Wednesday, September 25, 2013
Should Twins move Joe Mauer to first base?
By David Schoenfield
Until his concussion, Joe Mauer was having another excellent season, hitting .324 with a .404 on-base percentage and .476 slugging percentage, his highest in that category since his MVP season in 2009. He'll finish with 508 plate appearances, just enough to quality for the leaderboards, and currently ranks second in the AL in batting average, third in OBP and eighth in wOBA.
Nick Nelson of Twins Daily says Mauer's concussion -- which will end up costing him 39 games -- is the final straw: That catching should no longer be an option for Mauer.
It won't be an easy decision for the Twins. After throwing out just 14 percent of basestealers in 2012, Mauer's arm strength returned this year and he's caught 43 percent of basestealers, best in the AL. But the departure of Justin Morneau opens up first base for Mauer on a regular basis. Yes, he loses positional value if je moves to first, but Josmil Pinto looks like he has potential behind the plate.
I'm inclined to agree with Nick. It's time to get Mauer's bat in there for 150 games and avoid the injury risk. He's only been a part-time catcher the past two seasons anyway, filling in at DH and first. As Nick writes, "He's too valuable to the franchise -- monetarily and otherwise -- for such an undeniably substantial risk."
What do you think?