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My Take on the Buster Posey Situation

June 1, 2010

So yesterday, somebody’s head exploded from how the entire Buster Posey situation was handled. When I first heard the news, I had several things going through my head; I’ll go through what I was thinking and what I think now.

1. The fan inside me: I was excited, I’m sure almost all Giants fans were, especially the casual. This is the first legitimate hitting prospect we’ve had called up since Matt Williams – which everyone is well aware of – and the kid is more than ready to be a contributor at the major league level. It’s been well noted, and quite obvious in his first few games already, Posey already has the best approach of anyone on the major league club (sad, but still impressive). He’s already off to a nice start, 6 for 12 with a couple doubles (0-3 today against Ubaldo Jimenez). Sample size aside, it’s always good for a young player to get some confidence and comfort when he makes his debut. The fan inside me also wants to see Posey play the position he’s meant to play, and that’s where I get most upset about this entire ordeal.

2. Buster Posey is a Catcher: He is not a 1st basemen, a third basemen, or a bullpen catcher. I’ve always been frustrated with Sabean’s and Bochy’s attachment to veteran players like any other Giants fan, but this might be the worst case of it. Bengie Molina should no longer be a starting catcher on a team that has playoff aspirations. He’s a nice guy, and has done more than asked for this organization, but Giants management shouldn’t be making decisions based around Molina’s feelings. The priority of this organization should be on the young pitching that they have, and fully developing young players like Buster Posey. Now with Posey on the roster, there are about three players in the starting 8 that shouldn’t be where they are: Molina, Posey and Aubrey Huff. In an ideal situation, Posey is moved to catcher, Huff back to 1B, Andres Torres back to LF and Nate Schierholtz back into the lineup at RF. Let’s compare what those two combinations of players are expected to produce for the remainder of the season:

Player wRAA Fielding
Bengie Molina, C -2.1 -2
Buster Posey, 1B 8.6 0
Aubrey Huff, LF 7.3 -4
Andres Torres, RF 2.1 9

 

Player wRAA Fielding
Buster Posey, C 7.3 2
Aubrey huff, 1B 7.3 -1
Andres Torres, LF 2.1 9
Nate Schierholtz, RF 4.9 2

 

I really don’t have any data to project Posey at 1B and Huff in the OF, so I’m taking the safe bet with Posey and using Huff’s career UZR/150 in RF as a general estimate. I reduced Posey’s PA slightly if he were to become the starting catcher for expected days off. Anyways, the difference in production that would result from moving Posey to catcher and all the subsequent defensive adjustments would be approximately a 6 run increase in RS and a 9 run increase in run prevention; approximately a 1 to 2 win improvement over the current lineup. And that is very significant. You can make what you want about Bengie Molina’s gamecalling abilities, which I believe to be completely overrated, and if anything, my biased eyes tell me that Bengie doesn’t call that great of a game (or at least any better than the average catcher or what Buster Posey might possibly be able to do). Also, for what it’s worth, the difference between Posey playing 1B and catcher is about 8.5 runs (not accounting for the other positions affected).

3. The Giants continue to mismanage this team: Had Buster Posey not been called up last year and then we waited until the 5th of June, we easily avoid the Super Two status he is poised to receive. Bringing up Madison Bumgarner last year as well delays his Super Two cutoff, so hopefully we wait until his passes unlike Posey. So of the last big three prospects the Giants have called up, they’ve poorly handled all of them: Posey, Bumgarner and Lincecum a couple years ago. I really could expand on other issues such as the Ryan Garko, Freddy Sanchez, John Bowker, Nate Schierholtz situations of the last couple years, but those have been beaten to death. I, and I’m sure Giants fans everywhere, are wondering if Sabean and co. actually have a plan for this organization. But maybe we shouldn’t be too worried, because apparently Brian Sabean is a big boy.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. June 1, 2010 6:20 AM

    I agree with you on point number two. Molina isn’t a serviceable catcher anymore. Beyond the Box Score ranked him as the 74th best defensive catcher in the Major Leagues. 74th! Only Mike Napoli and Ryan Doumit were worse defensively. So…Molina isn’t good defensively and he can’t hit with any power anymore. Add that with a propensity to hack at everything and zero speed, and I just can’t see why the Giants are so “keen” on keeping him behind the plate. It just doesn’t make sense, especially when you have a guy like Posey that can replace him. Seriously, I know some Giants fans would be mad, but Sabes really should DFA or trade Molina. He’s only proving to be a logjam to this Giants roster.

    Oh and I totally agree with you on his “overrated” “game calling” abilities.

    • TheGig permalink*
      June 1, 2010 6:32 AM

      Yeah, really his assets in the past were his solid defense and his power. Both of those have gone out the window. He had appeared to be more patient at the beginning of the year but that’s gone out the window. He really is providing nothing whatsoever right now. If Sanchez really does want Whiteside to be his personal catcher, that’s all the more reason to keep him over Molina as well and for him to be Posey’s backup.

      • Mike from Belmont permalink
        June 2, 2010 1:20 AM

        I totally agree with you. Let’s get Posey behind the plate and Huff at 1st base. Molina can pinch hit and play once a week when Linscome is pitching.

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