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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.

From Around The Web

  1. Simply Fred

    Simply Fred says:
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    Couldn’t agree with you more regarding Mauer as not worth the risk, especially at a 1st/2nd round level.

    Not sure about Ianetta compare: doesn’t Olivo’s signing marginalize Ianetta’s prospects?

  2. Big Mike says:
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    Yep. We’re back to Jim Tracy is an idiot for not just running Iannetta out there five out of every 7 games!

  3. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Simply Fred: I don’t think Olivo kills Iannetta’s value. But that story may not be told until April to see playing time. Either way, Iannetta’s name could be substituted out for other guys.

  4. Nate Marcum says:
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    I have seen Mauer drafted anywhere from 1.08 to 2.12 and couldn’t get my head around it. I even try and justify a keeper league situation where he might be in pinstripes in a bit, and I still don’t think it makes sense.

    I want to draft/keep Shoppach, but am not certain what his role his. Chone and Bill James seem to think he will split time, but what is the chance Navarro gets dealt? If Shoppach is the lone catcher in TB, does he hit 30 hr’s? I will take the .250-.260ba.

  5. Tony says:
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    TELL EM GREY!

    I swear i say things very similar to this to someone who has a JOE MAUER MAN CRUSH, and they just dont get it. I guess thats why i dominated my league last year. It only took me 9 years to win it, but hey if you’re in a good league you probably shouldn’t win it every yr!

    Mauer wont fall past the 2nd round in anyones draft on the planet, and therefore will not be on ONE of my fantasy teams. OH WELL.

  6. Simply Fred

    Simply Fred says:
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    @Grey: Gotcha, the point of emphasis wasn’t Ianetta, just that Mauer was an unecessary risk. Your highlight of Soto the other day seems a better substitute.

    I won’t be targeting Mauer. I was a supporter early on, but you convinced me! Thank you!

  7. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Nate Marcum: Navarro could move, but I think 30 HRs is a longshot for Shoppach. I’d put him down for around 20 homers give or take 3.

    @Tony: Yup.

    @Simply Fred: Cool… Yeah, Soto’s a nice pick later on as I said the other day.

  8. Tony says:
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    @Grey: love the calling of Mauer a Schmohawk too! Some people may riot if they stumble across this… LOL

  9. Steve says:
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    @Grey: And as well as setting and forgetting, catcher is a spot where you can ride the hot hand, no?
    Either way, you’re better off drafting a position other than catcher in the first two rounds.
    Btw, thanks for the content cavalcade!

  10. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Steve: Yeah, you do whatever you want at catcher. As long as you accumulate 15 homers, 50 Runs/RBIs and a .260 average by the end of the year, you’ll be fine.

  11. Big Mike says:
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    @Grey all this catcher talk brings up a good point. Who do you see at, say, .270 and 17HR from the position in 2010? Can’t be but a handful of them, right?

  12. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Big Mike: Depends on hand size. Probably about 10 guys.

  13. eltoo says:
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    @Grey: 1st, love the hand size response, 2nd, how far would Mauer have to drop for you to consider drafting him?

  14. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @eltoo: 3rd to 4th round.

  15. Tony says:
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    @Grey: which he’ll never fall that far… LOL

  16. big o says:
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    yep .
    mauer made bacon ,
    but , you sir , are the winner of this
    quick-fire challenge ,
    as the rules clearly stated
    pancetta .

  17. aj says:
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    Well, the obvious exception is in daily leagues, such as BaseballManager, where OBP matters. In my one such AL-only league, Mauer has been on the championship team two years in a row now. Even if he regresses, he provides daily production that few other players do, even at catcher (amazing.)

    Then there’s the positional strentgh strategy of management, where you want every position of your lineup to be as much above average as possible. I doubt there will be 10 .275/17HR catchers this year, as Grey predicts (although he is right more often than not.)

    In roto, point-accumulation (yawn) leagues, sure there are many means to the end of getting the avg and HRs you need that are less risky than drafting catchers. But in realistic daily lineup leagues, where you only start 9 players, Mauer gives you a huge leg up at an otherwise weak position.

  18. eltoo says:
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    i believe he’ll be back in the draft in my keeper league. 1st round is usually the equivalent of a 3-4th round of a normal draft. i will still probably try to channel razzball wisdom and pass on him.

  19. Cain Fan says:
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    at what point is a solid catcher worth taking over a last round pick. for instance is mccann worth grabbing if he’s around in the 8th round or should I punt? Just curious on your mindset.

