January 12, 2009
Twins Notes: No Thank You
During the past four seasons his OPS has declined from .898 to .815 to .784 to .741, and those marks are also hugely inflated by Texas' extremely hitter-friendly ballpark. Young has hit just .279/.323/.404 on the road during his career. For comparison, Brendan Harris is a career .269/.330/.408 hitter. Beyond that, Young winning the Gold Glove last year was totally undeserved, as he's consistently rated among the league's worst defensive shortstops in most advanced metrics.
Ultimate Zone Rating pegs him as 65.1 runs below average in over 6,700 career innings at shortstop, including negative totals in each of his five full seasons at the position. Revised Zone Rating shows him as three percent below the MLB average for shortstops during his career, including below-average marks in four of his five full seasons at the position. And last but certainly not least, Young is already 32 years old and is owed $62 million over the next five seasons.
Twins fans should be praying that Bill Smith has zero interest in Young.
Mauer joins a lengthy list of American stars who've passed on playing in the second WBC tournament and the choice is especially sensible for a young catcher. Plus, with Brian McCann and Chris Iannetta already on the roster Team USA is in good shape behind the plate. Incidentally, Mauer ranked second in the AL in innings caught last year and in the four seasons since coming back from his 2004 knee injury he ranks second among all MLB catchers in plate appearances:
Jason Kendall 2403
JOE MAUER 2266
Victor Martinez 2213
A.J. Pierzynski 2119
Ivan Rodriguez 2049
Baseball history shows that catchers simply don't rack up 600-700 plate appearances per season, but the general lack of understanding about their typical workloads is one of the many reasons why Mauer is incredibly underrated. Along with ranking second to only Jason Kendall in plate appearances during that four-year span, Mauer leads all catchers in hits, walks, runs, batting average, on-base percentage, Runs Created, and OPS+. As long as no one tells Dan Barreiro, we should be okay.