Joe Mauer is the best catcher in fantasy baseball, but unlike my colleague I can’t recommend picking him.
Last year was Mauer’s ceiling, or at least a few inches from it. Nobody should have to tell you that paying for a career year is a bad investment.
To put it another way, it’s a bad risk. But the Cubs’ Geovany Soto is good risk.
Pick Mauer in round 1 or 2, he has to at least match 2009 to be worthy. There are a lot less risky picks — don’t kid yourself, every pick has some risk. That’s why we’re here — available in the first three rounds.
Soto is a 14th-rounder. So, if you’ve already built your core with the less risky outfield and second base types, Soto is merely a complement.
Now, if that complement churns out a bounce-back season he turns your playoff contender into a champion. That’s what a sleeper is, right? But this case is special.
At that magical age 27, Soto’s getting some projected 50/15/60/0/.270 lines. That’s why he’s going in the 14th round. Past performance indicates he is easily capable of 70/20/80/0/.285. Last year, he hit 11 homers despite missing 60 games.
Looking at his AAA numbers from 2007, a cup of coffee in the pros the same year and the potential Soto showed in his breakout 2008, it’s not difficult to stretch the potential to 80/25/100/0/.320. Those are Mauer 2010 projections, with a little less average and a little more power, by the way.
Nobody’s saying Soto’s going to do that. But he is worth more than he’s getting credit for and has shown the potential to reach those numbers.
I know you want a crib notes summary, so here you go:
- You draft Joe Mauer in round 1 you’re paying for 95/30/95/5/.365 and he could be a bit better, but could also drop 85/15/90/3/.330.
- You draft Geovany Soto in round 14, paying for 50/15/60/0/.270, meaning you’re paying for almost nothing, but your return could be 80/25/100/0/.320.
Is anybody else targeting Soto in 2010? Mauer? Let us know in the comments.