Monday, November 23, 2009
Joe "MVP" Mauer
Do I have much to add, in terms of accolades, to the mountain of praise that has been heaped on Joe Mauer as of late? Simply, no. Can I repeat the praise that others have heaped on Joe Mauer while adding a tidbit of my own here and there? Simply, yes. So here goes:
a) Adam Tidbit: The MVP award has only been given to a catcher 13 times in either league since it's inception in 1931. The last to receive the award in the American League was Ivan Rodriquez in 1999 (read: wtf?) and the last in the National League was Johnny Bench in 1972. (Complete List Here)
b) Mauer's Batting Average this past season, .365, was the highest by a catcher since 1936 when Babe Phelps hit .367, Mauer and Mike Piazza are the only two catchers in the past 73 years who have cleared the .350 mark for a season. (Source: ESPN, need an Insider Subsription)
c) Mauer received a $100,000 bonus for winning the MVP award. Get this though, Miguel Cabrera received a $200,000 bonus for finishing 4th, I wonder if he paid off that writer from Seattle who gave him a first place vote... (Source)
d) A favorite stat of mine and others out there is Value Over Replacement Player (VORP). This past season, Mauer's VORP was 91 runs above replacement at the Catcher position. The next closest?...Derek Jeter at 71 runs above replacement at Shortstop. Last year's AL MVP Dustin Pedroia was 60 runs above replacement. A 91 VORP is ridiculous when you actually think about what it means. (Source)
e) According to Wikipedia, Mauer has been rumored to be creating his own rap music during his free time. This is fantastic evidence for why you should always read Wikipedia with a critical eye.
f) Few articles I've read have mentioned the fact that Mauer missed a month of this past season recovering from surgery. The fact that he hit 28 HRs and had 96 RBIs is unbelievable. If he had played during that month and was at full-strength, he very well could have put together one of the greatest offensive seasons of all time with 30+ HRs, 100+ RBIs, 100+ Rs and a .360+ average (.400+ OBP).
All I have to say, as a Twins fan, is this; this team owes it's fans to re-sign Mauer. We have continued to support this team despite losing some of our favorites over the years (Hunter, Santana, etc) and even went as far as helping the team to build a brand new stadium, which they move into next year. The community and fanbase has done everything for this team, and I think the organization has finally gotten to the point where it would benefit them and us, as fans, to invest in the talents they have developed. A core of Mauer, Morneau, Kubel and Cuddyer moving forward would be the kind of product that fans in Minnesota could stay behind for awhile.
If the Twins don't re-sign Mauer, it will be awfully difficult to remain faithful to my team. I want to think that I will always be a fan of the Twins no matter what, but this is one of those times where right course of action is so clear that if the Twins front-office blows the opportunity, it will difficult to continue to trust that they know what they're doing.