Is Mauer A Better 'Jason Kendall'?

Monday, May 19, 2008

Twins catcher Joe Mauer was considered the top catcher in baseball in 2006 after hitting .316 with 28 HR and a .390 OBP in 306 games. However, he is starting to settle around the .300 mark and averaging anywhere between 7 and 10 homeruns. Mauer is currently hitting .316 with 0 HR in 38 games, but is not doing bad for the Twins. He has nine doubles and eighteen walks, so he is getting on base and scoring runs, in turn, helping the team win. Jason Kendall got his MLB career off to a similar start, and hit 3-6 homeruns over a span of four or five seasons. In his first three seasons, Kendall hit .307 with 23 HR and a .390 0BP, so you can see how similar they really are.

Mauer is much better than Kendall, but it is very possible that Mauer will become a leadoff type hitter hitting .300 with 3-6 homeruns like Kendall has. It is early and Mauer could easily breakout, but the Twins might have made a big investment to a future leadoff man who will add little offensive help for the Twins. If I were GM Bill Smith, I would definitely look to add a power hitting outfielder or corner infielder next offseason to provide protection for Justin Morneau, because it is likely that the Twins will try Mauer in different spots in the lineup.


Anonymous 7:09 AM CDT  

great comparison

Anonymous 12:00 PM CDT  

A reasonable comparison. I think high OBP/low SLG hitters are a little underrated in baseball. Having a player see 5-6 pitches per at-bat, and get on twice a game definately puts added strain on the opposing pitcher.

And it seems that plate discipline can be contagious. The Cubs have been more patient at the plate, and have been much more consistent at producing runs this year. I don't know if that's directly related to Fukudome's arrival, but it seems like a reasonable theory.