Joe Mauer: In League Of His Own
Joe Mauer had a typical night for him this season last night. He was 3-5 and hit his 23rd homer of the season.
The most amazing feat was that he raised his average last night to an even .380. Ichiro Suzuki hitting .360 and Hanley Ramirez hitting .356 are the only other players hitting over .350 this season.
Mauer didn’t play his first game till May 1 because of a back injury. He made up for lost time by hitting 11 homers and driving in 32 runs in May while hitting .414.
His power numbers fell in June as he hit only three homers and drove in 11 runs for the month and hit .353 for the month of June.
July saw his average dip to .309 for the month but he was still hitting .359 at the end of the month. He only hit four homers and drove in 13 runs for the month.
He would break loose again in August and in his last ten games he has raised his average from .358 to .380. He has had 23 hits in his last 42 at bats including five homers and 19 RBI’s.
Mauer has a current 14 game hitting streak and has struck out only four times in his last 63 at bats.
This month he has hit a mind boggling .476, has a .522 OBP, slugging .810 and has an OPS of 1.331.
His stats are even more amazing when considering he has only batted 358 times this season. He is tenth in the American League in RBI’s with 74 despite having 87 less at bats than the leader teammate Justin Morneau who has 94.
Mauer’s 23 home runs are eighth in the AL despite missing the first month of the season. He is leading the AL in batting with his .380 average.
He is leading the AL in OBP with a .446 mark, in slugging with a .667 percentage and in OPS with a 1.083 percentage.
That is unusual for the same player to lead in all four of the main statistical categories for a hitter. But then Mauer is not just any player.
He has already won two batting AL batting championships. Ichiro Suzuki is the only AL player with a chance to pass Mauer this season.
Mauer only hit 16 homers combined during the 2007 and 2008 seasons in 1104 at bats but has hit 23 homers this season in 358 at bats.
Baseball-reference.com doesn’t include Mauer on their lifetime batting average since he apparently doesn’t have enough at bats to meet their criteria for listing.
If he was included he would be only behind Albert Pujols and Ichiro Suzuki with a lifetime batting average of .333 and Todd Helton with a .327 batting average. Mauer would be right behind Helton with his .326 lifetime batting average.
Mauer could have three AL batting championships at the age of 26 if he doesn’t relinquish his lead this season. He is on the fast track to the Baseball Hall of Fame unless something unforeseen happens in the future.
He may not reach 3000 hits but that is one position where a player doesn’t need 3000 hits to be elected to the Hall of Fame. Most catchers sit out a game a week so they lose a lot of at bats during the season.
Mauer should be inducted into the Hall of Fame between 2025 and 2030 because to me he is the best all around catcher in baseball today.