The Minnesota Twins finished the month of April dead last in the division and had the franchise’s second-worst start in history. It is safe to say there is not an abundance of optimism in Minneapolis.
However, one man seems to have figured out how to get back in the conversation for one of Major League Baseball’s best hitters. Joe Mauer is off to a start worth talking about with a batting average of .337 as we enter the month of May.
Mauer won the American League Most Valuable Player back in 2009 after hitting .365 and knocking out 28 home runs for a career best. His game looked to be on the rise but saw his batting average fall in recent seasons with an average of .265 last year.
Mauer has failed to hit more than 11 home runs in a single season since 2009. He is not on pace to do much better this year as he has hit just one home run to start the season.
A player that can get on base is what I look for in a hitter. Home runs can ignite a crowd, but the Kansas City Royals won it all last year because of their ability to put pressure on the opposing defenses by simply hitting the baseball.
Mauer was the best in the American League in on-base percentage in the month of April with .453. He tied Brandon Crawford of the San Francisco Giants with five intentional walks and 20 total good for fourth in all of Major League Baseball. Mauer’s ability to get on base should have this offense in a position to contend right?
The Twins’ lack of offense has been a head scratcher in 2016. When the team’s best hitter has had MVP type of success to start the year, one would think that would rub off in the dugout. Unfortunately, the Twins are 7-18 with no answers in the run column.
Minnesota is 25th in team batting, but Mauer has found himself in the top four in the American League in batting average. It is too bad that one player is not the answer to achieving a successful campaign.
His work in the offseason to get back to the Joe Mauer of old has shown here in the early stretch of the season.
“I’ve come a long way,’’ Mauer said to the Star Tribune on April 30th. “I’m excited about where I’m at, and I’m continuing to get better. It’s definitely been getting better. I think it takes time to get better, and a lot of the things I’ve done have helped.”
The benefit the Twins have right now is the age of the season. Anything is possible and the goal of getting back to .500 is more than attainable. Mauer has been an early positive this organization has been looking for and now it is up to the rest of the lineup to figure a way out of this frustrating slump.
The Twins have opportunities against the Houston Astros starting Monday night and a weekend series in the “Windy City” against the American League Central Leading Chicago White Sox.