Today I'm going to make an exception. With all the hoopla surrounding Buster Posey, and after Brian Sabean's ridiculous comments, I thought I'd follow my last post with a couple of statements. So I'll try to brush away my knowledge of Posey as an affable, well-liked guy, and strictly look at his baseball skills.
Buster Posey can play in the big leagues--right now.
Now, before you go too crazy, read on.
Buster Posey should not be playing in the big leagues--at least not right now.
On the surface, they're two completely contradictory statements, but they're more compatible than they seem. Let's take a look at the first.
We all know Posey's bat is glowing like Frodo's Sting Sword down in Triple-A. But since numbers such as .346 BA and .549 slugging don't matter (according to Sabean), we have to throw those numbers out.
As I look at Posey's swing, I'm confident it will play in the big leagues. I don't think fans should expect Fresno-type of numbers there, as yes, the pitching is better in the big leagues and the two parks are DRAMATICALLY different. But you can expect a lot of doubles in the gaps and a more than respectable batting average from him during the first couple of years.
As for his defense, his blocking is fine and his arm is very good. The release is quick, the strength is there, and the accuracy is solid. (Hopefully he avoids the Saltalamacchia yips.) He will do fine in the running game.
His glove and the "ability to call the game" are the two traditional knocks on him. Having thrown to him, I can say that his hands are great. He's only been catching a couple of years, and so the experience with catching pitches with movement still needs to come, but the hands are there. They will continue to develop.
I thought he called the game adequately. He's a smart guy, and there is a solid thought process to his game-calling. Of course, this improves with experience as well. Just don't expect him to be Bengie Molina upon arrival.
So, all in all, I have no problem saying Posey can play in the big leagues right now. He may not be an All-Star catcher yet, but he could more than hold his own.
Now, statement #2.
Just because he could hold his own doesn't mean that he should be in the big leagues right now. The main reason is because he's not really needed. Molina is hitting .330. Whiteside is hitting .324 as a backup. Both are very, very good defensive catchers.
"So he could play first base," some people say.
I don't like this idea at all. The production out of Posey's bat won't be as impressive as a first baseman. It will play much, much, much better as a catcher.
His catching skills need to continue to develop. Yes, I thought his hands were wonderful and his game-calling was adequate, but I'm not Tim Lincecum or Matt Cain. Far from it. It's a lot easier to catch my crappy fastball than some of the best fastballs in the game.
Some might say there's no better learning experience than actually doing it. You might as well just throw him in the big leagues and let him catch those guys. But again, there's no need for catching right now. The pragmatic move is to allow his glove to continue to develop in Triple-A, where, believe it or not, he's still catching some pretty darn good pitchers.
So, yes, he can do it. But no, he shouldn't be doing it.
Hopefully that makes sense. Go ahead and scream at me if you'd like.