Mauer Sidelined; Ramos Recalled

Joe Mauer owners received some bad news on Sunday, as Minnesota Twins manager Rod Gardenhire said that Mauer (bruised left heel) may be week-to-week as opposed to day-to-day. With Mauer ailing, the Twins summoned prospect Wilson Ramos from Triple-A Rochester.

Ramos, 22, signed out of Venezuela in 2004 and ranked as the second-best talent in the Minnesota system (per Baseball America and Marc Hulet) entering the season. BA also named Ramos as its Winter Player of the Year after he mashed as a member of the Tigres de Aragua.

The 6-0, 220 pound righty batter has a career .288/.336/.441 line in the minors, including a .317/.341/.454 triple-slash during a 2009 season spent mostly at Double-A. Ramos is very aggressive at the dish (career six percent walk rate), but he makes a good deal of contact and has some pop, as his 18.1 percent K rate and .153 ISO attest.

While Ramos seems capable of becoming a quality starting catcher in the majors one day, he has struggled to stay healthy: he broke the tip of his left middle finger and injured his hamstring last year, missing nearly three months total. Also, Ramos doesn’t have much experience in the upper levels of the minors. He took 214 trips to the plate at Double-A last year and was off to a slow start at Triple-A this season (.179/.214/.328 in 70 PA, with three walks and 15 punch outs). CHONE projected a .263/.303/.394 line prior to 2010, and ZiPS had a .256/.297/.369 forecast. Four-for-five start aside, Ramos might not hit the ground running.

Here are some other backstops with relatively low ownership rates who may be available in your league:

Mike Napoli, Angels (owned in 51% of Yahoo leagues)

Some fantasy players abandoned Napoli due to his anemic showing so far (.184/.298/.265, .271 wOBA). However, Jeff Mathis (fractured right wrist) is on the shelf and Bobby Wilson (concussion, ankle) got hit by a freight train named Teixeira. ZiPS projects a .356 rest-of-the-season wOBA for Napoli.

Chris Snyder, Diamondbacks (23%)

With Miguel Montero (left knee surgery) out, Snyder is getting the bulk of the starts behind the plate for the D-Backs. Snyder suffered a back injury and had some lousy luck on balls put in play in 2009 (.237 BABIP). In 2010, however, he’s off to a .262/.357/.508 (.373 wOBA) start. He is projected to post a .352 wOBA for the rest of the season.

Nick Hundley, Padres (6%)

Hundley has received 16 starts to Yorvit Torrealba‘s nine thus far, and he’s slashing .273/.365/.418 (.344 wOBA). Hundley won’t continue to boast a .350+ BABIP, so expect that average to drop. Even so, he hit a decent .238/.313/.406 in ’09 and possesses solid secondary skills for a catcher (career 8.3 BB% and a .147 ISO). ZiPS isn’t all that optimistic, though, with a .300 wOBA projected from here on out.



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A recent graduate of Duquesne University, David Golebiewski is a contributing writer for Fangraphs, The Pittsburgh Sports Report and Baseball Analytics. His work for Inside Edge Scouting Services has appeared on ESPN.com and Yahoo.com, and he was a fantasy baseball columnist for Rotoworld from 2009-2010. He recently contributed an article on Mike Stanton's slugging to The Hardball Times Annual 2012. Contact David at david.golebiewski@gmail.com and check out his work at Journalist For Hire.


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