Making the Grade: Ranking First Basemen in the AL Central

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No. 4: Joe Mauer, Minnesota Twins

Sep 3, 2014; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Twins first baseman Joe Mauer (7) hits a RBI single in the first inning against the Chicago White Sox at Target Field. Mandatory Credit: Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Not long ago, Joe Mauer would have topped the previous “Making the Grade” list as the best catcher in the division – if not all of baseball.

After making the full-time move out from behind the dish, Mauer was supposed to be more productive for the Twins in 2014 and fell way short. He hit more than 40 points below his career average (.319) and hit just four homeruns. Mauer labored through his least productive season since arriving in the big leagues and, at 31 years old, it does not seem likely that he rights the ship and returns to his 2009 MVP form.

While it is not farfetched to assume he can put up another .300-plus season from the dish, his dwindling power numbers and increasing strikeout rate is cause for concern.

Chalk it up to a transition year if you will, but it is unlikely Mauer belongs in the conversation about the division’s best any longer.

Next: No. 3