Joe Mauer is one of the most talked-about players in the history of the Minnesota Twins. Being a native of the state has a lot to do with that status, but so does the impact he's had on the franchise since his debut in 2004.
Whether it be his scorching American League Most Valuable Player season in 2009 or his bout with bilateral leg weakness in 2011, Mauer always seems to be in the news when talking about the Twins. A byproduct of that popularity is that plenty of pundits that seem to find even the slightest flaw in his game.
Too bad they have nothing to talk about.
Mauer is having another vintage season while helping the Twins hover around the .500 mark. His average continues to be one of the best in the AL at .332 entering Thursday's game with the Philadelphia Phillies. He also continues to get on base at an outstanding .416 clip, which is toward the top of the AL.
Of course, the two things that Mauer continues to get ridiculed for are a lack of power and his inability to stay on the field. In both areas, the five-time (and soon to be six-time) All-Star has made the haters remain silent.
On the surface, six home runs through mid-June doesn't seem like a massive power surge. But that is on par with Mauer's best seasons, excluding the career-high 28 home runs he smacked in 2009. If his current trend continues, he will be on track to flirt with his second-best power season in 2006, when he hit 13 home runs and owned a .507 slugging percentage.
In case you're wondering, Mauer also entered Thursday with a .494 slugging percentage, which would rank third behind his injury-riddled rookie season and 2006.
Wait, did I say injuries?
Mauer has suffered a bad rap from some Twins fans because of the 2011 season, which saw him sit on the bench for half of the year while battling bilateral leg weakness and a bout with pneumonia. Since then, the fanbase becomes angry when he takes a day off or plays a game at first.
Mauer has done a great job of proving that wrong too, as he's played in 58 of the Twins' 63 games thus far, with 39 of them coming from behind the plate. He's as healthy as he's been since the end of the 2010 season and looks to put together another great season.
Alas, it seems like no matter what Mauer does, it won't be good enough for some. But he's doing his best to win them over.
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