Thursday, March 12, 2009

Sleeper Alert: Joe Mather

posted by Jon Williams

The St. Louis Cardinals have sent both David Freese and Brett Wallace (their two best third base prospects) to minor league camp. This leaves Joe Mather, a converted outfielder, as the favorite to begin the season at third base. As I am certain most of you realize that the Cardinals expected third baseman, Troy Glaus, will begin the season on the disabled list and miss at least the first month of the season recovering from shoulder surgery. This will be the winner's chance to shine in the eyes of Tony LaRussa who already seems to have a slight man-crush on Mather.

"But", you might say. It will only be for a month or so and then Glaus will be back and our man will be out of a job. "Well", I would answer, "not exactly."

If Joe Mather impresses Tony LaRussa (and I obviously believe that he will), he is very likely to favor him coming off the bench as an extra infielder and outfielder. This is easily a recipe for finding 350-400 at-bats. I also happen to think Mather is a 30-plus homerun hitter waiting to break out.

Mather was drafted in the third round out of Mountain Pointe high school in Phoenix, Arizona - as a shortstop. He spent way too long in short season leagues and did not develop as quickly as the cards would have liked. But for two years he has been solid (if a little old in AA and AAA). He did not embarass himself in short stents in the major leagues either.

The best news for fantasy owners is that you're likely to get him for just a few bucks in even the deepest leagues. The Cardinals have another guy who began his major league career playing out of position as a temporary replacement for a more established but injury prone player. Damn, I wonder who that was???

Season Team AB PA 2B HR R RBI BB SO SB CS AVG wOBA
Total - - - 133 147 7 8 20 18 12 32 1 0 0.241 0.335
2006 Cardinals (A+) 432 482 33 15 63 71 36 89 9 0 0.266 0.359
2007 Cardinals (AA) 234 272 17 18 48 46 29 32 4 0 0.303 0.426
2007 Cardinals (AAA) 249 283 10 12 30 29 22 51 5 0 0.237 0.337
2008 Cardinals (AAA) 211 254 14 17 45 41 32 36 7 2 0.303 0.44
2008 Cardinals 133 147 7 8 20 18 12 32 1 0 0.241 0.335
2009 Bill James 162
9 10 26 24 17 28 3 1 0.253 0.354
2009 CHONE 415
22 19 63 61 41 88 6 2 0.253 0.343
2009 Marcel 245 274 13 10 35 33 24 51 3 1 0.261 0.334
2009 Oliver 360 401 22 19

30 77

0.253 0.343
2009 ZiPS 428
22 18 53 63 34 79 7 1 0.243 0.325
More on Joe Mather:

Sportsnet.com Scouting Report
Future RedBirds Profile
FanGraphs.com Statistics Page
The Baseball Cube Report
WikiPedia Page



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