5. Joe Mauer (Minnesota Twins)
Sep 17, 2014; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Twins first baseman Joe Mauer (7) hits a RBI single in the eighth inning against the Detroit Tigers at Target Field. The Twins won 8-4. Mandatory Credit: Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports
MLB Debut: April 5, 2004
Age: 31 years old
Team Record (2014): 70-92
A look at last season:
Mauer batted .277 last season and is without a doubt the captain and leader of the Minnesota ball club. In ’14, Mauer played in 120 games, leading to 455 at-bats, which included 126 hits, four home runs and 55 RBIs.
Though Mauer wasn’t an All-Star last season, he did a have a productive season nonetheless, though he’s had better seasons in the past. Since winning the AL MVP award in ’09, he’s never finished higher than ninth in the voting but has been an All-Star three more times since that season.
I’m not saying Mauer isn’t still a good baseball player, because he is, but he’s just not the player he used to be.
During the ’09 MVP campaign, Mauer batted .365 with a .444 on-base percentage and a .587 slugging percentage, all MLB bests that season.
But back to more current times … in 100 games last season at first base, Mauer finished with a .997 fielding percentage, with three errors in 915 chances.
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2015 Baseball Prospectus Projections:
Entering this season at 32 years old, Mauer is projected to have better numbers than he did last season, in what will be his 11th MLB season.
Baseball Prospectus has Mauer projected with a .298 batting average with 27 doubles, two triples, six home runs and 50 RBIs.
The publication also projects Mauer with 56 walks while having a .380 on-base percentage and .409 slugging percentage, all better numbers than last season.
They Said It:
In an article on the official Minnesota Twins web site:
"“I’ve had a great offseason. I haven’t had an offseason like this in a long time. I was able to get right into workouts, and obviously at the end of the year take care of some little nicks here and there. My body feels good headed into this year. I’m excited about what’s to come.”"
Next: Ranking: No. 4