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  • bo4726 bo4726 Feb 19, 2010 9:09 AM Flag

    Joe Mauer

    After last season it has become apparent that many of you think Joe Mauer is the greatest player ever, we will call it Brady Anderson Syndrome (or BAS). This is a detailed argument to why he is not the greatest, should not be taken in the first two rounds and probably the first three, and why he will not repeat last year’s numbers. Keep in mind that this is not an argument stating that Mauer is a bad player. He is a great player and on his way to a Hall of Fame career.

    First, Mauer’s BAbip jumped 30 points over his career average to .373. Now the best players tend to have BAbips higher than luck neutral but not that much higher and they tend to be consistent with it. This means we can expect a BAbip around .335 from Mauer which means that AVG and OBP are going to drop quite a bit (expect .310AVG .390OBP). The next thing is his hot start which really inflated his numbers. In May he had 11 HR (over a 1/3 of his season total) a .414AVg and 32 RBI with a .400BAbip, that is A LOT of luck right there. A lot less balls falling in for hits and less time spent on base means a decent reduction in runs scored and runs batted in.

    Second, the power fluke that no one saw coming, not even Mauer. He had one less HR last year than the previous 3 years combined, that screams fluke. His HR/FB rate TRIPLED which is almost a guarantee that it will go down by a large margin. Don’t bother trying to argue the lame classics of “he found his power” or “figured it out”. No one has every sustained those kinds of marginal increases in decades worth of baseball statistics.

    Third, there is also the injury concern. Mauer has constant back problems and plays the most physically demanding position in sports. There is also the park factor. The Twins are moving to a new outdoor field which means that Mauer will have to catch games in cold weather at the start of the year and end of the year. Their park is also expected to be rated pitcher friendly.
    Fourth, with your first few picks you should always be targeting hitters who are as close to sure things as possible. No catcher will ever qualify for this because of the nature of their position. It is too demanding on the body and limits the ABs they get. Catchers are also the second most likely position to get an injury that results in missed time after pitchers. They are too big of a risk to take with a first or second round draft pick.
    Fifth, because of BAS Mauer is being way overvalued this year and thus it makes the rest of the catchers relatively cheaper. There are two very good catchers who I would put on the exact same level as Mauer in fantasy (Brain McCann and Victor Martinez) and one catcher that is on his way (Matt Wieters). Mauer broke 20 HR and 90RBI for the first time in his career last year, McCann has already done it 3 times. BTW, McCann is also a year younger than Mauer. McCann still gives you a .293 career average to go with that LEGIT power. McCann’s 2006 season line looked like this; 61R 24HR 93RBI .333AVG, at 22 years old. He is more than capable at outproducing Mauer in every stat. V-Mart has broken 20 HR 4 times and 90 RBI 4 times (including 3 seasons of at least 108 RBI) and will give you a .299 career average. Moreover, V-Mart was an absolute stud after getting traded to Boston last year. He posted 32R 8HR 41RBI .366AVG .405OBP in just 211 Abs.
    I just saw someone make the position scarcity argument with Utley and drafting in the first round. Last year Utley was the #21 ranked player overall and the #13 ranked hitter overall. In 2008 Utley was the #16 ranked player overall and the #12 ranked hitter overall. In 2007 he was in the top 20 overall again and in 2006 he was in the top ten in both categories. Utley should be drafted in the first round because he puts up first round caliber numbers every year, you should consider him a top 5 pick because he puts up those numbers at 2B.

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