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4/19/1983 (33 y, 10 m)
2001 June Amateur Draft - Round: 1, Pick: 1, Overall: 1, Team: Minnesota Twins
$184M / 8 Years (2011 - 2018)
Mauer (quad) is in the lineup as the designated hitter Sunday against the Mariners, Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports. (9/25/2016)
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(Click Year to Expand /
Year in Review:
After missing the month of April with lower back pain, Mauer played MVP-level baseball for the rest of the season. His wOBA of .438 was second only to Albert Pujols, which, coming from the most demanding defensive position, is incredible. Mauer hit for power (his homers, slugging and ISO were all career highs), while at the same time taking more walks (76) than strikeouts (63) and hitting for a high average (.365 on the strength of a .377 BABIP). Mauer hit lots of line drives (22.6%) while hitting few infield flies (1.5%). Plus, he hit homers on 20.4% of his fly balls, after posting values 6.5%, 7.2%, 10.8%, and 8.7% in his first four full years. He led the league in average and led all catchers in homers and runs. There was nothing he didn’t do well at the plate.
The Year Ahead:
The reigning AL MVP goes into 2010 as the top catcher and probably, at worst, a late second-round pick. He has always hit for high average, so .330 is entirely reasonable. Mauer hits in the middle of the lineup and DHs often when not catching, so he should get lots of RBIs and runs. The only question is, "How much of the power he showed in 2009 was for real and will resurface in 2010?" He has never hit more than 13 homers, so his total of 28 last year was a major breakout. Still, a conservative estimate of 15 homers, coupled with his elite average and solid RBIs and runs at catcher, makes him one of the top-30 fantasy players. (Dave Allen)
If there is any downside to Joe Mauer it's that he just can't crack that 550 at-bat mark. He never has in his entire career. Then again, few catchers do. He actually led the majors in AB for a catcher in 2011 with 510, despite missing 25 days with various nagging injuries. That's what happens when you are good enough to DH on some days off. He led catchers in runs by 24 and finished just four behind the leader in RBI. And, of course, he led in batting average. There's a reason he's almost universally the first catcher off the board. With little having changed between 2010 and 2011 he should again rank among the best catchers. If he sees some of his 2009 power return, it could be a landslide. Joe Mauer is just that good. (Joe Pawlikowski)
The Quick Opinion:
Mauer represents the complete fantasy package at catcher, as he frequently leads the position in batting average and runs scored. If some of his 2009 power returns he could distance himself considerably from other catchers.
Joe Mauer's star has fallen far. He used to be considered a first or second round pick, and now he is lucky to be in the top 100 players taken. If he is healthy, he is one of the top catchers in the league. The problem is that he is rarely healthy. Usually, he at least put up decent stats even when hurt. That ended in 2011. In 333 plate appearances, he hit only three homers with a .287/.360/.368 slash line. His walk rate was a career low while is strikeout rate was nearly a career high. Mauer's power is on a downward trend since 2009. Stay away from him in 2012, unless it is late in the draft or his auction price is low. His stats could be anywhere between his 2009 season and nothing. People will probably overpay for him based on his 2009 season. There are better and safer options at catcher. (Jeff Zimmerman)
The Quick Opinion:
Be careful about overpaying for Mauer's declining health and production.
And that’s great news for fantasy owners; expanded position eligibility makes Mauer that much more valuable to most, depending on the amount of games your league needs to qualify at an additional position and the starting lineup your team needs to field. The Twins’ effort paid off as Mauer was indeed able to stay healthy and play in 147 games — the most of any season in his career. He triple slashed .319/.414/.446 with eight long balls, 81 runs scored, 85 RBIs and eight stolen bases en route to a five-win season. As previously noted, Mauer is unlikely to post the sexy home run totals he did in 2009, however, his ability to hit for average and create runs (140 wRC+ in 2012) make him an elite option at catcher — or wherever else you can plug him in — for the upcoming season. (Alan Harrison)
The Quick Opinion:
Joe Mauer is coming off of another stellar, albeit not sexy, season as the backstop of the Minnesota Twins. Backstop? Well, that sort of changed in 2012 as well, as the Twins’ began to give the three-time batting champ an opportunity to play first base and to be the designated hitter in an effort to preserve his health.
