Wednesday, January 8, 2014

25-Man Roster Dissection: Joe Mauer

As the Twins get closer to heading to Fort Myers, there will be plenty of decisions to make in relation to the 25-man roster. Some positions are likely set in stone while others are still questionable. In this series called "25-Man Roster Dissection." I have selected the men I believe will spend the most time on the 25-man roster next season and I try to predict each player's 2014 performance.

There seems to be one logical place to start with the roster and that's with the club's 23-million dollar man.

Joe Mauer is the face of the Twins franchise and he will be for multiple years to come. After an injury plagued 2013 season, the Twins and Mauer decided to permanently move him to first base. This change has impacted multiple parts of the 25-man roster and there are multiple ripple effects for years down the road.

2013 Recap: .324/.404/.476, 11 HR, 35 2B, 47 RBI (113 Games)
Mauer played in under 115 games for the second time in three seasons. His time on the field was productive as he knocked more than 10 home runs for the first time in the Target Field era. He was selected to his sixth career All-Star Game and he was given his fifth silver slugger award as the top hitting catcher in the American League. For his career, Mauer caught 7883 innings behind the plate but August 19, 2013 will go down as his last time behind the plate and it was his last game in 2013.

Forecasting 2014: .315/.410/.470, 15 HR, 40 2B, 90 RBI (150 games)
With the shift to first base, Mauer should be able to avoid taking as many days off to rest his legs. This also means he will be able to set a new career high in games played. I believe Mauer will also try and push him self to hit for more power with his shift to a corner infield spot. He is one of the best hitters in the game and he could be a top tier first baseman if he pushes himself in the right direction. The cloud of concussions from last year will loom over him but Mauer is ready to get past the problems of 2013.

25-Man Roster Safety: Locked In

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