Originally posted on The Flagrant Fan  |  Last updated 7/28/12

The Minnesota Twins had such a bad April that the team has become nearly invisible except for those die-hard fans that love and follow their team. And this invisibility is sort of a shame because they really have not played poorly since the middle of May. Few people would guess, for example, that the Twins played above .500 for the month of June. The lack of attention has also hidden some nice seasons for guys like Scott Diamond, Josh Willingham and Joe Mauer. This post features the latter who has bounced back nicely from pretty much a lost 2011 to again offer the baseball world more than shampoo commercials.
Currently, Jue Mauer is second in the American League in batting with a BA of .332. There is a slight chance that Mauer can claim his fourth batting title. A certain Angels' phenom must cool off a bit for that to happen, but there is plenty of time for Mauer to win another title. Mauer is also first in the American League in on-base percentage of .422. That is an excellent figure and his highest since 2009. There is no way for him to match his slugging of 2009, though, as he has only hit six homers to go with 21 doubles and a triple.
All that said, Mauer has again taken his place among the best hitters in the league. Even so, this observer would dispute some of what Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports tweeted this afternoon: "...Joe Mauer deserves some MVP votes. He has been superb." Mauer is currently tied for ninth in the American League in fWAR and Fangraphs is much higher (3.4) on him than Baseball-Reference.com which has him at 2.5 rWAR. And he is only eleventh in the league in wOBA. Mauer is back to being an offensive weapon, but MVP votes? No.
Let's start for a moment with his fielding. Mauer is not a full-time catcher anymore. He has caught 49 of the Twins' 99 games. Mauer has DHed (isn't it great how we turned that into a verb?) 25 times and has played first base 19 times. Behind the plate, he has been less than ordinary. Both Fangraphs and B-R have him in negative territory with his fielding. Plus, Mauer has only thrown out a paltry 15% of runners attempting to steal. That is Varitek-like. And while you have to give the pitchers some of the credit for not being able to hold the runners on, you also have to give the Twins' catching some of the responsibility for the Twins being dead last in most pitching categories.
There are also some strange things going on with Mauer's batted balls. His BABIP is a very high .375. That is higher than his .345 career BABIP. But what doesn't make sense is that Mauer is at a higher BABIP while hitting more ground balls than he's ever hit in his career. His current ground ball to fly ball ratio of 2.68 is easily the highest of his career. And yet, he is batting .282 when he hits ground balls. That is high. He doesn't hit many fly balls, but when he does, they are effective. He has a .946 OPS on fly balls which is also kind of unbelievable against the league norm. And his homer to fly ball ratio is pretty good too at just over ten percent.
Mauer is absolutely raking when he hits a line drive. His OPS on line drives is 1.860. Of the 53 line drives he has hit, 45 have found a safe place to land or hit or dent. It should be mentioned that his line drive percentage of 24.9 percent is the highest of his career if he were to maintain it.
So there is some really good stuff here and some not so good stuff. He has only swung and missed 4.2 percent of the time this season. That is astounding. And yet, he leads the league in grounding into double plays with an amazing 19, well on pace to beat his career high of 22.
The great news is that Joe Mauer is back as an offensive player. He is one the best pure hitters of this generation. The not so good news is that not only is he not an every day catcher anymore, he is no longer a very good one when he does.
The good news is that Head and Shoulders doesn't have to be embarrassed about its spokesperson anymore (except at how dumb the commercials are). The bad news is that the Twins are paying him at $23 million a season and he only has an outside shot of reaching that value according to Fangraphs and no shot according to Baseball-reference.com. This writer would still pay to see him hit though.

Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

NFL denies sending Donald Trump letter about schedule

Michael Bennett calls out NFL stars for not speaking up on social matters

Nationals make astute move in acquiring Melancon

Son of former NFL player Antonio Armstrong charged with death of parents

U.S. Senator “appalled” by Bettman’s stance on concussions


Team USA’s Opening Ceremony uniforms look a little treasonous

Lawyer who reps concussion lawsuit wants to speak with Bettman

Tyler Eifert says he will never play in the Pro Bowl again

Australian athletes evacuate the Olympic village after fire

Russian weightlifting team banned from Rio

Wade says Riley did not push him out of Miami

Texans GM 'disappointed' in DeAndre Hopkins

Can Andre Johnson end his regression in Tennessee?

Favre opens up about painkiller addiction during career

Miami women’s basketball coach criticizes Texas A&M following slideshow

Twin Cities preparing for influx of sex trafficking during Super Bowl LII

WATCH: Bautista bat flip will be available as NHL 17 celebration

Former USMNT, current MLS forward Davies battled cancer, in remission

The definitive guide to U.S. Men's Basketball at Rio 2016

Tony Romo training camp picture leads to fat jokes, concern

Matt Cullen’s family eats cereal out of the Stanley Cup

Texas A&M suspends coaches for sexist slideshow

10 most dangerous college football defenders in 2016

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Dr. Phil calls out the Patriots for their cheating ways

Everything that's already gone wrong at the Rio Olympics

Amar'e Stoudemire's presence (and absence) changed the NBA

We asked Team USA: What other Olympic sport would you play?

Why Gary Bettman's CTE denial is cause for concern for NHL

WATCH: Inside the Nike SNKRS BOX in SF for Golden Air Celebration

WATCH: Five other uniforms Chris Sale should cut up

QUIZ: Name every Olympic event in which the USA has never won a gold medal

Five U.S. Olympians favored to win multiple gold medals

WATCH: What teams should join the Big 12?

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Follow Yardbarker