatpants Posted: August 03, 2018 at 02:38 AM (#5720133)
I mean this is similar to the same arguments we see with middle infielders. Half the primates, at least, are convinced that hitting is 80% of their value and we can just punt the defense. And it isnt helped by the fact that you can find the best seasons of Rabbit Maranville, a guy who wasnt just mentioned as being a great defensive SS, but he was deployed as if his managers and GMs believed that. He held down the position for 20 years.

And yet, TZ or whomever gives him like +9 def runs saved in his best season. that cant possibly be true can it? Hell you could still stick Possum Whitted or Les Bell out there and if they can hit 3 or 4 HRs that would make up for whatever defense is lost by Maranville not being out there.

SOmehow managers and GMs never think like this, but BTF is full of people who think you can just punt defense it really doesnt matter. I guess the GMs are all stoopid.
1) I don't think this has been a common suggestion since like 2005 at the latest, and even then "common" probably overstates how often it happened. In the late 2000s when that guy suggested that the Mets start Fernando Tatis at second base, the idea was pretty roundly criticized here.

2) Managers batted the original Sandy Alomar leadoff more often than everywhere else combined. I can't imagine that anyone would use this as an argument that he was actually an effective offensive player.

3) Les Bell, really? I'm going from memory here, but he had like one good season with the bat. No one would ever have suggested that some team with a stacked outfield pick up Gary Matthews, Jr. and stash him at shortstop.

Edit: I wasn't wrong, but Bell was close enough to average in his other seasons that his one big year keeps his career OPS+ over 100. The Matthews comparison was a bad one on my part.
   75. Booey Posted: August 03, 2018 at 08:47 AM (#5720158)
For me, 50 WAR is a good HOF cut off for catchers. That's right where Ted Simmons is, and he seems like just about the perfect guy to define the in/out line. All the catchers right above him on the WAR list seem like clear HOFers (Dickey, Cochrane, Hartnett), and all the catchers directly behind him seem like HOVG types (Munson, Freehan, Posada). 60 WAR is inner circle territory (Piazza, Berra). Mauer is right in the middle of those cutoffs at 55 WAR, which seems just about right for a "half" catcher.

55 WAR and 28 WAA is pretty close to the borderline for any position, let alone someone who played catcher for half his career. Some people are talking about Mauer like he's Don Mattingly (42 WAR/18 WAA) or Nomar Garciaparra (44 WAR/ 24 WAA).
   76. Booey Posted: August 03, 2018 at 08:48 AM (#5720159)
It would only work if he played in Boston. George Foster did not get the same consideration Jim Rice did, despite being his equal as a player.


.274 avg vs .298.
   77. Dennis Eclairskey, closer Posted: August 03, 2018 at 09:10 AM (#5720163)
Also, Rice has nearly 2,500 hits (2,452) & 400 HRs (382) while Foster is just under 2,000 (1,925) & 350 (348)

Career-wise, Foster is kinda the poor-man's Rice
   78. John DiFool2 Posted: August 03, 2018 at 11:37 AM (#5720227)
Meanwhile, in totally unrelated news:

https://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/thurman-munsons-case-for-cooperstown/
   79. Master of the Horse Posted: August 03, 2018 at 11:49 AM (#5720232)
Fangraphs article in link form if that is helpful

The article contains a table comparing catchers via WAR and JAWS FWIW

Average Peak WAR for catchers per article is 34.5 Jaffe's JAWS average is 44.0 Again FWIW Mauer exceeds both those averages
   80. #6bid Posted: August 03, 2018 at 12:30 PM (#5720253)
A month ago I was visiting Chicago and took the family to Wrigley for the first time.

The Cubs were playing the Twins. Joe Mauer had the first 5 Twins RBIs, a home run and a double.

