StaTuesday: Joe Mauer is clutch

Joe Mauer, the narrative says, is not the man for the job here. The Minnesota Twins and the Chicago Cubs are tied in the second inning, with two on and two out, and Mauer is here to send a ground ball skittering into Ben Zobrist.

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He is, after all, not clutch.

Mauer is, according to his detractors, overpaid, unexciting — boring, even — and thus un-clutch. One of the era’s most accomplished hitters of looping singles and the occasional double, Mauer has never, admittedly, been much for power.

Despite his batting titles, Gold Gloves, Silver Sluggers and MVP award, this fact seems to have corrupted Mauer’s mythos in his native Minnesota a bit.

As it turns out, Mauer was exactly the man for the job last Friday, hitting a three-run homer off Cubs starter Mike Montgomery to give the Twins the lead and reignite the old Mauer argument.

And while the home run was a surprise (it was just his second this season), there isn’t much of an argument.

Statistically, Mauer is among the most clutch hitters playing today.

The venerable St. Paul native is hitting .331 over his career with runners in scoring position, good enough for third amongst active players, with a .457 on-base percentage, also third.

Player Season AB H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO AVG OBP SLG
Nolan Arenado 2013-2018(6) 742 250 55 8 51 385 111 130 0.337 0.409 0.639
Joey Votto 2007-2018(12) 1199 403 87 5 68 585 381 264 0.336 0.488 0.587
Joe Mauer 2004-2018(15) 1575 521 114 10 29 732 407 245 0.331 0.457 0.471
Daniel Murphy 2008-2018(10) 1027 337 80 8 23 462 136 117 0.328 0.396 0.489
Charlie Blackmon 2011-2018(8) 599 196 34 7 19 261 66 89 0.327 0.396 0.503
Jose Abreu 2014-2018(5) 634 205 38 4 32 310 90 135 0.323 0.408 0.547
Mike Trout 2011-2018(8) 724 233 47 10 42 380 201 203 0.322 0.461 0.588
Michael Brantley 2009-2018(10) 887 284 49 2 19 401 128 94 0.320 0.394 0.444
Freddie Freeman 2010-2018(9) 914 290 71 2 40 435 216 234 0.317 0.441 0.531
Josh Donaldson 2010-2018(8) 703 223 38 4 38 345 147 150 0.317 0.428 0.545
Paul Goldschmidt 2011-2018(8) 928 294 71 8 49 456 258 232 0.317 0.456 0.569
Albert Pujols 2001-2018(18) 2495 790 166 3 159 1291 585 273 0.317 0.438 0.577
Buster Posey 2009-2018(10) 1029 324 75 3 29 450 196 148 0.315 0.413 0.478
Nick Castellanos 2013-2018(6) 575 180 35 10 24 261 62 153 0.313 0.373 0.534
Manny Machado 2012-2018(7) 662 207 38 1 35 297 78 128 0.313 0.374 0.532

Mauer’s numbers vary depending on exactly how clutch you need him to be. He’s hitting .376 all-time with the bases loaded — Mike Trout territory, currently — with 132 RBI in 117 at-bats.

Player Season AB H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO AVG OBP SLG
Matt Carpenter 2012-2018(7) 42 22 6 1 1 65 4 8 0.524 0.426 0.786
Yoenis Cespedes 2012-2018(7) 55 25 6 0 6 71 2 9 0.455 0.435 0.891
Josh Donaldson 2010-2018(8) 64 29 4 1 4 82 9 7 0.453 0.481 0.734
Daniel Murphy 2008-2018(10) 71 32 6 2 2 84 4 8 0.451 0.429 0.676
Scooter Gennett 2013-2018(6) 63 26 3 0 6 64 2 7 0.413 0.418 0.746
Mike Trout 2011-2018(8) 58 23 7 0 4 82 9 13 0.397 0.418 0.724
Marcell Ozuna 2013-2018(6) 76 30 6 2 4 76 6 18 0.395 0.424 0.684
Wilson Ramos 2010-2018(9) 81 31 4 0 3 75 5 8 0.383 0.383 0.543
Mitch Moreland 2010-2018(9) 89 34 5 0 3 85 7 18 0.382 0.390 0.539
Joe Mauer 2004-2018(15) 117 44 10 1 4 132 11 23 0.376 0.379 0.581
Michael Brantley 2009-2018(9) 72 27 5 1 2 83 10 8 0.375 0.411 0.556
Nick Castellanos 2013-2018(6) 52 19 2 3 4 56 2 16 0.365 0.350 0.750
Ian Desmond 2009-2018(10) 105 38 4 0 3 92 5 24 0.362 0.352 0.486
Brett Gardner 2008-2018(10) 97 35 4 3 3 86 7 17 0.361 0.377 0.557
Matt Joyce 2008-2018(10) 68 24 6 0 5 77 8 13 0.353 0.379 0.662

Few players in Twins history have been as clutch as Mauer, or even approached his clutch-ness. Mauer’s .331 with runners in scoring position also ranks third in Twins history, behind Hall of Famers Rod Carew and Paul Molitor, but ahead of Hall of Famer Kirby Puckett and four-time All-Star Chuck Knoblauch.

His 732 RBI in such scenarios are second only to Puckett.

Player Season AB H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO AVG OBP SLG
Rod Carew 1974-1978(5) 703 259 40 12 13 333 153 71 0.368 0.468 0.515
Paul Molitor 1996-1998(3) 515 172 31 7 5 235 67 64 0.334 0.391 0.45
Joe Mauer 2004-2018(15) 1575 521 114 10 29 732 407 245 0.331 0.457 0.471
Kirby Puckett 1984-1995(12) 1858 599 114 19 57 842 204 288 0.322 0.383 0.496
Chuck Knoblauch 1991-1997(7) 836 263 43 16 3 324 140 109 0.315 0.408 0.415
Brian Harper 1988-1993(6) 682 214 38 1 10 282 51 38 0.314 0.361 0.416
Shane Mack 1990-1994(5) 509 159 27 5 20 244 67 88 0.312 0.396 0.503
Mickey Hatcher 1981-1986(6) 549 167 31 5 10 232 41 39 0.304 0.343 0.434
John Castino 1979-1984(6) 513 154 22 10 8 196 55 67 0.300 0.363 0.429
Ron Coomer 1995-2000(6) 680 199 39 3 18 283 63 78 0.293 0.344 0.438
Denard Span 2008-2012(5) 521 152 26 14 5 202 62 82 0.292 0.366 0.424
Matt Lawton 1995-2001(7) 704 203 44 6 18 303 146 74 0.288 0.413 0.445
Larry Hisle 1974-1977(4) 562 160 20 4 25 266 73 111 0.285 0.354 0.468
Justin Morneau 2003-2013(11) 1304 370 77 5 53 599 241 233 0.284 0.385 0.472
Jacque Jones 1999-2005(7) 872 245 44 6 38 354 84 196 0.281 0.344 0.476

His .376 with the bases loaded ranks fifth, behind Jason Kubel, Carew, Dan Ford and Shane Mack.

The next time Mauer steps in with a runner on base (.326), runners on first and second (.298), first and third (.349), second and third (.384) or the bases loaded (.376), pay attention.

Statistics courtesy of STATS