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Thread: Can Joe Mauer Bat .400?

  1. #1
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    Can Joe Mauer Bat .400?

    It’s been nearly 68 years since the Splendid Splinter batted .406, but despite a hot start and two batting titles, Joe Mauer has more than history working against him.

    The position that he plays.

    Even with watered down pitching, a strike zone designed to protect hitters and all the battle gear this side of the Stanley Cup finals, no one has been able to bat .400 in nearly seven decades. With all of those advantages, not one player has pulled it off, and no catcher has ever batted better than .362 (Mike Piazza in 1997 and Bill Dickey in 1936). And when one considers what receivers go through, that shouldn’t come as a surprise.

    Catchers have to call games, handle pitchers, squat hundreds of times and withstand foul tips that ravage their shoulders, knees, hands, feet and arms – every night. Having to endure all of that abuse, how could anyone possibly withstand that beating and still bat .400?

    Rod Carew batted .388 in 1977, then George Brett finished with a .390 mark in 1980, and there have been a smattering of .360’s over the years. The closest anyone has come, though, has been Tony Gwynn’s .394 average in the strike-shortened 1994 season. Even during Ichiro’s record-breaking 262-hit campaign of 2004, he only managed to bat .372. Unlike Suzuki, however, Mauer takes a lot of pitches, has an almost inhuman ability to work the count into his favor, and draws walks.

    Mauer walked 84 times last season...CONTINUE.
    Last edited by SouthPaw77; 06-17-2009 at 08:19 PM. Reason: Needed to add a bit more.
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  2. #2
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    You are right, he has very little chance of hitting .400. He may even have a problem getting to the required number of plate appearances to qualify for the batting title which he must do to be considered a .400 hitter.
    Last edited by KCGHOST; 06-17-2009 at 09:33 AM.
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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by KCGHOST View Post
    You are right, he has very little chance of hitting .400. He may even have a problem getting to the required number of plate appearances to qualify for the batting title which he must do to be considered a .400 hitter.
    I don't think Mauer will have much trouble with the needed plate appearances. He current has 185 PA's. He needs 205 PA's right now to qualify. But he is quickly catching up in PA's. In 2005 Mauer played just 131 games and still racked up 554 PA's. In 2006 he played 140 games and racked up 608 PA's. Even in '08 he only played 109 games and still had 471 PA's, just 31 PA's short of qualifying.
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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by SouthPaw77 View Post
    With all of those advantages, not one player has pulled it off
    So maybe it's safe to say that they are not necessarily advantages?

    That being said, it would be amazing to see someone hit .400 again. Especially a catcher!

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    According to ESPN, Mauer is on pace for about ~590 PA's and 513 AB's. Using the 513 AB's, Mauer would need 205 hits.

    205/513 = .39961

    This would be rounded up to .400. So Mauer would need to go 138/357 for the rest of the season.

    138/357 = .386

    A .386 BA over the rest of the season is asking a lot of Mauer.
    Last edited by Honus Wagner Rules; 06-17-2009 at 12:10 PM.
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  6. #6
    The odds are definately against him, being a catcher. I don't think he will get close to .400, but maybe around .360 ot .370. It is just too hard to hit .400. I can't even see the best player in the game, Albert Pujols, doing it.
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Honus Wagner Rules View Post
    According to ESPN, Mauer is on pace for about ~590 PA's and 513 AB's. Using the 513 AB's, Mauer would need 205 hits.

    205/513 = .39961

    This would be rounded up to .400. So Mauer would need to go 138/357 for the rest of the season.

    138/357 = .386

    A .386 BA of the rest of the season is asking a lot of Mauer.
    He did hit .382 over a 263 AB stretch in 2006, and he's clearly a better hitter now than he was then.

    But the odds are pretty small. An MVP award would be a more reasonable best case scenerio for his '09 season, I'm thinking. Maybe that would be enough to get him his own thread in the HoF forum.
    Last edited by mwiggins; 06-17-2009 at 11:53 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mwiggins View Post
    He did hit .382 over a 263 AB stretch in 2006, and he's clearly a better hitter now than he was then.
    Oh?

    But the odds are pretty small. An MVP award would be a more reasonable best case scenerio for his '09 season, I'm thinking. Maybe that would be enough to get him his own thread in the HoF forum.
    Are you kidding? Mauer is clearly behind Matt Wieters and Bryce Harper in terms of HoF hype!
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Honus Wagner Rules View Post
    Oh?



    Are you kidding? Mauer is clearly behind Matt Wieters and Bryce Harper in terms of HoF hype!
    To me, if Mauer stays healthy, he's not too far from getting to the point where his peak is going to be great enough, for a catcher, to almost guarentee him a spot in Cooperstown. If in the next three years (counting this year) he racks up an MVP, another couple of batting titles, and another Gold Glove or two, that's going to be a pretty awesome 7 year peak. He could play out the string as an OK LF or 3B hitting .290 with 10 HR's and 70 walks a year and still probably get in with that kind of peak. He'd have that nice hook of "He's a Gold Glove catcher who won mutiple batting titles" to sell voters on his case.

    Esp. if he goes to Boston and hits 45 doubles a year off the Monster, which I hope doesn't happen.

  10. #10
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    If Mauer could do it, it would certainly be impressive. However, I think we'd be better off discussing this if he's still batting over .400 in early September.
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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by mwiggins View Post
    To me, if Mauer stays healthy, he's not too far from getting to the point where his peak is going to be great enough, for a catcher, to almost guarentee him a spot in Cooperstown. If in the next three years (counting this year) he racks up an MVP, another couple of batting titles, and another Gold Glove or two, that's going to be a pretty awesome 7 year peak. He could play out the string as an OK LF or 3B hitting .290 with 10 HR's and 70 walks a year and still probably get in with that kind of peak. He'd have that nice hook of "He's a Gold Glove catcher who won mutiple batting titles" to sell voters on his case.
    Is Mauer capable of playing third base? If so, he could be another Wade Boggs type of player at third base.

