Joe Mauer: signs of offensive life


It’s been a mostly-lost season for Joe Mauer, what with injury and ineffectiveness and all of that.  But July has been much kinder to the former MVP. Yesterday Mauer went 6 for 8 in the doubleheader against Cleveland, with a double and an RBI.  That day raised his average 30 points, from .260 to .290.

For the month of July he’s at .333/.448/.354. Which, yeah, is a funny-looking line, bereft of power.  Which is something that could be even more worrisome when one realizes that there’s a distinct possibility that his future is at first base rather than behind the plate.

It’s far too early to say whether Joe Mauer is looking at more of a Wally Joyner future instead of a Johnny Bench future, however, and for now I think the Twins will take the hits as they come and hope that the power soon follows.

Mike Trout has yet to strike out this spring

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Everyone is well aware of how good Angels outfielder Mike Trout is at the game of baseball. The 26-year-old is already an all-time great, having won two MVP awards — and arguably deserving of two others — and the 2012 Rookie of the Year Award. He has accrued 54.2 WAR, per Baseball Reference, which is right around the threshold for a Hall of Fame career. Trout does it all: he draws walks, he hits for average, he hits for power, he steals bases, he plays good defense.

But here’s an achievement that is amazing even for a player like Trout: he has yet to strike out this spring. In 41 Cactus League plate appearances, he has 10 hits (including a triple and two homers) and six walks with zero strikeouts. Across his career, Trout has a 21.5 percent strikeout rate, right around the league average. He isn’t usually such a stickler for avoiding the punch-out, but this spring he is.

To put this in perspective, 134 players this spring have struck out at least 10 times, according to 938 players have struck out at least once. The only other players to have taken at least 10 at-bats without striking out this spring are Humberto Arteaga (Royals, 23 AB), Tony Cruz (Reds, 18 AB), Oscar Hernandez (Red Sox, 10 AB), and Jacob Stallings (Pirates, 18 AB).

According to Angels assistant hitting coach Paul Sorrento, the lack of strikeouts hasn’t been a conscious effort from Trout, Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register reports. Ho hum. The best player in baseball is apparently getting even better.