June 4, 2014

Joe Mauer vs. Derek Jeter

joe mauer and derek jeter

Presented without comment: Joe Mauer is 31 years old. Here are his career numbers with four months left in his age-31 season compared to Derek Jeter's career numbers through age 31:

THROUGH AGE 31           JETER     MAUER
Batting Average          .314      .321
On-Base Percentage       .386      .403
Slugging Percentage      .461      .463
OPS                      .847      .866
Wins Above Replacement   48.4      44.7

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  1. +1

    Comment by haplito — June 4, 2014 @ 9:21 am

  2. Fantastic numbers for a shortstop or catcher. Move Mauer back to catcher!

    Comment by Blurrrr — June 4, 2014 @ 9:28 am

  3. Yeah, but is he CLUTCH???

    Comment by Deebs — June 4, 2014 @ 9:32 am

  4. Mauer has never had more than 200 hits in a season. Jeter did it 4 times by the time he was 31. Also, three times during that time he had between 190 and 199.
    Joe Mauer has had 190 hits once. Never over 200.

    However, Mauer is/was a better defender.

    As far as being clutch… Would you say Jeter isn’t clutch because he has a career .257 ALCS BA? Or, is he clutch because he has a career BA of .343 in ALDS games?

    Comment by Furney — June 9, 2014 @ 4:54 pm

  5. Where does Jeter’s extra 3.7 WAR come from? Are these only regular season numbers?

    Comment by Leon — June 4, 2014 @ 10:04 am

  6. I’m guessing it has to do with games played. At the time of his 31st birthday, Jeter had played in roughly 200 more games than Mauer played in up to his 31st. Mauer’s average full-season WAR is about 4.4, so if he had played in the same number of games as Jeter through 31, Mauer would likely be ahead of Jeter at the same point in his career. You could make a good case, too, that Baseball Reference’s WAR overstates Jeter’s defensive value and understate’s Mauer’s.

    Whatever the case may be, Mauer is in seriously great company and I like to see him get the appreciation he deserves.

    Comment by GagneWithASpoon — June 4, 2014 @ 10:30 am

  7. I think replacement level SS are slightly worse at hitting than replacement level C as well. So even if they produced identical numbers Jeter gets a slight WAR edge from positional adjustments.

    Comment by Kavan — June 4, 2014 @ 12:14 pm

  8. what about run production? Let’s compare home runs and RBI’s.

    Comment by Old Voltage — June 4, 2014 @ 10:06 am

  9. I can’t tell if this comment is sarcastic, but if its not: Runs are produced by getting hits with men on base and more generally by not producing an out with your plate appearance. To say that Jeter has more RBI is as much a statement about the guy hitting in front of Jeter as it is about Jeter himself. Mauer can’t control if the guy in front of him gets on base or if the guy behind him hits him in, all he can do is get hits and not create outs. A better descriptor of production solely attributable to a given player is OBP or SLG. Home runs are a good way to score runs, but not the best predictor/descriptor of production.

    Comment by Kavan — June 4, 2014 @ 12:22 pm

  10. But since you asked: Mauer has averaged 10 fewer runs, 1 fewer HR, and 17 *more* RBI per 162 games during this same time period. All while being arguably the superior defender at the most difficult daily position in baseball.

    Comment by Underwood4000 — June 4, 2014 @ 12:31 pm

  11. Thank you Aaron! No comment was necessary.

    Comment by Dave_Thompson — June 4, 2014 @ 12:03 pm

  12. Do you know why you have to use averages and not raw numbers? Because Mauer missed a boatload of time before 31. Though the data is instructive to the quality of player Mauer has been when he is on the field, it is cherry-picked nonetheless. The problem also is that from now on you’ll have to compare Mauer’s numbers to a First Baseman, a Corner Outfielder, or at the very least, a Third Basemen which I believe will disappoint the rest of his career. Hopefully I’m wrong.

    Derek Jeter through age 31
    G PA H RBI 2B HR
    1525 6996 1936 763 308 169

    Joe Mauer through age 31
    G PA H RBI 2B HR
    1229 5290 1470 649 290 107

    Joe is behind 466 hits, 114 RBI, 18 2B, and 62 HR while playing approximately 300 fewer games and the other caveat being that he has yet to finish the season in which he turned 31. While not a horrible comparison, this gives more perspective.

    Comment by 8791 Champs — June 4, 2014 @ 1:55 pm

  13. Wins Above Replacement is a counting statistic and at the end of this season Mauer will be essentially identical to Jeter in WAR as well.

    Comment by Aaron Gleeman — June 4, 2014 @ 1:58 pm

  14. Correct me if I’m wrong because I’m relatively unfamiliar with WAR but do you have to be on the field to improve or reduce your WAR?

    Comment by 8791 Champs — June 4, 2014 @ 2:01 pm

  15. I’m not sure how that could be a serious question, so I guess I’ll stop responding now.

    Comment by Aaron Gleeman — June 4, 2014 @ 2:03 pm

  16. What Aaron means when he says that WAR is a counting statistic is that it accrues like runs or home runs. Unlike average statistics (OPS, for example) that tell you how good a player was per plate appearance, per game, or per inning pitched, WAR measures what a player did while on the field. So, to answer your question: Yes, a player must be on the field to improve or reduce his WAR.

    To give an example: Kirby Puckett played in all or part of 12 seasons and accumulated 50.9 WAR. He’s just behind Jim Kaat (51.4 WAR) on the all-time list. Kaat took 25 years to compile that many wins above replacement, giving you a good idea of how good Puckett was compared to Kaat — about twice as valuable per game, by this measure. (The source for these numbers is baseball-reference.com.)

    Comment by GagneWithASpoon — June 5, 2014 @ 1:16 pm

  17. Mauer would need roughly five more years with a WAR of 5.5 to reach Jeter. You’re living in a fantasy world if you think that will happen

    Comment by ewen21 — June 8, 2014 @ 12:25 pm

  18. Quite possible that Mauer missed a boatload of time before 31 because he played a far more physically taxing position. If you want to compare Mauer’s plate production per season for his first 10 seasons look at Carew, Molitor, Boggs & Gwynn. If you looking at games played, Mauer actually played more games per year for the first 10 years of his career than Molitor did.

    Comment by Don Pavelka — June 8, 2014 @ 4:34 pm

  19. Can we wait until Mauer gets into his late 30s before we even consider this comparison? He is signed through the 2018 season and he’s cratered horribly this year. Joe has a whole lot of work to do and the Twins are heavily invested him. I’m a lot more concerned with that as a Twins fan than these arbitrary comparisons.

    Comment by ewen21 — June 6, 2014 @ 7:46 pm

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