It was his second home run of the season.
   81. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: August 03, 2018 at 12:38 PM (#5720257)
For me, 50 WAR is a good HOF cut off for catchers. That's right where Ted Simmons is, and he seems like just about the perfect guy to define the in/out line. All the catchers right above him on the WAR list seem like clear HOFers (Dickey, Cochrane, Hartnett), and all the catchers directly behind him seem like HOVG types (Munson, Freehan, Posada). 60 WAR is inner circle territory (Piazza, Berra). Mauer is right in the middle of those cutoffs at 55 WAR, which seems just about right for a "half" catcher.

55 WAR and 28 WAA is pretty close to the borderline for any position, let alone someone who played catcher for half his career. Some people are talking about Mauer like he's Don Mattingly (42 WAR/18 WAA) or Nomar Garciaparra (44 WAR/ 24 WAA).


If you use Fangraphs WAR, he's only at 49 WAR, which hurts quite a bit.
   82. Booey Posted: August 03, 2018 at 12:52 PM (#5720272)
If you use Fangraphs WAR, he's only at 49 WAR, which hurts quite a bit.


True, but it should be mentioned that he's also 7th in JAWS, behind only the 6 inner circle guys (Bench, Carter, both Pudges, Piazza, Berra).
   83. Master of the Horse Posted: August 03, 2018 at 12:59 PM (#5720275)
The article on Fangraphs which has a table showing WAR, PeakWAR and JAWS uses Baseball Reference for WAR. I think everyone can find what I think is funny
   84. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: August 03, 2018 at 01:20 PM (#5720288)
True, but it should be mentioned that he's also 7th in JAWS, behind only the 6 inner circle guys (Bench, Carter, both Pudges, Piazza, Berra).

I don't really put much stock in systems like that. We can look at Mauer's peak and assess it. Also, Mauer is going to be over rated by JAWS, since he has only 8 seasons above average. Basically 100% of his WAA gets counted twice.

My basic problem with Mauer is he needs the full C bonus to be a HoF, while he's only 50% a catcher.

He's not as good as Joe Torre. Only a little better than Ted Simmons.

   85. PreservedFish Posted: August 03, 2018 at 01:29 PM (#5720293)
He was really on a true HOF level for a while there. Statistically borderline. I would put a lot of weight in what Twins fans think. He's faded so much. Has he been perceived as a hero in the last 5 years?
   86. Master of the Horse Posted: August 03, 2018 at 01:44 PM (#5720308)
All numbers BBREF

Joe Torre's best WAR 1966 of 6.4. 114 games as catcher. 104 starts as catcher. 37 starts at first base
Joe Mauer's best WAR 2009 of 7.8. 109 games as catcher. 105 starts as catcher. 28 starts at DH

Joe Torre's second best WAR 1971 of 5.9. 161 games at 3b. 158 starts as 3b.
Joe Mauer's second best WAR 2010 of 5.9. 112 games as catcher. 107 starts as catcher. 22 starts at first base

Joe Torre's third best WAR 1970 of 5.6. 90 games as catcher. 88 starts as catcher. 72 starts as 3b
Joe Mauer's third best WAR 2006 of 5.8. 120 games as catcher. 119 starts as catcher. 17 starts at DH

I could continue but I don't see how Torre was better as a catcher.

For their careers Torre 903 games as catcher. Mauer 920
   87. Master of the Horse Posted: August 03, 2018 at 01:52 PM (#5720314)
Table from Fangraphs article

