Last night, Mauer hit his first home run of the season. He took a four seam fastball off the inside corner of the plate and turned on it, smashing it against the upper deck in right field. It was good to see him unload on that.
In honor of that, and the upcoming draft, I thought I’d point out a little tidbit that Peter Gammons came up with:
From the institution of the draft in 1965 through 2001, there were 21 catchers taken at the top of the draft — meaning within the first five picks of the first round. Steve Chilcott was the first, taken with the first overall pick in 1966 by the Mets, one place in front of Reggie Jackson, by the Kansas City Athletics. Chilcott hurt his shoulder in Double-A and never made it to the major leagues.For all the people complaining that Mauer doesn’t play enough games and is weak — I’m looking at you, Torii Hunter — that list must be a little suprising. Standout catchers are rare in this game, and getting them at the top of the draft is even rarer.
Of those 21 catchers picked in the first five selections, five caught 2,000 games in the big leagues: Thurman Munson, Darrell Porter, John Stearns, Mike Lieberthal and Joe Mauer.
Granted, the draft is a crapshoot and Mauer literally fell into the Twins’ lap. But they still made the right pick with Mauer in 2001, and it has worked out really well so far. And now he’s on pace for three home runs this year!
(By the way, the only other catcher taken in the first round who currently plays is Jason Varitek. Originally drafted by the Twins, but showed his douchy Boston-like tendencies by refusing to sign. Maybe the Twins know what they’re doing?)
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Upon further review, it turns out that none of the catchers Gammons listed have caught 2000 games in the majors. No wonder that list seemed so surprising.
Games played as a catcher, career:
- Porter: 1506
- Munson: 1278
- Lieberthal: 1170
- Stearns: 699
- Mauer: 409
I clearly shouldn’t have posted this without checking Gammons’ work. My bad. Damn ESPN. What am I paying you for? (I think it’s especially bad that this was an Insider article, so I actually paid to read this lie from Gammons.)
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