Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Mauer at first

Joe Mauer makes a play at first base in Game One
of Monday's doubleheader.
Joe Mauer has played first base in two of the last three games, and given the nonsense to be found in some corners of the Internet, I fully expect to start seeing references to him as the Twins new regular first sacker.

No. He's still primarily a catcher, overwhelmingly primarily a catcher. He's had the time at first base because:

  • The weather is brutal;
  • The Twins will today play their fifth game in four days, three of them day games;
  • They want to keep both him and Jim Thome in the lineup when he's not catching, and;
  • First base is the least demanding position and thus the easiest one to pick up in midseason.

He's not changing positions so much as he is adding one. And if/when he does change primary positions, it won't be to first base, at least not while Justin Morneau's still under contract.

I noticed one play Tuesday night — a ground ball hit to Mauer's right on which he barely flinched. He just trotted over to first to take Alexi Casilla's throw. Luke Hughes, who's been playing quite a bit at first during Morneau's absence, would almost certainly have gone after the ball and taken himself out of the play. Mauer appeared to know it was the second baseman's play, and he let the second baseman have it. Nice.


  1. I keep seeing it said that 1st base is the least demanding position. Is that because right field requires more running? It seems to me that first still requires quite a bit of athletic ability to be played well, but of course Joe is an exceptional athlete and could probably be a standout at any position.

  2. BTW, I hate those stupid green caps!

  3. Rule of thumb: If you can run and throw, you're a center fielder; if you can run but not throw, you're a left fielder; if you can throw but not run, you're a right fielder; if you can't do either, you're a first baseman.

    There are exceptions to those generalizations, and right fielders have to be able to move enough to get to the RF corner in time to prevent triples, so the slowest LFs are slower than any RF, but on the whole, it's an accurate depiction on the needed skills.

  4. I'm reminded of the Woody Allen adage. Those who can, do; those who can't, teach; those who can't teach, teach gym.