2011 Projections, No. 31: Why Minnesota Twins’ Joe Mauer Doesn’t Need Power to Be The Top Fantasy Catcher
Our 2011 fantasy baseball projections will be released one-by-one until the top 100 players have been revealed. These rankings consider past achievements, current performance and expected future results based on standard 5×5 H2H settings.
Joe Mauer was perhaps the most discussed player among the fantasy baseball community at this time last year, coming off a season in which he blasted 28 HRs (after hitting just 29 HRs in his previous three seasons).
We predicted a regression in the power department, but Mauer failed to even live up to our conservative projections, as the Twins’ catcher reverted back to single-digit power last season.
While Mauer did play 22 games at DH in 2010 (allowing him to pick up some extra at-bats), he failed to dodge the injury bug again, missing several games last September with a knee injury. (Mauer did have minor surgery to fix the problem in December, and should be ready for spring training.)
So what should we expect from Mauer in 2011?
There are a few things we can assume. First, Mauer will post a batting average in the .330 range. Second, Mauer will play in about 140 games, collecting approximately 600 plate appearances (his opportunities to DH will be limited again after the Twins re-signed Jim Thome).
His power, however, remains a question. Everyone wants him to be the 28-HR guy he was in 2009. The reality is, however, you are what you are. In five full seasons (excluding 2009), Mauer has averaged just nine bombs per.
So why is Mauer ranked so high? Despite his below-average power, Mauer’s three-year batting average is a whopping 42 points higher than any other player at his position. While fantasy managers usually draft catchers hoping for anything but a negative effect, Mauer offers the complete opposite with his batting title-worthy average. Mauer’s uncanny ability to maintain such a high average aids his run-scoring and run-producing totals, therefore giving him a slight edge as the No. 1 catcher on our 2011 big board.
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Image courtesy of: Michael G. Baron
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