Rk Name Career WAR Peak WAR JAWS
1 Johnny Bench+ 75.2 47.2 61.2
2 Gary Carter+ 70.1 48.4 59.3
3 Ivan Rodriguez+ 68.7 39.8 54.3
4 Carlton Fisk+ 68.5 37.6 53.0
5 Mike Piazza+ 59.6 43.1 51.4
6 Yogi Berra+ 59.4 37.0 48.2
7 Joe Mauer 54.8 39.0 46.9
8 Bill Dickey+ 55.8 34.2 45.0
9 Mickey Cochrane+52.1 36.9 44.5
Avg of 15 HOF C 53.5 34.5 44.0
10 Ted Simmons 50.3 34.8 42.6
11 Gabby Hartnett+ 53.4 30.3 41.9
12 Thurman Munson 46.1 37.0 41.6
13 Gene Tenace 46.8 35.0 40.9
14 Bill Freehan 44.8 33.7 39.3
15 Buck Ewing+ 47.7 30.4 39.1
16 Buster Posey 40.8 37.1 39.0
17 Jorge Posada 42.8 32.7 37.7
18 Ernie Lombardi+ 45.9 27.8 36.9
19 Jason Kendall 41.7 30.4 36.0
20 Wally Schang 45.0 25.2 35.1
23 Roger Bresnahan+ 40.9 28.8 34.9
27 Roy Campanella+ 34.1 32.8 33.5
28 Yadier Molina* 38.3 28.6 33.5
29 Russell Martin* 37.1 26.8 31.9
30 Victor Martinez* 32.3 29.0 30.7
   88. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: August 03, 2018 at 02:04 PM (#5720335)
I could continue but I don't see how Torre was better as a catcher.

He wasn't. But he had a better career, a significant chunk at C.

Torre has 57.6 bWAR, 62.3 fWAR. Mauer's at 54.8 and 48.8 respectively. If you average them, which seems fair to me, Torre is at 60 WAR, Mauer at 52.

   89. Master of the Horse Posted: August 03, 2018 at 02:14 PM (#5720352)
88--setting aside that you are using the standard most favorable to Torre it is also true that in terms of fWAR or WAR as games played at catcher Mauer is superior. Torre's 1971 cannot count. Torre 1970 was half and half. And I was not around but by the trend Torre's career might have stayed at 3 fWAR level and accelerated downward sooner if not for the switch away from catcher. The more reasonable assessment is Torre 1961-1969 versus Mauer 2005-2013. 41.7 Mauer vs 38.2 Torre. update: Torre played first base for 142 games in 1969. So 1961-1968 vs 2005 vs 2013 I guess. 36.5 vs 34.9 which is the most favorable to Torre because Mauer was 5.2 in 2013. If you chop off 2005 he gains to 38.3 vs 34.9
   90. Ziggy's screen name Posted: August 03, 2018 at 02:19 PM (#5720357)
No, the more reasonable assessment is all of his career vs. all of his career. Both were hybrid players, and what they did after they left C makes a different for their HOF case. Torre won an MVP award. Mauer didn't. Anyway, arguing that Mauer is slightly better than Torre doesn't help him much, since Torre didn't get elected as a player anyway.
   91. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: August 03, 2018 at 02:21 PM (#5720360)
[89] Why are we only looking at Mauer as a C? He's only 55% a C now, and by the time he retires will probably be close to Torre's 40%.

Also, a lot of Torre's non-C work was at 3B, which is quite a bit more valuable than Mauer's 1B and DH time.
   92. Master of the Horse Posted: August 03, 2018 at 02:21 PM (#5720362)
Mauer won a MVP in 2009.
   93. Rally Posted: August 03, 2018 at 02:25 PM (#5720366)
Why are we only looking at Mauer as a C? He's only 55% a C now, and by the time he retires will probably be close to Torre's 40%.


By games he's a half catcher but by value he's probably 75-80% catcher.
   94. Sunday silence Posted: August 03, 2018 at 03:37 PM (#5720422)
Les Bell, really?


would Clyde Barnhart make you happy?


Also Maranville was actually not a bad hitter during his peak years - 93 OPS+ from 1913 to 1917


if you look at his first five full seasons (there are of course many periods one could look at here) he's about -4.5 batting runs which takes a big chunk out of his def. contribution. His running value is negligible 4 of those seasons but pretty good the other. There's a positional adjustment of either 10 or 11 for those years, which adds a good deal of value to him; but positional adjustment is kind of odd to me cause it can give value to even players who cant play the position. Given the positional adjustment those overall numbers on Maranville might be fairly reasonable as an overall player but if he's being compared to other SS, its probably downplaying much of his ability (mainly defensive).
   95. Ziggy's screen name Posted: August 03, 2018 at 03:52 PM (#5720436)
Mauer won a MVP in 2009.


