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Updated: June 6th, 2014 12:30pm
Wetmore: Simply put, Joe Mauer has been un-Mauer-like this season

Wetmore: Simply put, Joe Mauer has been un-Mauer-like this season

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by Derek Wetmore
1500ESPN.com

MINNEAPOLIS - One theory I have about Joe Mauer has less to do with what kind of player he is and more to do with our perception of him.

For most of his career by most of the vocal members of the Twins fan base, he's been underappreciated. He's one of the great players of the past decade and I've had a surprising number of people suggest to me in our comment section and on Twitter that the Twins would be better off without Mauer. Now, it's not my job to defend Mauer. If you want to dislike him for personal reasons that's your prerogative. My job, as I see it, is to work to present the truth to readers all the time. And the truth is that Mauer has been a very, very good player over the past 10 years.

My theory goes like this: Since so many fans don't appreciate Mauer, those who do understand his value over the past decade have raced to correct the wrongheaded public perception that Mauer is worthless. This led to even more backlash, which led to even more ardent defending. Trenches were dug.

Mauer Bashers vs. Mauer Backers with no room for middle ground or updating our perceptions or exploring our biases.

This much is irrefutable to both camps: Mauer has had a bad year through the first 9 weeks of the 2014 season. There also is not question that this season has been downright un-Mauer-like.

This chart shows Mauer's stats through June 5 in every season in which he's had at least 50 plate appearances by this point:

Year

PAs

2B

HR

RBI

BB

K

AVG

OBP

SLG

2005

165

5

5

18

20

19

.301

.382

.441

2006

209

12

5

26

20

21

.355

.411

.500

2005

165

5

5

18

20

19

.301

.382

.441

2006

209

12

5

26

20

21

.355

.411

.500

2007

123

10

1

14

16

15

.353

.446

.480

2008

225

12

2

26

29

15

.328

.411

.432

2009

140

8

12

35

22

16

.430

.514

.833

2010

204

16

2

24

21

20

.317

.387

.450

2012

226

12

3

25

34

22

.298

.407

.419

2013

245

18

5

18

29

51

.329

.408

.481

2014

235

8

2

15

26

46

.271

.349

.348

*Does not includes 2004, 2011. Not enough plate appearances.

--

Mauer is 31 years old. That means he's past his athletic prime, according to studies done on Major League Baseball players and their aging curves. It also means he's too young to be a likely candidate for a precipitous drop in production, according to those average aging curves.

Those are the facts. I can't tell you what to believe, or change how you perceive things. I can share with you what is truthful and let you draw conclusions.

Derek Wetmore is the senior editor for 1500ESPN.com. His previous stops include MLB.com and the Minnesota Daily.
Email Derek | @DerekWetmore
In this story: Joe Mauer
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