Fantasy Baseball 2014: Joe Mauer’s Value Increases with Move to First Base
The Minnesota Twins made a big move in the offseason and it wasn’t a big free-agent signing. The Twins announced that catcher Joe Mauer will be moving to first base full time in 2014. Mauer holds the highest career batting average as a catcher (.328), highest single-season average by a catcher (.365 in 2009) and earned three batting titles. However, there are bigger things to come with the move to first base.
With 75 games played behind the plate in 2013, Mauer will still have catcher eligibility this season. So, the odds of having two top-10 catchers are high. If you play in a keeper/dynasty league, make sure you have another catcher because he’ll most likely lose that eligibility for the 2015 season.
The move to first base will keep Mauer healthier for the rest of his career. He missed 39 games last season due to a concussion. A healthier Mauer will lead to more plate appearances, which leads to a chance at a high average and more power numbers. According to Tristan H. Cockcroft, first basemen average 39 more plate appearances than catchers.
Mauer will see somewhere close to 675 plate appearances, compared to the 534 average PAs from 2009-2013. That big of an increase can only help Mauer raise his home run and RBI totals. Speaking of RBIs, Mauer has not eclipsed 100 RBIs once throughout his 10-year career.
Heading into the 2014 season, Mauer cannot be drafted as a first basemen because he only played the position in eight games. He is currently ranked as the No. 3 best catcher and 62nd overall. Because of the lack of depth at the catcher position, Mauer should be taken among the first 30 players.
He wouldn’t be your No. 1 first basemen, but is a top-three catcher for one final year.