While he was a catcher. The point was that Mauer hasn't done much to help his HOF case since leaving catcher, whereas Torre did.

But Torre isn't the guy you need to compare him to, since Torre is below the line anyway.
   96. Sunday silence Posted: August 03, 2018 at 03:56 PM (#5720443)
Finding someone who can play shortstop adequately in the major leagues has never been easy, let alone finding someone who can play shortstop adequately while batting .280, especially when you have haphazard scouting...


Well you're not wrong; but if its so hard to find people to play there why dont they have more value? I suppose the positional adjustment is some sort of compromise albeit not without issues.
   97. dlf Posted: August 03, 2018 at 04:13 PM (#5720462)
But Torre isn't the guy you need to compare him to, since Torre is below the line anyway.


In the FWIW world, Torre was selected by the HOM as were Simmons and Freehan. I have the former two both in my personal HOF and, since I value peak and prime far more than career for catchers, I would have Mauer in too baring a Rose-like end to his career.
   98. Rally Posted: August 03, 2018 at 04:32 PM (#5720486)
For those seasons Rabbit averaged 4 WAR per season. Seems like plenty of value. He was a fine player, a strong defender at short and with a 93 OPS+, only a bit below average batting.

He had a .638 OPS those years, even if it's all singles, someone hitting 30 points better than him would be at .698. There were 125 players who had 1500+ PA from 1913-17, and only 52 had a higher OPS than .698. Finding a guy who can hit at an above average rate and play average D at shortstop has never been easy.

There was actually a player active in those years who fits perfectly this description: "If he was only worth 10 runs a year, why couldnt they get some putz who could hit say 30 pts better than him? or even a guy who could draw 20 more walks? It would be an equal trade off right?"

This shortstop in those 5 years was average defensively and had a .700 OPS. He hit .275 - almost exactly 30 points better than Rabbit's .246. Who was this putz? His name was Honus Wagner.
   99. aberg Posted: August 03, 2018 at 04:38 PM (#5720490)
He was really on a true HOF level for a while there. Statistically borderline. I would put a lot of weight in what Twins fans think. He's faded so much. Has he been perceived as a hero in the last 5 years?


I don't live in MN anymore, so I get most of the local reaction second-hand from friends and family. It sounds like there is a split between the kneejerk fans and the more analytical crowd. The former resent his contract. Even if they acknowledge that he's not to blame for getting hurt, they're annoyed that the FO has used his salary as an excuse not to spend the necessary money to build a pitching staff, and he is a convenient target for the ire of 90 loss teams. The latter group seems to mostly just love watching him play. He is a unique batter with his strike zone judgment (which, admittedly, dropped off when his brain was scrambled). Seeing him get back to being about 90% of what he once was as a hitter last year was extremely gratifying. I'm sure he felt similarly about the season. That was the cherry on top for me- he got the team back to the postseason and had another excellent year at the plate. He made it all the way back from the concussion(s), which cemented his toughness on top of his productivity.

That's all narrative stuff and I don't intend it to be taken as quantitative analysis. I just wanted to weigh in on the question presented.
   100. Rally Posted: August 03, 2018 at 05:26 PM (#5720560)
the FO has used his salary as an excuse not to spend the necessary money to build a pitching staff


Seems strange to me. Twins have not shied away from spending on the mid-tier free agent starters. You can debate the wisdom of some of these, but they signed Lynn, Nolasco, Pavano, Hughes, and Santana during the years they were paying big bucks to Mauer.

With or without Joe's contract, I just don't think Minnesota is the market that is going to go after the Prices, Greinkes, and Lesters of the world.
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