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Friday, September 24, 2010

The One Where I Gush About Buster Posey

It's no secret that we play favorites over here at Off Base and Buster Posey is easily one of our favorites. Derwood was turned on to Posey back when he was playing high school baseball in Georgia. I can't easily explain my fascination with him except he's really good at the baseball. He's so good in fact, I'm willing to overlook that his real first name is Gerald. Shame on you Posey parents, Gerald is a 60-year-old's name. The hot hitting catcher is on his way to taking the Giants to the playoffs whether the rest of the offense likes it or not. We'll have a vote for the BBA's regular season awards and, spoiler, our top pick will be Posey. The National League is loaded with potential superstar rookies but here's why we love San Fran's catcher...

1. He plays a premium position. Go look up how many franchise clean-up hitters were catchers. Go ahead, I'll wait. Also, I'm too lazy to do that research on my own. But I assume there aren't that many and Posey certainly looks like he's heading in the right direction.

2. Posey is hitting .323/.370/.524 with 16 home runs and gets very little help from the rest of his lineup as a 23-year-old. His main competition for NL ROY is Jason Heyward who, in 177 more plate appearances, is hitting .285/.400/.472 with 2 more homers while playing right field. That's basically a month worth of more service time. More on that later. Heyward probably deserves a little extra credit though because he's putting that line together as a 20-year-old.

3. Buster was temporarily and ludicrously blocked at catcher by Bengie Molina. The Giants eventually jettisoned Molina to clear the way for Posey behind the dish. I'd love to tell you that all of his receiving skills were vastly underrated but UZR doesn't work for catchers and I'm no scout. But it doesn't seem like the Giants will have to move him off of his position and he can't be any worse than Mike Piazza was, right?

4. What say you, nerdy stats? Heyward is out WAR-ing Posey 4.6-3.9 but, again, WAR is a counting stat so Heyward's extra playing time certain gives him a boost. Then there's the defense issue. UZR rates Heyward as an average right fielder while Posey takes a little hit from UZR for the time he played first base. So far, Posey appears to doing just fine in the catching categories that Fangraphs uses for WAR. Heyward is beating out Posey in wOBA too but just barely at .384 to .378. They're BABIPs are a wash, Posey .339 and Heyward .343. They're even deadlocked with 136 OPS+.

It's really close and both are going to be superstars along with Mike Stanton who might hit 40 home runs next year. There's plenty of time left to decide the ROY and both Posey and Hewyard are still in playoff races. I'm not sure how this evolved into a ROY post but at least all I'll have to do for my official ROY post is change around a few numbers. You're welcome, future me.

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