Monday, March 22, 2010

Nice Guys Finish Last

The Twins may believe that Joe Mauer would be worth $184,000,000 over eight years, and if I was in their shoes, I probably would spend the money too. After all, even though Joe Mauer will be one of the highest-paid ballplayers in history at the age of 26, due to the incredible position scarcity as well as the fact that he hit .365 last year and has never hit below .293 make him the type of player that every organization would love to have behind the plate. Also, on top of that Mauer is a back to back Gold Glove winner, and, according to Baseball Reference, his stats echo those of Bill Dickey, Yogi Berra, and Tony Lazzeri at similar points during their careers. All of these aforementioned players, you baseball historians might note, were Hall of Famers. Granted, Mauer needs to keep up his numbers to make the Hall, but when your name is mentioned with any Hall of Famers, you don't complain. Also, if this would not be enough for any team to love him, you may recall that ESPN the Magazine article a few months ago where the author had attempted to gather autographs from all the major sports and only Joe Mauer replied with a handwritten personal note. Oh man, don't you hate it when a ballplayer seems to be a great person as well as a great ballplayer?

I think I have sufficiently explained why Joe Mauer would make my real-life ultimate dream team and why he is one of my favorite players. However, I think that everyone, myself included, need to properly value Mauer as we draft our fantasy team. Last year, he hit .365 with 28 home runs and 96 RBIs. By far, he was the best catcher in baseball. However, while a catcher is important, most of the time the catcher only contributes a small amount of the team's fantasy points anyway. Therefore, don't pass over guys like Prince Fielder, who hit .299 with 46 home runs and 141 RBIs, or Ryan Braun, who had 32 home runs and 20 stolen bases while batting .320 and driving in 114 runs. While there are fewer great offensive players behind the plate than there are at first base or in the outfield, fantasy baseball is driven by offense and the maximum possible output. Fielding and leadership, which I think are very valuable in a real-life player, do not matter in fantasy sports because really, how would you quantify them? Therefore, when you're drafting your fantasy team in the upcoming days, remember that if all you do is draft the nice guys without regard for their stats, you very well might finish in last.

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