Few athletes have had such a flawless start to their professional career as San Francisco Giants’ Buster Posey. The right-hander has been faced with what seems like dozens of different obstacles throughout his MLB journey and has always come out on the other end glistening. Posey’s worst season, however, came during the 2011 campaign in which he was limited to just 45 games due to one gruesome leg injury at home plate. Nevertheless he went on to win the NL Comeback Player of the Year award in 2012, further cementing the praises he was receiving as a budding superstar.
Posey, the 5th overall pick in 2008, is a top-notch catcher who has also proven to be a more than capable first baseman. It’s Posey’s wonderful batting ability that really sets him apart on the diamond. The 2012 NL MVP’s batting value is undeniably crucial to the defending World Series Champs, so much that they’ve opted to begin playing Posey at first base more and letting him catch less to preserve his bat long-term. Manager Bruce Bochy has inherited this tough task of finding that sweet spot of when to place Posey at first base, when to stick him behind the plate and when to give him the necessary rest, all while trying to optimize Posey’s batting abilities. Through 93 games this season, the three-time all-star is hitting a mere .313 as a catcher with a .458 SLG in 249 at-bats. It becomes clear why the Giants’ prefer Posey as a first baseman, as his percentages jump to a .363 average with .600 SLG in just 80 at-bats.
Graphic via bookofcool
Despite the Giants’ success as World Series Champions in three of the past four years, they have undoubtedly lost a lot of manpower in the form of Pablo Sandoval’s departure and injuries like that of Jake Peavy. This has led to an increase in importance for Posey, who is widely considered a top player in the league.
With multiple World Series titles comes colossal pressure and expectations to meet these demands, the Giants’ are going to need every bit of Posey, who signed a 9-year, $167 million extension in 2013. His play has left little to be desired thus far as he recently became the first Giants catcher in 112 years to hit a grand slam and steal a base. Entering Wednesday’s game, the Giants’ are a cool 55-44, placing a single game behind the Dodgers in the NL West. When it comes down to it, for the Giants to meet their lofty standard, they need Posey to at least be in the discussion for MVP once again.
Graphic via espn