Bllomberg Sport’s blog here at MLBlogs evaluates the evidence surrounding Joe Mauer’s power outage.
Target Field’s low home run
rate and the new approach by pitchers may be hurting Mauer’s home run numbers.
But the statistical variation in his HR/FB rate also helps explains the drastic
difference between 2009 and 2010. That rate suggests that Mauer’s MVP-type
numbers may have been affected by a statistical outlier, and that fans and
teams may have to reassess their expectations for Mauer’s power numbers. In
regards to how pitchers are approaching Mauer, it seems unlikely that the
recent adjustments can explain this year’s low home run total, as he has been a
top player in the league since 2004, and pitchers have been adjusting to his
tendencies every year. Meanwhile, Target Field has been playing like a large shopping
mall – but it does not explain Mauer’s low road home run total, or the fact
that he has yet to hit any homers at home.
Expect a middle ground to
emerge between the home run binge Mauer showed last season and the drought he’s
experienced in 2010.
Scott Baker’s flirtation with inconsistency continued Thursday night. His start against the Royals was less than impressive and the Twins lost 8-9 despite a late comeback, dropping the final game of the series. Nevertheless the Twins took 2 of 3 from Kansas City before opening up a weekend interleague series against the Atlanta Braves.
What if we compare the cleanup hitter to the #2 hitter? Here, it gets interesting. The cleanup hitter has a .02 run advantage per extra-base hit (double, triple, home run), while the #2 hitter has a .02 run advantage per walk or hit batter. This is not much of a difference. What does this mean? This means that the overall quality (as measured by wOBA) of your #2 and #4 batters should be about the same!That’s right. The advantage that the cleanup hitter has over the #2 hitter (all those runners on base) is mitigated by the 5% extra P[late] A[ppearances] that the #2 hitter has. Five percent may sound small, but everything we’ve seen so far shows that we’re dealing with small differences anyway.When deciding between the #2 and #4 slots, if you have two batters of similar overall quality, put the guy with more extra-base hits in the #4 slot, and the guy with more walks in the #2 slot.Let’s compare the #2 and #3 hitters. The run values of each event favor the #2 hitter over the #3 hitter by .02 to .03 runs. And this is across the board, except for the HR (which is even). Likewise, the run values of the #4 hitter’s events are all higher than those of the #3 hitter. This means that the #3 hitter should be worse than the #2 and #4 hitters. For most teams, the gap in talent between the hitters in the #3 and #2 slots is enormous and that talent is concentrated in the #3 slot. This is simply wrong.
Nick notes that Joe Mauer’s power output is down from last season, at least in terms of his home run total. On the other hand, his doubles are up, meaning that Mauer is still hitting long drives to the outfield, but they aren’t leaving the ‘yard. He wisely observed that this might be the case when writing about Mauer before the start of the season.
“Just Enough” home
– Means the ball cleared the fence by less than 10 vertical feet,
OR that it landed less than one fence height past the fence. These are the ones
that barely made it over the fence. [Emphasis added.]
Yeah, yeah, they don’t give out quarterly awards the way schools give out quarterly grade reports. Nevertheless, the numbers say that the American League’s most valuable player of the first quarter of the season was Justin Morneau.
Well, Yankees hitter recovered their bats, contributing a WPA of .602 in their 8-4 win over the Twins. Joe Mauer actually had the highest WPA in the game (.386), but with the Yankees trailing 3-4, Alex Rodriguez smashed a grand slam in the 7th inning (.359 WPA) putting the Yankees up for good.
Scott Baker was very effective Saturday night against the Orioles. Facing their third loss in a four game series against the Major League worst Orioles, Baker was very sharp, going 8 innings and surrendering only three hits and one run; he posted a .407 WPA (win probability added) for the game.
Mauer’s heel is not seriously injured. (By the way: Calcaterra’s shot at Nike is gratuitous yet still appropriate.)