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As a statistically-based individual, I realize that the run batted in is contingent on runners being on base in front of a hitter.
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While the Rays are some of the more forward-thinking teams when it comes to defensive positioning, other teams because to follow suit more often when facing Mauer.
In addition to the shifting, teams have tailored their approach to pitching him away more frequently, almost taunting him to play right into their hands. According to ESPN Stats & Info, between 20 Mauer had an .803 average on line drives to the outfield (.744 when going to left field).
This year that rate has tumbled to .579 (.450 when going the other way).
In this last series, the Texas Rangers tried the same positioning.
Prior to the beginning of last week’s West Coast road trip, Mauer had pulled 21.7% of the balls he put into play. The issue of pulling the ball more will not likely lead to more hits unless the opposition supplies him with pitches on the inner-half.