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 Minor League News & Autograph Blog Home

Top Prospect Alert - Joe Mauer

By Schuyler Dombroske

DOB: 4/19/83, Age: 18, Height: 6í4íí, Weight: 215, Bats: L, Throws: R. Acquired: Twins - Drafted in the 1st Round of the 2001 Draft (Cretin-Derham Hall HS, St. Paul, MN).  2001 Stats: (Rookie - Elizabethton) .400 AVG, 110 AB, 6 2B, 2 3B, 0 HR, 4 SB, 19 BB, 10 K, .492 OBP, .491 SLG.
   Joe Mauer was the first pick in last seasonís draft, and was both a signability pick and a quality pick from my perspective. The Twins did have to pay him over $5 million to sign, but heís a local boy, and it isnít like Carl Pohlad had to take out a loan from Milwaukee to pay him. Mauer is a line-drive hitting machine, striking out once(!) in his high school career. Thatís as many times as I struck out in my first high school at-bat, so I for one am duly impressed. Last season in the Appy League, Mauer struck out once every 11 at-bats, walked almost twice that much, and batted .400. He didnít show much of the power that was advertised from his high school days, but at age 18, most kids donít. His power should ultimately be a plus for him, although not as great as his ability to hit for average. He is certainly ready for more advanced competition at the plate. He is extremely quick for a catcher, quick enough so that his speed is a plus on the whole. According to most scouts, he is athletic enough to be above average in the field at many different positions, but the Twins would obviously like him to remain behind the plate if at all possible. He has a great arm and quick reflexes, but catching is one skill that is not solely related to physical ability. The difficulties that catchers face when they are not at bat are usually enough to impede their hitting progress, so we will have to see how Mauer handles that part of his occupation. He is still so young, and has gotten off to such a great start, that he may be one of the few highly touted catching prospects that are able to remain a catcher when they hit the majors.
   As we all know, the Twins are going to need to continually produce talent under this MLB regime in order to stay off the chopping block. Joe Mauer will fit in nicely with Cuddyer, Morneau, Guzman, and Rivas to form a young, potent offensive core that should lend itself to that end. Mauer is slated for the Midwest League to open 2002, and he may remain there for most of the season unless he continues to hit .400. I would expect the Twins to move him along slowly, so that he is ready for the majors in 2005. Minnesota should be consistently competitive at that point, as long as they havenít been contracted for ďnot being competitive.Ē The best comparison that I can come up with for Mauer is Jason Kendall, another hitter with patience, the ability to hit for average, good speed, and a little pop. He also happens to catch, which is fairly rare for the trait set that the two possess. I think that Mauer has the potential to become a franchise player, and that the Twins, in their efforts to find a number one pick that would sign with them, did something right.


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