Sunday, May 31, 2009

Mauer Power

Now I remember why Joe Mauer was ranked so far ahead of other catchers entering this season.

Here's what the kid has done in May: Hit .414 with a .500 OBP and .838 slugging pct. (all tops in the majors) along with 11 homers and 32 RBIs. His previous season high for homers is 13, by the way.

Now, we all know Mauer can hit for average, and I expect him to continue to flirt with .400 for a while now before settling down into the .330 range. And we'll take that. But will the power surge continue? And where did it come from, anyway?

Even Mauer doesn't seem to know for sure, but the consensus explanation seems to be a great hitter is simply maturing and improving. Keep in mind Mauer just turned 26 last month and is only beginning to enter his power prime. While I don't expect him to keep going deep at this rate - which would put him at about, oh, 45 homers - I think it's perfectly reasonable for him to finish with a minimum of 20-25, which would be well more than anyone expected from him. As long as he can do that without his average suffering (hasn't been a problem so far), he'll easily finish the year as fantasy's top catcher - much to the dismay of those who reached for Brian McCann or Russell Martin on draft day.

Photo by The Associated Press

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