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MLB Today: Joe Mauer Creeping in on Batting Crown

October 1, 2012 | By RotoRob | comment on this post
Carl Crawford could improve the Los Angeles Dodgers next season.
Carl Crawford could be huge for the Dodgers in 2013.

In a late-August Podcast, we talked about how the Twins might be willing to part with Joe Mauer in the right scenario. Well, that scenario never materialized and he remains Minny property as the 2012 season wanes.

Mauer snapped a mini slump with three hits and a walk Sunday and don’t look now, but he has become a greater threat to Miguel Cabrera’s Triple Crown quest than Mike Trout.

Yes, it’s true. Mauer shook off a sluggish August with a massive September, hitting .388 with 16 RBI and 16 walks and a phenomenal 1060 OPS, to pull within two points of Miggy for the AL Batting Title. While Cabrera is home and clear with a nine-RBI lead, he’s only tied for the home run crown and now the batting average lead is getting rather slim. This puppy’s going to the wire.

In the meantime, Mauer deserves kudos for a very fine comeback season. He’s stayed healthy enough to record his most at-bats since 2008, and that was very much a question mark heading into the season. He’s also managed to put up his third double-digit home run season while pacing all of baseball in OBP. Not too shabby, Joe, not too shabby.

He’s put himself in very good position to record a fifth career season of at least a .325 BA. Just think about that for a moment. In fact, Mauer’s current mark of .323 exactly mirrors his career mark through nearly 4,000 at-bats. Holy crap.

And in his quest for a fourth batting title, on Monday Mauer gets Toronto’s Aaron Laffey, a pitcher he’s torched to the tune of a career .409 BA.

Quick Hits

  • Almost an afterthought in the huge Boston-LA Dodgers deadline deal because of his injury status, Carl Crawford could turn out to be the most important component of that massive trade. Yes, we all know about how bad his contract looks right now, and the Dodgers are on the hook to Crawford for over $100 million until 2017, but the fact remains that he was playing well when he finally made it back for the BoSox before Tommy John surgery ended his campaign. Crawford flashed better extra-base pop than ever before and remained a threat on the basepaths. He’ll begin hitting in a few months, and the Dodgers think he may be ready for the start of the 2013 season, even if he may not be able to throw normally until May. So yes, once again, Crawford will enter next season with health questions, but considering how low he’ll slide on your draft board, he’ll be an intriguing sleeper.
  • Mike Moustakas came out early Sunday because of a groin injury, but all reports suggest that this does indeed fall into the rare “minor groin issue” category. After the game, he said he was fine and has characterized the injury as “nothing.” Our No. 7 prospect in 2011, Moustakas has shown modest improvements this year, reaching the 20-homer mark and adding a few swipes. We’d like to see him get on base more often and get a better handle on his strike zone judgment before declaring him ready to fully break out.

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