Joe Morgan on Joe Mauer.

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I don’t want to beat the subject down anymore, as Joe Posnanski
does that on a daily basis.  But Joe Mauer hit two more homers, and had
three more hits yesterday.  One homer to straight away center, and the
other to left center.  He is batting .383, and he’s a catcher
Poz’s message board is scattered with people saying that up until now,
this is probably the greatest season by a catcher of all time.  An OPS+
north of 190, he’s a catcher, Slugging over .600, he’s a catcher. 
Well, you must get my point by now.

After all those numbers suggesting he is easily the MVP, we find out that Joe Morgan is off base again.  In a chat
yesterday, which I went back and read out of boredom, Joe Morgan said
something I didn’t agree with (what a surprise). I don’t mean to bash
the guy to simply bash him, but I felt that this was off base.  Here’s
what he said:

I can’t call him the best player, because it’s hard for a
catcher to be the best player. The reason I say that is that he’s not
the best defensive catcher in the game and he doesn’t run as well as
some of the other players. But he’s definitely the best catcher in the
game. And he’s not better than Albert Pujols. However, Mauer is an
unbelieveable talent. We’ve never had a catcher win a batting title
before. Now he’s on to his, what?, 2nd or 3rd batting title? He is by
far the best hitter in the league. But as an MVP, the Twins might
finish 3rd or 4th in their division.”

So Joe can’t call Mauer the best player because he is a “catcher?” 
This is subjective once again.   See, Morgan was the best player on a
great Reds team that one two World Series rings in the mid-70’s.  Yes,
he was better than Johnny Bench.  Joe was a great defender at an
up-the-middle position, who stole a ton of bases, hit for power, got on
base a bunch.  He could very well be the best second baseman of all
time.

So anyway, Morgan was better than Bench.  He could do more on a
baseball field, his career WARP1 is significantly higher.  I seriously
would not be surprised if this is where this all comes from.  Morgan
saw firsthand that he was better than his catcher.  Result:  This
conclusion.

Maybe I am off base in this regard, but it wouldn’t be entirely unlikely.

He doesn’t run as well as some of the other players.”

Okay, but just last season he was 2oth in base-running according to
BP.  Although this season, he isn’t even in the top 100.  But he isn’t
a poor base-runner by any means.  He may not run as well as Jacoby
Ellsbury, but that isn’t really what Joe Mauer does that makes him so
valuable.

“We’ve never had a catcher win a batting title before. Now he’s
on to his, what?, 2nd or 3rd batting title? He is by far the best
hitter in the league. But as an MVP, the Twins might finish 3rd or 4th
in their division.”

So he is by far the best hitter in the league?  But he isn’t the
best player because he is a catcher?  Morgan doesn’t understand
positional adjustment whatsoever.  Joe Mauer is a catcher, he gets
points for simply being able to be a catcher.  Kind of like how Jeter
or Hanley get points for simply being ****.  They field the position
well enough to play it–although it may not be quality defense, they
aren’t so horrendous that they absolutely must be moved off the
position, like BJ Upton had to be.  But Joe Mauer, by all accounts, and
all that has been said, is actually a really good defensive catcher. 
He is a great athlete, and constantly has to work with young pitchers,
and does pretty well at it, outside of this season.  But again, that
may not be Mauer’s fault at all.  It may be the actual pitchers simply
not faring well.

As for the MVP part of that quote?  Well, that is Morgan’s opinion. 
I personally do not feel that a player should be excluded from an MVP
award simply because the team around him is not supportive enough–at
least in terms of performance.  If Joe Mauer doesn’t have the
supporting cast to make a playoff run, then how is that his fault?

It isn’t.

But I also understand that people’s definition of “value” differs.  Although I may not agree with this, I do keep an open mind.

However, just to reiterate, Mauer is my MVP.  So don’t think that I
do not understand how little one player can impact a team, and how much
is needed in order to surround said player.

“And he’s not better than Albert Pujols.”

Joe Morgan, you’ve done good.  Although Mauer might very well be
having the better season (It’s close),  he may not be better than
Albert.  For Albert has been the best player in the game for years now,
and knocking him off isn’t as simple as putting up a .383 batting
average in less than a season.  As great as Mauer is and has been, I
will accept Pujols as the best player in baseball.

So Joe Morgan, Joe Mauer is the MVP.  That is firm within my mind. 
Entrenched, one might say.  There is still some season left to play,
and what will happen is unknown.  But a “catcher” is in fact the best
player in the American League.  And it isn’t far fetched to say that
he’s the best in the game.

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