Sunday, September 12, 2010

Mauer's march toward 3000

As the Twins enjoy their off-day in Chicago before their huge series with the White Sox, one of their players is on the cusp of a milestone. Joe Mauer currently sits at 999 hits for his career. If he gets a hit on Tuesday night he will reach the 1000 hit plateau in only 826 games and at the young age of 27. To give some perspective on that check out the chart below. This chart shows the ages that the most famous Twins reached 1000 hits

Rod Carew Age 27

Kirby Puckett Age 28
Kent Hrbek Age 28
Tony Olivia Age 30
Harmon Killebrew Age 30

With the exception of Carew, Mauer will reach this plateau at a younger age than all of the Twins legends. Mauer has also missed parts of various seasons with injuries including much of his rookie season. By adding in these extra games he could have reached this mark at an even younger age.

The Twins franchise record for hits is held by Sam Rice with 2889 hits. He played for the Washington Nationals from 1915-1933. It took him until the age of 32 to compile 1000 hits. Second on the Twins franchise hits is Kirby Puckett with 2304. His age is listed in the chart above. The all-time hits leader, Pete Rose, also reached the 1000 hit mark at the age of 27.

All hitter strive to reach one mark, 3000 hits. So let's look ahead and project when Mauer could reach this historical feat. Granted there are many things that could get in the way of Mauer's march toward 3000. He has had injuries in the past and he plays the most grueling position on the diamond.

Avg. games/season**: 131
Avg. AB/season**: 492
Avg. hits/season**: 161
(**For the sake of getting an accurate outcome I threw out his rookie season in which he only played 35 games because of injury)

In Mauer's three best hitting seasons ('06,'08,'09) he averaged 183 hits/season. This number is much higher than the 161 he averages per/season. So it is easy to say that he could reach the 3000 hit mark even faster if he has some more seasons like he has in the past.

With Mauer's average hits and adding a few good seasons like he has had in the past he could reach the 2000 hit mark in the 2016 season at the age of 33. Mauer's march to 3000 hits could get very tricky from there. Will he still be a catcher at the age of 33? Will he switch to another position to save himself from injury? Is the DH role something that Mauer would be able to thrive in?

Mauer would pass Kirby Puckett for 2nd on the franchises hit list during the 2018 season at the age of 35. At the beginning of the 2022 season Mauer will be approaching the Twins franchise record of hits set by Sam Rice. The end of the 2022 season and the beginning of the 2023 season would be the time that Mauer would be approaching the 3000 hit mark. He would be in his late thirties or early forties.

My prediction: Mauer will get his 3000 hit as the DH for the Twins. It will be a cool fall day at Target Field and the Twins will be in the hunt for the 2022 division title. It will be a double to the opposite field gap and a run will score on the play.

Congratulations to Mauer as he passes the 1000 hit mark. As Twins fans we look forward to your march toward 3000 hits.

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