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Why Joe Mauer Can Win the Batting Title: Analyzing the AL's Top 5 Hitters

Matt LindholmContributor IIOctober 14, 2016

Why Joe Mauer Can Win the Batting Title: Analyzing the AL's Top 5 Hitters

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    With fewer than 20 games left in the Minnesota Twins' 2012 season, Joe Mauer is ranked fourth in the AL batting race and nine points behind the first-place Mike Trout.

    Despite this slightly overwhelming gap this late in the season, Mauer should not be counted out as the 2012 AL batting champion.

    This article examines current statistical trends of the AL's top five hitters to determine Mauer's favorable odds in winning the batting title for the fourth time in seven seasons.

5. Adrian Beltre

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    Current BA: .316

    BA in September: .324

    BAA Remaining Opponents: .262

    Outlook:

    The slugging third baseman has consistently been hitting above .300 for most of the 2012 season.  Since the All-Star break, Beltre's batting average has peaked at .327 and dipped to .300.  During the month of September, Beltre has hit a sturdy .324.  However, he's hit .262 against the remaining opponents that the Rangers will face this season.

    Beltre never finished higher than fourth for the batting title race.  Can Mauer still hold him off?

4. Joe Mauer

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    Current BA: .319

    BA in September: .419

    BAA Remaining Opponents: .337

    Outlook:

    The star catcher has not hit below .300 since June.  Since then, Mauer's batting average peaked at .334 and has gone as low as .309.  After a 4-for-29 skid in late August, Mauer's bat has made a strong resurgence in September, going 7-for-19 in the last four games.  

    Currently, his .419 average in September leads the AL's top hitters.  Mauer has also hit an impressive .337 against remaining opponents this season.

    Could the three-time batting champion pull it off this season?  His numbers are definitely in his favor.

3. Derek Jeter

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    Current BA: .324

    BA in September: .378

    BAA Remaining Opponents: .316

    Outlook:

    The legendary shortstop has experienced solid hitting for most of the season.  Despite going 10-for-52 in late June to early July, Jeter's average bounced back and has remained above .300 since then.  As a result of this recovery, Jeter is hitting an impressive .378 in September.  The captain of the Yankees also hits a solid .316 against the team's remaining opponents.

    With his current batting average and a favorable schedule, the 38-year-old Jeter probably has the best chance to keep Mauer from being the batting champ.

    Can Mauer surpass Mr. November?

2. Miguel Cabrera

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    Current BA: .326

    BA in September: .276

    BAA Remaining Opponents: .362

    Outlook:

    The power-hitting third baseman has consistently been hitting .325 to .330 since July.  Since then, Cabrera's average peaked at .332 and dipped to .322.  

    So far in September, Cabrera has hit just .276, notably going 2-for-13 in his last four games.  On the other hand, Cabrera has hit .362 this season against the Tigers' remaining opponents.

    The 2011 AL batting champ has been struggling as of late.  Mauer can pass him.

1. Mike Trout

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    Current BA: .328

    BA in September: .250

    BAA Remaining Opponents: .302

    Outlook:

    Mike Trout has been something of a phenomenon this season.  While he leads all rookies in most offensive stat columns, he also finds himself in first place for batting average, stolen bases and runs amongst all MLB players.  Trout is a definite shoo-in for AL Rookie of the Year, but is the AL batting title certain to be his?

    Since his average hit .345 on August 23, Trout has gone 15-for-67, hitting just .224. Another statistic going against him, Trout has batted .302 against the Angels' remaining opponents.  Of course, .302 is a good batting average, but it will not be enough to hold off the rest of the field.

    A nine-point gap does not sound so bad for Mauer anymore.  He can do this.

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