Twins aficionado Aaron Gleeman made a post on NBCSports.com’s “Circling The Bases” this afternoon, examining Joe Mauer’s recent hot streak. The All-Star catcher has hit .417/.500/.819 with eight home runs and five doubles in 19 games since coming off the disabled list. Is that kind of power sustainable for a guy who has finished with a double-digit home run total just once in his career? Gleeman isn’t so sure.
“Mauer hasn’t become more aggressive by abandoning his ultra-patient approach at the plate and he isn’t suddenly pulling the ball consistently,” wrote Gleeman. “Instead he’s still taking tons of pitches and going the other way with most of the pitches that he decides to swing at, but the fly balls to left and center field just seem to be traveling a little further. All of which makes me think that he’s probably not turning into a slugger in front of our eyes.” Mauer is simply making great contact, and should continue to do so. But it would be irresponsible to expect him to keep driving balls out of the park.
FanGraphs’ own David Golebiewski had the same idea in his “Stock Watch” write-up earlier this week: “I know- Mauer has long been a fantasy darling, as a line-drive hitting backstop with excellent control of the zone. But the 26 year-old’s power outburst to begin the ‘09 season bears mentioning. … Don’t expect him to suddenly go all Mike Piazza on the league, but Mauer would only add to his immense value if he could loft 20 big flys in addition to his high-contact, patient act at the dish.”
Mauer was moved into the No. 2 spot in the lineup yesterday and continued to rake as the Twins walloped the White Sox 20-1. Despite the excellent returns, manager Ron Gardenhire said after the game that it won’t be a permanent move. That bodes well for Mauer’s RBI total. “”I would really like to have a guy [in the two-spot] that handles the bat — a guy that can bunt, a guy that can run, all those things,” Gardenhire told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. “That’s the way it’s supposed to be in the lineup. Alexi Casilla should be there.”
Mauer missed all of April, yet it appears he’ll top most of his career highs, especially in home runs and RBI. Let’s hope he never slows down.
On to the links…
Tim Heaney of KFFL.com reviews some of the shakier closer situations from around the league.
Andy Behrens of Yahoo! Sports believes the Giants’ Jesus Guzman is a “call-up of interest.” The 24-year-old was hitting 363/.391/.592 at Triple-A Fresno and should see plenty of DH opportunities as we enter interleague play.