StaTuesday: Twins’ Joe Mauer back on track, above .300
Prime Joe Mauer was one of the most feared hitters in baseball.
He hit a combined .327 from 2006-13, filling his best years with batting titles, All-Star appearances, Gold Gloves, Silver Slugger awards and an MVP award.
But a nasty concussion seemed to mess with the delicate chemistry that made his near-perfect swing click, and the wear-and-tear of catching eventually took its toll.
His numbers tumbled following his move to first base in 2014.
Mauer hit just .267 from 2014-16.
His swing — Paul Molitor once called it the best he’s ever seen — accounted for 301 strikeouts and just 116 extra-base hits in three years.
But while some feared that this new Mauer was here to stay, the old one has resurfaced this season.
After three seasons of .260 hitting, Mauer’s season average is above .300 in September for the first time since 2013 (and, well, maybe technically 2012 since he last played in 2013 on Aug. 19).
His latest hitting streak (it stands at 13 consecutive games heading into a tilt with the Tampa Bay Rays on Tuesday) has been vintage Mauer: 22 hits, eight doubles and a triple. A .423 average and five multi-hit games.
During one dominant string of plate appearances Saturday against the Kansas City Royals he had hits in four consecutive innings, scoring twice to lead the Twins to a 17-0 win.
Mauer had been hanging out in the .270s and .280s for months before the streak pushed his average over the .300 mark.
Only four players in the franchise’s history have hit .300 more than four times.
An eighth would push Mauer into a tie for third with Kirby Puckett.
A ninth and he’d match Tony Oliva.
A tenth would pull him level with Rod Carew.