Joe Mauer's 2011 season got off to a bad start early. He was suffering from leg problems that kept him out of the lineup most of the first half of the season. Fans and media asked why his legs were in pain and what exactly was the problem.
The Twins gave vague responses, and no one really knows why he suffered the injury right before the season got underway. Some speculated he was not in shape, and that was the true reason for his absence.
Mauer prides himself on being a blue-collar kind of player. A guy who outworks the next guy every day. The proverbial first guy there, last one to leave kind of thing.
Around Minneapolis, Mauer's popularity took a serious hit. Joe took these things personally a bit as well. He is from St. Paul, Minnesota, a working town if there ever was one. He does not want to be viewed as a lazy player; that's not his background.
Mauer has never looked better in a spring training than he did this year. He is swinging for opposite-field power again and is even turning on some balls. With Justin Morneau still suffering concussion-like symptoms, he will get some time at first base this year consistently. That will give his legs and knees a bit of a break.
Mauer is going late in fantasy drafts. If you can grab him after you've solidified a lineup, do so. He will hit over .325 this season and should be back around 90 RBI and possibly 20 HR.