    Esp. if he goes to Boston and hits 45 doubles a year off the Monster, which I hope doesn't happen.
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ace Venom View Post
    If Mauer could do it, it would certainly be impressive. However, I think we'd be better off discussing this if he's still batting over .400 in early September.
    Or at least August. Only George Brett (1980) and John Olerud (1993) have reached August batting over .400. Todd Helton (2000) was one hit shy of .400 in mid-August 2000.
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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Honus Wagner Rules View Post
    Is Mauer capable of playing third base? If so, he could be another Wade Boggs type of player at third base.


    Better Boston than the Yankees!
    I don't know. Due to his injury history, and the fact that catching every day would likely shorten both his career and his offensive peak, that's always been a topic of conversation locally.

    I think he's a good enough athlete, and he has a strong enough arm, that he could probably at least hold his own there and not be too much of a liability.

  14. #14
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    I made this list last season when we were tracking Chipper Jones. It lists the latest a player was hitting .400 since 1942.


    September
    09/19/1980 George Brett

    August
    08/18/2000 Todd Helton (.399-one hit shy of .400)
    08/03/1993 John Olerud

    July
    07/20/2000 Nomar Garciaparra
    07/18/1997 Larry Walker
    07/15/1948 Stan Musial
    07/14/1983 Rod Carew
    07/14/1997 Tony Gwynn
    07/10/1977 Rod Carew
    07/05/1993 Andres Galarraga

    June
    06/29/1999 Tony Fernandez
    06/27/1974 Rod Carew
    06/18/2008 Chipper Jones
    06/17/1970 Rico Carty
    06/16/1975 Rod Carew
    06/16/1994 Paul O'Neil
    06/15/1959 Hank Aaron
    06/11/1990 Lenny Dykstra
    06/10/2000 Todd Helton
    06/10/1996 Roberto Alomar
    06/08/1956 Mickey Mantle
    06/07/1986 Wade Boggs
    06/06/1988 Carney Langsford
    06/05/1957 Ted Williams
    Last edited by Honus Wagner Rules; 06-19-2009 at 12:36 PM.
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  15. #15
    This is almost the exact same tone of conversation in 2006:

    'Can he win the batting title?'

    'Of course he can't win the batting title. He's a catcher. No AL catcher has ever won the batting title and no catcher has won a batting title since 1942.'

    'Yeah, you're probably right. But what IF?'

  16. #16
    Never say never....

    Mauer is known to have better first half's than second half's to the season. I'm sure being a catcher wears him down as the season progresses. It will be awesome to have someone hit .400 again. It should be fun to see if he can keep it going.
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  17. #17
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    very unlikely...i see several things working against him...obviously the catcher thing...and the ridiculous media coverage he will get if he is above .400 starting around late August...that month and a half the entire national media will be asking every conceivable question you could possibly ask...which will be very distracting...however...u never know...i did doubt that he could win the batting title and he proved me wrong

    another thing he has going for him is that morneau is behind him protecting him...mauer almost always goes deep in counts and if he goes 3-2 with Morneau behind him...he is probably going to get a pitch to hit

    obviously it would be great for twins fans if he keeps it close...but i think for baseball in general it would be exciting and people would tune into to watch...kind of like mcguire vs sosa without the roids
    Last edited by Tomorrow Night 1991; 06-18-2009 at 10:28 PM.
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  18. #18
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    The fact that he hit .524 in the last two series while suffering from "flu like symptons" is a good sign. His power has slacked off to more normal Joe Mauer levels in June - 4 doubles, 2 HR's - but he's hitting 30 pts higher in June than he did in May.

    He's still only rec'd ONE IBB this year. That should tell you everything you want to know about how the rest of the league views Morneau.

  19. #19
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    Anyone know if new approaches to his swing has anything to do with it? He's hitting way less line drive singles and doubles than he used to but is having the best year of his career.
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  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by wu-tang clan View Post
    Anyone know if new approaches to his swing has anything to do with it? He's hitting way less line drive singles and doubles than he used to but is having the best year of his career.
    Mauer says that he has a better understanding of how pitchers are going to pitch him, and he's taking more chances and trying to drive the ball than he did in previous years. He's not trying to maximize contact all the time, as he did in the past, esp. when he gets ahead in the count.

  21. #21
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    What a great hitter, and a catcher at that!
    People ask me what I do in winter when there's no baseball. I'll tell you what I do. I stare out the window and wait for spring. -Rogers Hornsby

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Francoeurstein View Post
    What a great hitter, and a catcher at that!
    And a high quality catcher at that. He does everything behind the dish extremely well, except blocking pitches in the dirt.

  23. #23
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    upcoming SI issue talks about the .400 race
    Attached Images Attached Images
    bouncer...fair, down the line!...gomez to third!...rounding third, he's gonna tie the game!...and span heads to third, the comeback is complete!

  24. #24
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    Just great, the infamous SI curse.
    People ask me what I do in winter when there's no baseball. I'll tell you what I do. I stare out the window and wait for spring. -Rogers Hornsby

  25. #25
    Be serious! NO catcher, with all the demands of the job, is going to hit .400 with the needed no. of PAs to qualify.

    Mauer is a terrific hitter, but there is ZERO chance that he will hit .400.

    As someone said, let's have this conversation on September 1st- then it will be more appropriate.

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