  20. Big Mike says:
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    @Cain Fan: That’s kind where I was coming from with my question about how many .270/17 guys are there. I mean, would you rather have Mauer/Cuddyer or by settling for the .270/17 catcher get Feilder/Napoli?

  21. Dingo says:
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    That Q-Bert line might be my new favorite Razzball quote.

  22. The Dude says:
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    @Grey: I’m in full agreement on your Mauer analysis, but one thing you neglect to mention here is his AB’s. Unlike most catchers (all but V-Mart) Mauer gets at-bats even if he’s not behind the plate.

    That pays huge dividends in the long run. I still agree that he’s vastly overrated this season and wouldn’t touch him before the 5th (which means I won’t be touching him).

    Also, if you did happen to own him on a keeper league he’s a nice piece of trade bait. You could pull some 1st-2nd round talent for him pretty easily.

  23. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Tony: Exactly.

    @big o: That’s hilarious!

    @aj: Probably 7-10, but I did say about 10. I got an out!

    @eltoo: There ya go!

    @Cain Fan: McCann won’t be there in the 8th round, but if he were that’s worth taking him there.

    @Big Mike: Fielder/Napoli is better than Mauer/Cuddyer.

    @Dingo: Merci.

    @The Dude: Yeah, he gets more Runs than most and effects your average more.

  24. Chris says:
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    We’re trying this again? Apparently getting burned last year wasn’t enough?

    I would say “get worse” but you couldn’t possibly get worse. As someone who had Chris Iamnotastarta on his team for a large portion of 2009–and as someone who didn’t win his league partially because of it–I can assure you that Mauer is about 700 times better than him. He’s certainly worth a top 20 pick.

    Unless, of course, we stop counting runs, RBI, OPS and BA. If it’s a home run-only league, then, yeah, they’re about even.

  25. Stephen says:
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    Amen, my mustachioed master. Being from Minnesota, all the fan boy loving is worst than the Yankee hating on the upper east coast. Anyway I look at it, perception has inflated his value so far beyond reality that come spring, barring injuries, he may end up rising so far that by season’s end, there will be so much hindsight bias that Freud will return from his grave and analyze all of the owners of Mauer for sexual dysfunction.

  26. winthorp says:
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    disagree..screw the average and power bonus..take the automatic 100 extra counting stats and use it as a head bopper..required to have a catcher, and compared to Mauer, they all suck.

  27. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Chris: @winthorp: I was called names when I told people Hamilton wasn’t worth a 1st or 2nd round pick. We’ll see at the end of the year.

  28. Eddy says:
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    Grey, MLB.com came out with an article stating that the Rangers seem to be the best fit for Vlad right now and that their seriously interested
    in him. If they do indeed sign him, how does this affect Chris Davis?

  29. big o says:
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    @Grey:
    was one of those names “the little lord fauntleroy of fantasy baseball” ??

    ‘cuz if it was , i’m pretty sure that it wasn’t me who said it .
    i have my suspicions , though without substantiated proof ,
    i’ll reserve my accusations .

  30. big o says:
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    @Eddy:
    they may let davis pinch-run for vlad ,
    just so he’ll know what it feels like
    to run the bases .

  31. Jimmy D says:
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    I play in a yearly redraft league and our scoring is;

    H, R, HR, RBI, SB, AVG, OBP, SLG

    I’m thinking this might raise his value enough to be a 1st or 2nd round pick…?

  32. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Eddy: Davis is their 1st baseman.

    @big o: Huh?

    @Jimmy D: He’d be worth it in that league.

  33. Simply Fred

    Simply Fred says:
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    People, get over your love affair with last year’s career year. HR rate doubled–miniscule chance of repeating. It’s a demanding position that suffers a higher percentage of injuries. Guess what, in 2007 Mauer played in a grand total of 109 games–yes, he was injured. He can easily get injured again.

    You want solid, can’t-miss guys in the top rounds.

    Grey was 100%–yes, that’s 100%–on his ‘don’t buys’ last year (go ahead, look it up).

    Do YOURSELF a favor: LISTEN TO GREY on this one.

  34. big o says:
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    @Simply Fred:
    wow .
    you’re putting a lot of pressure on the guy .

