|Avoid Mauer in fantasy baseball|
Written by Tony Meale (Contact & Archive) on March 29, 2009
Over the last three seasons, Joe Mauer has had an average stat line of 82 runs scored, 10 homers, 76 RBI and five stolen bases.
While none of these numbers is all that impressive, what sets Mauer apart from other catchers is his batting average. Since 2006 - when Mauer won the American League batting title with a .347 average - he has hit .326. Yes, Mauer has the sweetest swing of any backstop in the bigs.
But even with his stellar BA, a strong case could be made that Mauer - like any other elite catcher - is overvalued in fantasy drafts every year. But the health concerns swirling around Mauer this offseason make him an ever greater fantasy reach (read: liability) in 2009.
Due to a bad back, Mauer will undoubtedly miss Opening Day, as the Twins are trying to determine if the timetable for his return should be measured in weeks or months. A report was released on March 26 declaring that Mauer walked two days in a row sans back pain. Call me pessimistic, but it's a bad sign when fans rejoice at a professional athlete's ability to walk without discomfort. Besides, walking without pain and playing without pain are two completely different things.
If Mauer were perfectly healthy, one would still have to debate the prudence of using a high draft pick on him; but now that his availability is in question, steer clear. Let someone else in your league sacrifice a high pick on him. After all, no fantasy owner wants to start the season waiting for the next injury report to be released.