A concussion suffered while facing the Mets in August hastened the move to first faster than most would have expected, but Mauer should still be a reasonable fantasy asset as he shifts positions. The Twins brass -- specifically GM Terry Ryan -- don't necessarily expect Mauer to produce more power, but with legs that'll be fresher longer into the season, it's hard not to expect him to improve his extra-base hit volume. But even if Mauer only hits like he did as a catcher, take look at how his 2013 numbers would have fared among qualified first basemen: .324 batting average (first) .404 on-base percentage (second to Joey Votto) .476 slugging percentage (tenth, ahead of Adrian Gonzalez, Prince Fielder, and Mark Trumbo) .383 weighted on-base average (sixth, ahead of Brandon Belt, Brandon Moss, and Adam Lind) The only spot where Mauer would struggle is in 5x5 leagues, where his 11 home runs would have ranked dead last among qualified first sackers. It seems fair to believe his power will improve a bit, especially since his power is to the opposite field, which is much more accommodating at Target Field. Just for fun, take a look at what Mauer did to the opposite field last year: .482/.478/.857. That's flat out ridiculous. Draft Mauer confidently as the fourth or fifth first baseman off the board in most leagues, unless he has catcher eligibility for one more season. Then he's someone you can consider right after the Paul Goldschmidts and Chris Davises of the world. (Brandon Warne)
The Quick Opinion:
Mauer's position switch looks scary to fantasy owners on the surface, but fret not: he'll still be a viable fantasy resource no matter what his position eligibility is. Some regression -- on a positional basis -- should be expected at first base, but he's still a legitimate fantasy asset.
When the Twins announced Mauer would no longer catch after a concussion during the 2013 season, a couple of different schools of thought sprung forth. The first was that Mauer's value would take a big hit since he was no longer catching, specifically because he doesn't provide the kind of power most associate with a traditional first baseman. However, the positive assertion was that Mauer's legs would remain healthier, and that the trade-off for not catching anymore might be a little extra pop in his bat, and failing that, at least ~150 healthy games a year. Virtually none of that happened, as Mauer hit a decidedly un-Mauerlike .277/.361/.371. In fact, that is almost a carbon copy of his last injury-marred campaign in 2011, when he hit .287/.360/.368. He bounced back then, but he is now going to turn 32 this year, which may be a significant hindrance. Mauer hit just .271/.342/.353 through July 1, before an oblique strain put him on the shelf for 34 games. Upon his return, Mauer hit a much more Mauer-like .287/.397/.408, and walked 26 times against 32 strikeouts. That's very much like vintage Mauer. The oblique issue seemed to be suffered pretty much at the moment Mauer left the game on July 1 after hitting a double. If concussion issues were still hampering him early in the season, it is certainly possible that midseason break helped. Either way, Mauer should be undervalued in fantasy leagues this year. Don't bank on the full Mauer, but he should be a pretty useful player moving forward. (Brandon Warne)
The Quick Opinion:
Injuries and possible concussion hangover severely hampered Mauer's 2014 season. It would seem likely that he rebounds in some fashion in 2015, making him a decent stealth candidate.
It's been two seasons since Mauer was behind the plate, and any idea he could ever return to catcher eligibility is long since gone. So, too, is any idea he could return to being a top fantasy weapon. Mauer's stats were always good for the catcher position but, save for 2009, not of an across-the-board value. A .300 average and 10 homers is great from the C, but the bar is much, much higher at first base. With Mauer's average failing to hit that mark for a second consecutive season thanks to a multi year decline in batting average on balls in play, he's even further off the pace. That decline is in part due to hitting fewer ropes than in the past -- his hard hit and line drive percentages aren't nearly what they were at his peak -- and it's tough to peg a guy who will turn 33 early in the season to bounce back in those areas. His power and run production rebounded some in 2015 thanks to playing a career high 158 games, 11 more than he'd ever played before, and for the Twins, that durability is an important development. For fantasy owners who still remember Mauer's value fondly, it would be ill-advised to try to rediscover it. Mauer finished last season ranked 21st at a loaded position, and any injury relapses or further decline would push him even lower. (Blake Murphy)
The Quick Opinion:
Once a value-over-replacement stud, Mauer made the shift from catcher to first base to preserve his longevity. With that change went most of his fantasy value, as his power was never going to play there, and a two year decline in batted ball profile have hampered his best tool, batting average.
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Updated: Sunday, February 19, 2017 3:33 AM ET
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