The 2017 version of Joe Mauer looks awfully familiar

Mauer is hitting .300, roping doubles and playing Gold Glove defense.

The Twins are playing meaningful games in September and a certain first baseman – who is never immune to criticism – is leading the way. 

Joe Mauer is batting .303, with an on base percentage of .383; while playing Gold Glove defense at first base.

Take away his slow start to the season and since May 1, Mauer is hitting .320 with 25 doubles and an OPS of .853. 

One myth about Mauer is that he "isn't clutch," which couldn't be further from the truth this year. The 34-year-old is hitting .321 with runners in scoring position this season. 

Those numbers look an awful lot like the old Mauer from 2006-13, before concussions slowed him down. 

During that eight-year stretch, Mauer was a career .327 hitting, averaged 40 doubles and had an OPS of .883. He also won three batting titles, three Gold Gloves and an MVP award in that time.

He comes into play on Monday, riding a 12-game hitting streak, collecting 21 hits over that time.

Next season will be the final year of Mauer's contract – yes, it's been eight years already – where he'll make $23 million.

Whether the Twins re-sign him after his contract expires remains to be seen, but Mauer's resurgence is a big reason Minnesota is back in the playoff hunt.

The Twins open a seven-game road trip in Tampa Bay starting on Monday.

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