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2003 Minor League Player Of The Year


For more on Joe Mauer, subscribers can access Born to be a Twin -- our in-depth feature that will appear in the upcoming issue of Baseball America.

September 12, 2003

Previous Winners
1981Mike Marshall, 1b (Dodgers)
1982Ron Kittle, of (White Sox)
1983Dwight Gooden, rhp (Mets)
1984Mike Bielecki, rhp (Pirates)
1985Jose Canseco, of (Athletics)
1986Gregg Jefferies, ss (Mets)
1987Gregg Jefferies, ss (Mets)
1988Tom Gordon, rhp (Royals)
1989Sandy Alomar, c (Padres)
1990Frank Thomas, 1b (White Sox)
1991Derek Bell, of (Blue Jays)
1992Tim Salmon, of (Angels)
1993Manny Ramirez, of (Indians)
1994Derek Jeter, ss (Yankees)
1995Andruw Jones, of (Braves)
1996Andruw Jones, of (Braves)
1997Paul Konerko, 1b (Dodgers)
1998Eric Chavez, 3b (Athletics)
1999Rick Ankiel, lhp (Cardinals)
2000Jon Rauch, rhp (White Sox)
2001Josh Beckett, rhp (Marlins)
2002Rocco Baldelli, of (Devil Rays)
DURHAM, N.C.--Joe Mauer, who helped lead high Class A Fort Myers and Double-A New Britain to playoff appearances, is Baseball America's 2003 Minor League Player of the Year.

Mauer, 20, becomes the first Twins prospect to win the award, rewarding Minnesota for selecting the local product first overall in the 2001 draft out of Cretin-Derham Hall in nearby St. Paul.

"He doesn't have to improve any of his tools or skills to jump in and impact the game at the major league level," Twins scouting director Mike Radcliff said. "He's not a normal prospect. Improvement is a different word with a guy like that. He's good enough with his present abilities."

This season Mauer hit .339-5-85 between Fort Myers and New Britain, posting the highest average of any minor leaguer under 21 and the best of any minor league catcher. Managers voted Mauer the best defensive catcher in his league for the second straight year and he threw out better than 50 percent of basestealers.

Mauer helped Fort Myers to a 44-26 mark in the first half, as the Miracle earned the Florida State League's Western Division title while setting a franchise record for wins in a half. When the Twins promoted Mauer, along with righthanders J.D. Durbin and Jim Abbott, to New Britain, the Rock Cats were 25-37 and wallowing in the Northern Division cellar. They went 48-31 the rest of the way to earn a playoff berth.

Mauer is the 21st different player to win the award, which originated with Baseball America's inception in 1981. Of the 20 previous winners, all have played in the big leagues and 12 have been major league all-stars. Six have won rookie of the year awards, two have been MVPs and one has won the Cy Young Award.
The Joe Mauer File
Born: St. Paul, Minn., April 19, 1983. Home: St. Paul, Minn. Height: 6-4. Weight: 220. Bats-Throws: L-R.

Career Highlights: Player for Team USA junior squad in 1999 and 2000, and was MVP of the 2000 World Junior Championship, going 19-for-34 (.559) with 15 RBIs as U.S. won the silver medal . . . Led Cretin-Derham Hall to the Minnesota football title in 1999 after going to the semifinals in 1998, and then lost in the finals as a senior in 2000 . . . Threw for 3,022 yards, 41 touchdowns and five interceptions during his high school football career, choosing a scholarship to Florida State from a swell of other offers . . . Averaged more than 20 points a game for the high school basketball team, leading it to third place in the state . . . Selected by Twins first overall in the 2001 draft, then went 4-for-4 with a triple and two doubles that night as Cretin-Derham advanced to the state baseball tournament . . . Named Baseball America High School Player of the Year after hitting .625-14-48 as a senior at Cretin-Derham, and leading the team to a state title . . . Signed for a Twins-record $5.15 million bonus July 17, 2001 . . . Hit .400 in his pro debut for Rookie-level Elizabethton as managers rated him the Appalachian League’s best prospect . . . Began his three-year run as Twins top prospect, one that likely won’t end until he graduates to Minnesota . . . Voted best prospect and best defensive catcher by Midwest League managers after hitting .302 for low Class A Quad City in 2002 . . . Selected to the Futures Game and named the best prospect and defensive catcher by managers in both the Florida State and Eastern leagues at midseason.

 
Career Statistics

Year

Club (League)

Class

AVG

G

AB

R

H

2B

3B

HR

RBI

BB

SO

SB

SLG

OBP

2001

Elizabethton (Appalachian)

R

.400

32

110

14

44

6

2

0

14

19

10

4

.491

.492

2002

Quad City (Midwest)

A

.302

110

411

58

124

23

1

4

62

61

42

0

.392

.393

2003

Fort Myers (Florida State)

A

.335

62

233

25

78

13

1

1

44

24

24

3

.412

.395

New Britain (Eastern)

AA

.341

73

276

48

94

17

1

4

41

25

25

0

.453

.400

TOTALS

.330

277

1030

145

340

59

5

9

161

129

81

7

.423

.407

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