  35. pwire says:
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    Grey,
    I have to admit, reading your website every day is something I look forward to do, even during the off-season. The Mauer post may be your best work yet. One, I couldn’t agree more. But it was the awesome 80’s reference of Q-Bert that forced me to laugh out loud and spit out my coffee. That was legendary…

    I’m attempting to wait patiently for your rankings but I am really wondering about these other players and their career years as well and If you think they can repeat: Ben Zobrist, Jason Bartlett, Sandoval, and Morales. I already am aware you support Lind. Thanks and keep the great writing going!

  36. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Simply Fred: Aw, you brought out the caps for me…

    @pwire: Thanks for the kind words! You’ll know all of those questions within a week.

  37. Big Mike says:
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    @Grey & @ pwire, I’ll add Javier Vazquez to the request list … can he repeat a career year? Would he have if he remained in Atlanta?

  38. @Big Mike says:
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    I’m sure Grey will tell you his stock goes down. Hitter’s park and the move will drive up the hype, but expect worse. It will be difficult to draft him because you are going to have to reach to get him.

  39. Tony says:
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    Mauer is going to disappoint alot of you in 2009. Hopefully you’re taking the advice you’re reading. If not your man crush love for Mauer is going to blind you and you’re going to miss out on the players that are going to win you a championship.

    Mauer and Crawford are in my eyes two of the most overrated guys this year. I’m stearing clear!

  40. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Big Mike: Actually went over Javy when he was traded to the Yanks. Search for Vazquez on the site.

  41. I still have not recovered from Jeff Clement – Huge 2009 fantasy sleeper right here last year :)

  42. it was not that bad as I found fantasy gold in Brandon Inge last year – Jeff Clement made that move possible so somehow even when things don’t work out with your insight – they somehow still do

  43. royce! says:
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    Mauer’s 2009 ranking in a 5x% world: 13. Mauer’s ADP on mockdraftcentral: 13. It clearly seems that despite the predictions that his HR and avg will decline (Bill James, CHONE, here), many people expect him to replicate his 2009.

    I for one will be avoiding him in the first 2 rounds mostly due to injury risks. I know from experience that back problems never disappear. Also, although it was a while ago, he has already had one knee surgery, and, again from experience, when I was rehabbing from the same surgery my physical therapist told me that many people get meniscus surgery and return to their regular routines, only to have to get another a few years down the road, until having to replace the knee.

    Ianetta, on the other hand, has been on the 15-day DL once, I think.

  44. royce! says:
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    oops, 5×5, not 5x%

  45. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @royce!: Well said. Now what’s this 5x% business? Joking.

  46. royce! says:
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    @Grey: An excerpt from your Q*bert quote?

    While I may grab Iannetta late, I think that I’ll avoid combining him with Uggla and Pena this year. Yeesh.

  47. GopherDay says:
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    Chapman signs with Reds.

  48. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @GopherDay: Yeah, saw that. Thanks for the heads up though.

  49. Eddy says:
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    @Grey:
    does the aforementioned deal warrant any second looks in terms of fantasy value?

  50. peter says:
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    I can’t wait until tomorrow… Who says Christmas is 12/25? Jesus’ birthday is whatever day Razzball pre-season player rankings start to arrive. Or, since they are posted slowly, maybe more like the first night of Hanukkah.

  51. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Eddy: I’ll have to go over him and Vlad in a post.

  52. AL KOHOLIC says:
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    @peter: thats a grey teaser

  53. big o says:
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    @Grey:
    heath bell rumored to the cubs ??
    marmol perplexed .

  54. Catcher position is always a mid-to-late round position for me. There are so many other positions of importance & if I completely whiff on catchers one can usually be had via trade.

  55. Tim says:
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    I guess I’ll be in the minority here, but I can absolutely see Mauer as a mid-2nd round pick.

    1st: He plays at a position where there is a severe drop-off in stats after the top 3 (McCann and VMart), much the same reasoning behind Utley as a 1st rounder…

    2nd: He’s entering his prime and is healthy….

    3rd: He could be a huge boon depending on the type of league. If you’re in an OPS or H2H, you are helped immensely by his OBP/BA and games played at DH. If you go week to week, the fact he’ll be playing around 6 games a week helps over the guy who has his catcher going 4 or so games.

    I grant that the likelihood of seeing around 30 HR again isn’t very high, but that can be offset by the other picks you make (for example, drafting C. Pena or Dunn type later). At that point, you have a C / Utility combo (allowing you to pick that power Utility guy much later) averaging around 30 HR, 100 RBI and hitting .290/.300. Sounds pretty sweet to me. It would be difficult to find those averages combining any other C and mid-round pick.

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