Welcome back, Joe!

Joe Mauer has always been a solid fantasy catcher but his lack of power has always kept his value down.
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - For those of us who drafted Minnesota catcher Joe Mauer knowing full well that his back injury would keep him out for an extended period of time, the wait is over.

Joe is back!

And he returned in a "big" way, stepping up to the plate in the first inning on Friday night and blasting a two-out, home run to left center. He added a double and scored three times after missing the team's first 22 games (they went 11-11).

"He (Mauer) gets on base a lot, it's important him hitting before me," said Justin Morneau, who was the main offensive cog in keeping the team competitive in his absence. "He gets good at-bats and by the time I get up there the pitcher is worn down."

Mauer has always been a solid fantasy catcher, hitting for a high average, but his lack of power has always kept him value down. He has never hit more than 13 HRs, or knocked in more than 85 runs.

His Average Draft Position (ADP) wasn't effected by off-season kidney surgery or the back problems. In 2008, Mauer's ADP was 55 and he was the third catcher selected. In 2009, he again ranked third (behind Brian McCann and Russell Martin) and his ADP was 50.

What can we expect from Mauer the rest of the way?

Nothing should change. Batting third in front of Morneau, he'll continue to score runs and hit for a high average. But he's not suddenly going to become a 120-RBI guy, hit 25 homers or steal a lot of bases.

Joe Mauer Hitting Statistics
2004 MIN 107 18 33 6 7 1 0.308 0.570 0.939
2005 MIN 489 61 144 9 55 13 0.294 0.411 0.783
2006 MIN 521 86 181 13 84 8 0.347 0.507 0.936
2007 MIN 406 62 119 7 60 7 0.293 0.426 0.808
2008 MIN 536 98 176 9 85 1 0.328 0.451 0.864

Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Steve Schwarz at sschwarz@sportsnetwork.com.