Posted at 1:21 PM on August 31, 2007
by David Zingler
He's Mr. All-American, the son every father wishes he had, the #1 overall draft pick, the local boy made good, a batting champion, dated a former Ms. Teen America and he's let us down this season.
You can make a laundry list of reasons why Joe Mauer hasn't lived up to the hype in 2007: injuries, unrealistic expectations or even his break-up with the beauty queen, but you can't change the fact that he's been merely good when we all expected him to be great.
Entering today's rare Metrodome doubleheader, the St. Paul native has a batting line of .294/.388/.419 in 2007. The .388 OBP is nice, the .419 SLG% is not. In 1,477 career at-bats, the 6-5, 215 lb Mauer has hit just 33 homeruns. Plus, he's struck out nearly as many times this season (46) in 360 at-bats as he did in 521 last year (54).
I realize fiery outbursts and vocal leadership are not in everyone's personality and that Mauer's calm demeanor suits in well in most circumstances. But, it would be nice to see the 24-year-old respond when Torii Hunter takes not-so-veiled shots at him in the media. Remember when Justin Morneau challenged Hunter late in the 2005 season after the self-righteous centerfielder made similar comments about him to the press? Torii's said nothing but nice things about the Canadian since then.
I like Mauer, he seems like a class act and genuinely good person and I think he will develop into an all-around offensive threat, but I hope he realizes that the clock is ticking and the media and fans won't play nice forever.