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View Full Version : MVP Mauer: .400 Possible?



Scrap Irony
06-22-2009, 03:48 AM
Joe Mauer is having perhaps the greatest season (okay, two months) baseball has seen in 20 years. Not only is he supplying Gold Glove defense behind the plate, he's also flirting with .400, hitting with power, and trying to find a cure for cancer in his spare time.

In short, Dude can play.

So far, in 45 games, Mauer's line (417/485/744) resembles Barry Bonds at his steroid-iest best.

And, while all that is interesting, the bigger question is whether he can keep up his .417 BA for the entire year. That magical mark is here again. Not seen this late in a season since Tony Gwynn was below 250 lbs., Ted Williams was talking about burnt ash, and Wade Boggs was still eating chicken.

The kneejerk reaction is to say it can't be done. Mine certainly is. But Mauer has some advantages others before him don't.

1. He's fresh.
Mauer lost the first month and a half due to a balky back. (Explaining Mauer's back as balky is like saying the Middle East has problems with its neighbors. It was hospital/ Mayo Clinic bad.) Why is this an advantage? Simply this: Mauer needs not keep his excellence for an entir year, only around 75% of it. Fresher legs against opponents who might be grinding it out (at this point in the season, for example) may mean he difference in a couple flares a week.

2. The DH
As a catcher, Mauer takes a beating. But he can also take a break once a week or so and still keep in hitting. Gardenhire has, for most of Mauer's career, kept him fairly strong all season by replacing him with Redmond (or another back-up C) regularly.

3. Turf
Mauer's swing is picture perfect for Minnesota. He hits a lot of balls in the air, sure, but his 46% ground ball percentage is pretty high. Only in Minnesota-- with its synthetic turf superspeeding balls through infields-- is this an advantage.

4. The AL Central
Face it, most teams in the AL Central aren't exactly pitching-rich. The Tigers have a promising rookie and a re-emergent ace, but they also have Dontrelle Willis and Jeremy Bonderman, neither of which throws more than BP sessions. The Indians have the worst pen in baseball and a starting staff that has to rely on that pen three nights out of five. Grienke is an ace, but the rest of KC's rotation is filled with chaff. It's not like the AL Central has great pitching.

5. We're Due
About once a decade or so, someone flirts with the possibility. Carew in the 70's came close once. Brett before hemerrhoids did him in. Gwynn in a strike year. Baseball is about five years overdue a serious run on .400.

So, Redszone, can it be done? Would the overwhelming scrutiny derail Mauer's shot? Is he too injury prone to even get that shot? Will he have enough ABs to even qualify?

redsfandan
06-22-2009, 04:09 AM
... Not seen this late in a season since Tony Gwynn was below 250 lbs., ...
Yeah it's been awhile since we've seen that.

... So, Redszone, can it be done? Would the overwhelming scrutiny derail Mauer's shot? Is he too injury prone to even get that shot? Will he have enough ABs to even qualify?Getting enough abs to qualify and being able to keep it up all season are the big questions. The all-star break will help but I just have doubts that he'll be able to do it playing such a demanding position (even with games at dh thrown in). I just want to know where did all the power come from?

PuffyPig
06-22-2009, 08:50 AM
I doubt that Mauer has any kind of chance, I'd be surprised if he finishes above .325.

His W-rate, K-rate are all in line with past years, and his LD-rate is a bit down. He's hitting so well becuase his BABIP is .412, about .065 above his career levels, and his HR/FB is an unreal 26.9%.

He's in for a big fall, though he is still a great hitter.


You need the ability to get alot of infield hits to hit .400.

15fan
06-22-2009, 10:04 AM
Any discussion about serious runs at .400 needs to include John Olerud (http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/gl.cgi?n1=olerujo01&t=b&year=1993) in 1993. He was hitting .400 as late as August 2 and .391 on 8/27/93.

Had he not played in Canada, he'd have gotten a lot more pub.

Which is an interesting thought - the guys who have made legitimate runs at .400 during my lifetime all played in relative anonymity (ie small markets). Gwynn in SD. Olerud in TOR. Brett in KC. Now supposedly Mauer in Min.

Perhaps Cincinnati (the town & ballpark) is ripe to produce one of the next runs at .400?

Scrap Irony
06-22-2009, 12:01 PM
Forgot all about Olerud. Whoops.

Homer Bailey
06-22-2009, 12:10 PM
I read an article that states if Mauer does not reach the minimum amount of at bats, he can add on the amount of at bats needed to qualify to his total (obviously without any hits) and if it is still over .400 it would then count. It would also count if it meant he would win the batting title.

Scrap Irony
06-22-2009, 12:38 PM
Do you know if that's up to him or the league? Would be an interesting choice, I'd think.

Homer Bailey
06-22-2009, 12:55 PM
Do you know if that's up to him or the league? Would be an interesting choice, I'd think.

I do not know. But he would get to keep his average.

http://sports.yahoo.com/fantasy/blog/roto_arcade/post/Joe-Mauer-and-the-path-to-400?urn=fantasy,170848


After Tuesday's four-hit performance, Joe Mauer's(notes) batting average is a ridiculous .429. He's reached base safely in 16 straight games and he's hitting .456 this month. In Minnesota, they started having the Ted Williams conversation two weeks ago.

