Mauer, Morneau, Kubel Comprise One of MLB's Top Trios

Duane WinnCorrespondent IMay 22, 2009

NEW YORK - MAY 17:  Joe Mauer #7 of the Minnesota Twins bats against the New York Yankees on May 17, 2009 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City. The Yankees defeated the Twins 3-2 in ten innings.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau were quickly dubbed the "M & M Boys" when they reached the big leagues.

The moniker isn't new. It was first applied to Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris, who fired the public's imagination in 1961 by combining for 115 homers and 270 RBI.

The tag isn't entirely accurate, either. While Morneau has displayed decent power and an above-average ability to drive in runs, Mauer, until recently, has been primarily a line-drive hitter who has showed an uncanny ability to get on base and a propensity to hit for a high average.

Perhaps it's time, too, for the  wordsmiths who come up with those ingenious nicknames to coin another catchy phrase to accurately reflect the modern era "M & M Boys'" unique gifts and teammate Jason Kubel's contributions this season.

How about the "JJJ Trio?"

Or "Mauer, Morneau, Kubel, Unlimited?"

Mauer, who has already captured two batting titles, and Morneau, already the winner of an MVP award, are well on their way toward fulfilling the baseball stardom that was predicted for them. And they show no signs of letting up. 

Mauer is fashioning a season for the ages. He leads both leagues in home runs per at-bat (9.0), batting average (.417), slugging percentage (.819), on-base percentage (.500), and OPS (1.319).

He, along with Tampa Bay's Evan Longoria, Boston's Jason Bay, and Philadelphia's Raul Ibanez, are the only major leaguers who are averaging more than one RBI per game.

Morneau, if he is able to keep up his torrid pace (.327 BA, 12 HR, 33 RBI), is on track to hit more than 40 homers and drive in 120-130 runs.

Kubel's performance thus far this season resembles a revelation.

Selected by the Twins in the 12th round of the 2000 amateur draft, Kubel is batting .335, .061 points higher than his career average,  and he has five homers and 23 RBI.

Add them together and they comprise one of the most productive offense trios in the majors.

Collectively, the trio is hitting .350 with 25 homers and 80 RBI.

These numbers would be even higher if Mauer's hadn't missed the Twins' first 22 games due to a balky back and Kubel was able to nudge his average against left-handers above the Mendoza Line.

The best part is that Mauer, Morneau and Kubel are all in the 25-29 age bracket. This is considered prime time for MLB ballplayers, years in which many of them post their career-best marks.

This is definitely something for Twins fans to hold on to as the starting rotation and bullpen continues to struggle, and the lesser lights in Minnesota's lineup attempt to keep pace with the torrid trio.


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