It can be hard to see the forest for the trees. Or it must be, if you think Joe Mauer isn't a good baseball player. But when a player making $23,000,000 a season has a year in which he struggles not just to produce but to stay healthy, the jeers will come out in full effect.
Which is why now seems an ideal time to put Mauer's career into a little bit of context. On Monday, Mauer ripped his 300th career double and then, last night, he drove the ball into left field in his first plate appearance for his 1,500th career hit.
With 1,501 hits, Mauer ranks sixth in Minnesota Twins history. Here's who sits in front of him, and how many hits they had through their age-31 seasons.
|Player||Career Hits||Hits through age-31 season|
The season isn't over yet, and year-for-year, Mauer has out-paced for hits three of the most storied players in franchise history. With an average of 153 hits per season from 2005-2013, Mauer will pass Hrbek sometime in 2016 and Oliva in 2017 or 2018. At that point his contract will close to expiring, but he should be past 2,000 career hits by that point.
With 300 doubles, Mauer ranks fifth in team history.
|Player||Career doubles||Doubles through age-31 season|
He could still surpass Carew this year for fourth place, and it's wholly feasible that with 30 doubles a season (his average from 2005-2013) he's the franchise leader before his contract expires in 2018. If he stays in Minnesota beyond his current deal, he could be the first Twin to finish with 500 or more doubles.
If we look at overall value, Mauer has generated 44.7 fWAR in his career. That places him fourth in franchise history, behind a lot of the same names we've already seen.
|Player||Twins Career fWAR||Twins fWAR through age-31|
There's a good chance that Mauer will surpass the career value of Kirby Puckett, at least by the standards of Wins Above Replacement, before the end of his age-31 season. (And yes, we know, WAR doesn't take into account World Series victories.)
In brief, we'll just touch on a few rate stats to wrap up:
- Second in career batting average (.320, behind Rod Carew, .334)
- First in on-base percentage (.401)
- 13th in slugging percentage (.462, leader is Harmon Killebrew at .514)
- Second in OPS (.863, behind Killebrew at .892)