No, not the freeze-Mauer's-head conversation. The other one -- the .400 discussion.

Mauer doesn't quite qualify for the batting average leaderboard just yet because he hasn't reached the minimum number of plate appearances. However, since Mauer would still lead the A.L. in average if you added the appropriate number of hitless at-bats to his current total, he'd be awarded the title if the season ended today. That's MLB's rule, not mine. (Rule 10.22 to be precise). Mauer would get to keep his .429 average, too.
Don't completely dismiss .400 as an impossibility in the modern era. It's a plateau that's actually been reached over stretches of 162 consecutive games in recent years, though not within a single season. Tony Gwynn hit .402 between July 27, 1993 and May 13, 1995; Wade Boggs hit .401 between June 9, 1985 and June 6, 1986.

Mauer has had terrific luck on balls in play this year (.443 BABIP), and you can't reasonably expect that pace to continue. Still, the 26-year-old does have a pair of batting crowns to his credit. It's not difficult to argue that Mauer is a hitter of Gwynn/Boggs quality. If he continues to draw walks at his current rate (13.3 BB%) and he manages to get another 320 plate appearances, this blog's research department believes that a .386 rest-of-season average would allow Mauer to finish at .400.

Of course, a .386 average is crazy-high. It's a wild longshot and Mauer plays baseball's most physically demanding position. But if he were to DH a bit more frequently, and if he were to keep his at-bat total low, and if he could take advantage of rule 10.22, well...it's not entirely unimaginable, right?

Let's hear your forecast in comments. Some of us have midseason drafts tonight, and projecting Mauer is an urgent matter.

dougdirt
06-22-2009, 01:15 PM
Mauer would still need to keep hitting for power at a ridiculous rate that he has never come close to doing before and still have a BABIP of about .380 over 300 more AB's moving forward to hit .400. Is it possible? Absolutely. Is it likely? No, not really.

jojo
06-22-2009, 01:18 PM
Zips predicts he'll bat .332 the rest of the way and end with a BA=.360 for the season.

http://www.fangraphs.com/statss.aspx?playerid=1857&position=C

bucksfan2
06-22-2009, 01:24 PM
Mauer would still need to keep hitting for power at a ridiculous rate that he has never come close to doing before and still have a BABIP of about .380 over 300 more AB's moving forward to hit .400. Is it possible? Absolutely. Is it likely? No, not really.

Don't record breaking seasons defy probability? In order to hit .400 you need all kinds of luck. You need to limit the severity of the nicks and knacks that will arise throughout an entire season. It takes talent but it also takes luck. If Mauer continues to stay close it may come down to a couple of favorable scoring decisions. It may come down to him playing DH a few more games than he usually would.

Odds are that he won't hit .400 and will have a season similar to Chipper Jones last year. However, once in a while one of those special seasons come along and players just ride that to the record.

PuffyPig
06-22-2009, 01:30 PM
Any discussion about serious runs at .400 needs to include John Olerud (http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/gl.cgi?n1=olerujo01&t=b&year=1993) in 1993. He was hitting .400 as late as August 2 and .391 on 8/27/93.

Had he not played in Canada, he'd have gotten a lot more pub.



Yeah, but with the exchange rate, that's like hitting .350.

BCubb2003
06-22-2009, 01:31 PM
Don't record breaking seasons defy probability? In order to hit .400 you need all kinds of luck. You need to limit the severity of the nicks and knacks that will arise throughout an entire season. It takes talent but it also takes luck. If Mauer continues to stay close it may come down to a couple of favorable scoring decisions. It may come down to him playing DH a few more games than he usually would.

Odds are that he won't hit .400 and will have a season similar to Chipper Jones last year. However, once in a while one of those special seasons come along and players just ride that to the record.

I was just thinking that, too. If anyone ever hits .400, it'll be an off-the-charts season. Unless Lasik 3000 turns a bunch of guys into .400 hitters and games into scores of 35-27.

_Sir_Charles_
06-22-2009, 04:13 PM
5. We're Due
About once a decade or so, someone flirts with the possibility. Carew in the 70's came close once. Brett before hemerrhoids did him in. Gwynn in a strike year. Baseball is about five years overdue a serious run on .400.

Chipper was at .400 this time last year too. It fell quickly at this point though.

I'd love to see Mauer do it. He's one of (and Morneau) the most underrated players in the bigs IMO. Those 2 don't get NEARLY the publicity they should (due to their market of course).

dougdirt
06-22-2009, 05:03 PM
Chipper was at .400 this time last year too. It fell quickly at this point though.

I'd love to see Mauer do it. He's one of (and Morneau) the most underrated players in the bigs IMO. Those 2 don't get NEARLY the publicity they should (due to their market of course).

I think a lot of people would argue that Morneau is actually quite overrated given the amount of votes he gets in the MVP race the past few seasons compared to what he actually does on the field.

pahster
06-22-2009, 05:07 PM
I think a lot of people would argue that Morneau is actually quite overrated given the amount of votes he gets in the MVP race the past few seasons compared to what he actually does on the field.

Yeah. He looks a lot like the good version of Sean Casey to me.