April 21, 2012; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Minnesota Twins catcher Joe Mauer (7) hits a single in the fourth inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-US PRESSWIRE
By this time last season, Joe Mauer had hit the disabled list after a slow start. He hadn't looked himself at the plate, and by the time the Twins took the plunge on what would be an oddly silent DL stint it was clear that something wasn't right. It was doom and gloom as far as the eye could see. Or read.
Things are just a little bit different this year. Mauer has started in all 19 of the Twins games so far this season. He looks healthy, confident, and the best part is that he's actually performing.
|2012 - Joe Mauer||19||72||9||23||3||0||1||11||11||8||2||0||.319||.410||.403|
While the extra bases aren't quite where you'd hope they'll eventually be, it's not for a lack of success at the plate. In fact, since starting the season going 1-for-10 in the first three games he's gone 22-for-62 with another ten walks (one intentional) and all three of those doubles for a .355/.437/.452 line.
Roughly 28% of his balls in play have been line drives. My Inside Edge grades him out with a B+ offensively overall to this point in time, but that includes ten sub-categories where he's been given an A+. FFanGraphs already has him pegged for 0.7 wins above replacement.
It's a long season. We know there's a lot of baseball left to be played, and a lot of performance to judge before we can really be astute with an overall analysis of our franchise player. But in a season where the Twins are already looking toward the future and feeling out what they have, the health and production of Joe Mauer is one of the most critical aspects of the team and it's something we can be happy about.
Long Live the Swing. It's good to see him healthy again.