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Good morning baseball fans!
Is Joe Mauer back? Our own Mike Bates explored.
This year, admittedly in a small sample, Mauer's struck out just four times in 53 plate appearances without compromising his walk rate. And every strikeout he converts into a ball in play, he raises the chance of him reaching base. He's still seeing 4.25 pitches per plate appearance, as well, good enough to rank in the top 25 in the Majors. The power still isn't there. But, really, the power never was. Mauer, even at his peak, was more of a 15 homer guy than a 25 homer guy, with the exception of one flukish season. Really, the guy we're seeing in 2016 looks like the vintage Joe Mauer.
It's unclear what's spurring the change. Again, it could be just that time has helped his brain to heal and for his recently-revealed double vision to correct itself. Perhaps the sunglasses he's started wearing at the plate on sunny days to reduce glare are helping. Or maybe this is just a random hot start. But Twins fans have waited for years to get this Joe Mauer back, and you can forgive them for hoping that he's gone from frustratingly unproductive back to being boringly excellent again. Based on how things have gone so far this year, they're going to need it.
Cuban second baseman Jose Miguel Fernandez will hold his first open showcase on May 3rd and 4th.
The latest edition of the Rosterbatorical was released yesterday, you can listen to that here.
St. Louis activated Ruben Tejada off the disabled-list, but his role with the Cardinals may have changed.
Daniel Murphy is finally breaking out, continuing his playoff hot streak.
Still, all this taken together makes Murphy look like a player who has unlocked some real upside between the 2015 and 2016 regular season. He is not who he has been for the last 100 PAs, but neither is he the player he was for the several thousand before that. A Daniel Murphy with this kind of control of the strike zone is one who can make the most of his limited offensive capability and force pitches to choose between walking him or throwing pitches where he can hit them. Again, there's no guarantee this is a real change, but based on how he's looked thus far, the Nationals' choice to spend mildly on Murphy might turn out very well.
Dave Cameron says Bryce Harper is catching up to Mike Trout.
Here is a roundup of news surrounding the American League East.
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Today in Baseball History: In 1997, the first major league game is played in Hawaii.