What could the Minnesota Twins lineup look like in 2018?

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - AUGUST 08: Brian Dozier /
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2. 1B Joe Mauer

Of course, Joe Mauer stays in the two hole for Minnesota.

Whether you love him or hate him, Mauer is a good fit at no. 2 based on his on-base percentage. Among qualified batters, Mauer has led the Twins in on-base percentage since 2012. This is even the case during a rough stretch from 2014-16 that saw the first baseman hit .277, .265., and .261, respectively. On a positive note, he rebounded with a .305 average last year.

While he’s definitely underperformed since signing a massive eight-year, $184 million contract extension in 2010, the hometown product still gets on base better than most players in the league. As a result, he’s batted second more and more over the last couple of seasons after batting third for a majority of his career. Basically, this is the best spot for him as the power and RBI numbers just haven’t been there since his MVP year in 2009. In other words, he’s not an ideal fit as a no. 3 or 4 hitter where the primary expectation is for a player to drive in runs.

Ultimately, Mauer’s days at the top of the order are going to come to an end. After next season, his contract is up and he’ll be free to test free agency. Sure, he could re-sign and end his career with Minnesota, but it’d have to on an inexpensive contract. In addition, he’d have to be fine with a lesser role and losing his spot at the top of the lineup. In reality, the drop in the lineup could happen this season pending his performance and how well the promising young players do behind him.

Nevertheless, Mauer should keep his place as the no. 2 hitter when the 2018 season begins.