Who knows how his knee will respond, this coming season, or for the rest of his career. Hopefully he can still play catcher. I've read that his knee is responding well, and I've also read that he might require further surgery this offseason. Maybe he catches next season, maybe he plays third base.
I do know, that during his limited action, Mauer flashed his amazing upside. If you expand his 2004 totals to 162 games, which I think is fair for this kind of experiment because while catchers don't play 162 games, it would only give him 495 AB, his numbers would look like:
83 R, 37 2B, 28 HR, 79 RBI, .308 AVG, .369 OBP, .570 SLG
The .570 SLG is especially impressive, because the big fantasy knock on Mauer coming into the season is that he wouldn't develop any semblance of power for a few years according to some, or ever, according to a few.
Further dewling in the hypothetical, if Mauer stays healthy, I'd expect the rate at which he scores runs and drives them in would increase, because he'll bat in the heart of the Twins order in 2005.
Catchers with knee injuries are a very scary thing, but based on his limited 2004 performance, I think his upside is higher than previously expected. It's clear that Mauer, with his great talent, batting eye, and 6'4" 220 pound frame is going to hit for some power.
Anyone have any expectations/predictions for Mauer's 2005 season? How soon would you gamble on his upside in your draft? Keeper or redraft?