Best Twins Player (2009)

Joe Mauer

When Joe Mauer was awarded Best Twins Player last year, it came with a caveat: He was pretty damn good, but he was a catcher battling through an injury-strewn 2007 season that reduced his numbers to solid rather than spectacular. A year later, all the question marks have been replaced with exclamation points: another batting title, another .400-plus on-base percentage, another season of striking out less than once every 10 at-bats, another Silver Slugger award, and another outstanding defensive season that won him his first Gold Glove. (Oh yeah, he also started in the All-Star Game.) And as much as people still complain that he's not a big home-run threat—a trait that didn't exactly hurt Rod Carew—Mauer still had the best slugging percentage of any AL catcher with at least 400 at-bats. It's gotten to the point where you have to scrape the margins to find out what he's not good at—well, aside from staying healthy, though hopefully his inflamed sacroiliac won't sideline him too long. The only other weakness we can discern: Mauer's slider probably wouldn't hit 85 m.p.h. on the radar.


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