Parker: Joe Mauer is already a (specific) Hall of Fame catcher

From SABR member Bill Parker at Twins Daily on April 20, 2016:

A couple of months ago, the Baseball Hall of Fame introduced Mike Piazza as one of its two newest inductees, and it was natural for some to wonder whether Joe Mauer, the other great hitting catcher of recent memory, was likely to join him someday.

It’s a bit of a forced comparison, though, as everyone recognized. You couldn’t find two more different great players who played the same position. One bats right handed, one left; one topped 30 home runs nine times, one’s topped 10 home runs only five; one spent his career relentlessly maligned (fairly or not) for his lack of defense, while one won three Gold Gloves at catcher; one anchored himself to a base and hoped for three straight walks or a homer, while the other is a (slow but) savvy and net-positive baserunner. Piazza matched Mauer’s .395 career on-base percentage in only four full seasons, while Mauer has equaled Piazza’s .545 career slugging percentage just once. It’s like comparing chocolate and beer. They’re both great, but for completely different, mostly incompatible reasons.

There is, on the other hand, a Hall of Fame catcher who does compare very closely, and favorably, to Mauer, right now. His name isn’t as sexy to modern audiences, but he was great, and the comparison is kind of uncanny.

Read the full article here:

Originally published: April 20, 2016. Last Updated: April 20, 2016.