Whether it’s hype from winning the AL MVP award, positional scarcity or overall dreaminess, Joe Mauer is currently overrated for fantasy baseball. For today’s quickfire challenge, I’m going to propose a comparison that will have you thinking I’m going full retard. Who’s better for your fantasy baseball team, Joe Mauer or Chris Iannetta? Last year, Joe Mauer was terrific. He made bacon say, “That’s delicious!” Slugging 28 homers while hitting .365, he also chucked in Jayson Werth-type Runs and RBIs (94 and 96, respectively). His RBIs were probably low for how productive he was. Blame the bottom of the Twins lineup and the 2 hole, where Brendan Harris saw 153 plate appearances and Orlando Cabrera had a .329 OBP. Enough of the glory days — Goodbye, aughts! Hello, 2010 fantasy baseball and, more importantly, what will Joe Mauer do next year in fantasy baseball?
For next year, we will give him an extra ten Runs and RBIs. Annoying nosism aside, that seems fair. I refuse to give Mauer anything higher than a .330 average for 2010. That’s still good; it’s around his norm. You start assuming people are going to hit .350, then you may as well also paint a female face on your knuckles. The 28 homers are the obvious outlier. In 2009, Mauer nearly doubled his career average for HR/FB. To quote Q-Bert, “@?&!$%.” Mauer had a HR/FB of 20.4, which had him sandwiched between Adam Dunn and Albert Pujols. Did Mauer hit any balls last year that didn’t go out of the park? I think he hits 18 to 20 homers and wouldn’t be surprised by 15 to 18. What some may find surprising is even if he repeats what he did last year, I don’t want him as my 1st or 2nd round pick. He’s a catcher dammit! He’s injury-prone and he plays a very demanding position. (Keep your arms inside the vehicle, we’re about to loop back around to our earlier comparison.) So is Joe Mauer better than Iannetta? Of course! But, in regards to fantasy baseball, by how much? If Iannetta (last year, 16 homers in 289 ABs) gets 400 ABs and hits around .260 with 20 homers, I’ll take that with my last pick of the draft every day and twice on Muesday while taking a big bat at a power position in the early rounds. Mauer helps in Runs and obviously kills Iannetta on average, but you only need around a .280 average for your fantasy team to be successful. You don’t have to turn your average to 11. Don’t get lost in Mauer’s eyes, he’s overrated for 2010 fantasy baseball.