It's been a tough year-and-a-half for Joe Mauer since he made the move from behind the plate to first base.
Mauer hit just .277 last year with four home runs in 120 games, while his strikeouts reached a career high 96. Things started out slowly again in 2015, as Mauer's averaged briefly dipped below .250. But now there are signs things are starting to go move in a positive direction.
ESPN 1500 writer Derek Wetmore notes that since June 20 Mauer has started surging.
"Even if you don't hear that much about him with his overall numbers – average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage – looking low for his standard. Mauer went 0-for-4 in a game against the Cubs on June 20. Since then Mauer is hitting .379/.422/.517 entering Wednesday's finale. He's hitting balls hard to the opposite field and also pulling pitches on occasion."
CBS Sports says he is now hitting .400 in July and has had two or more hits in five of Minnesota's last eight games.
But there has been one other aspect about Mauer's hot streak – the power.
[mlbvideo id="228056683" width="480" height="270" /]
Mauer homered again on Wednesday – his fourth homer in his last 21 games and his sixth of the season. That's more home runs than he hit all last year.
Wetmore notes that Mauer's emergence – along with the arrival of Miguel Sano – could be a big boost for the Twins offense, which slumped in June.