At the young age of 26, Joe Mauer of the Twins has already won two batting titles and is clearly on his way to having another great season in 2009. Hitting a whopping .393 in 55 games this season, you don’t even need to watch this guy to know how much talent he brings to the table.
With Mauer consistently having this much success with the bat, it brings the question of whether he will end up better than Mike Piazza (my favorite Met of all-time), who holds the record for home runs as a catcher, at the conclusion of his career. Sure, Mauer has a long way to go in his career before calling it quits, but he hasn’t failed to impress up to this point.
At the same time, it may not be all that easy to compare these two catchers. Mike Piazza was a home run hitter, while Joe Mauer has hit 14 home runs this season and hasn’t been known for his excessive power at the plate. He certainly will never break Piazza’s home run record, but could beat him out as an overall hitter. Throughout his career, it has been clear that Mauer hits for average above anything else. He has hit well over .300 two out of the last three seasons and also hit .347 in 2006 in 140 games. Outrageous.
The question of whether Mauer is a better hitter, however, just may be too broad to compare. Piazza will have been the best home-run hitting catcher of all-time, but Mauer should easily outdo him in the average category.
Keep in mind here that Mike Piazza will always be my favorite Met of all time, but I have a great deal of respect for Mauer and his accomplishments. With so many different factors in place, I’m not at all sure these two are comparable. In the end, their careers will have been great in their own ways. You really can’t say Piazza or Mauer is better unless you value certain stats over the other.
Are Mike Piazza and Joe Mauer comparable? It’s up to you.