Buster Posey is having a tremendous season. No one is going to argue that, but can we really expect him to maintain his current pace? He is currently .327 with 19 HR, 77 RBI and 56 R. While he does get the advantage of playing first base on occasion, those are still lofty numbers for a catcher.
The real question is if his .354 BABIP or 20.2% HR/FB can be maintained? Historically, I have a hard time believing it.
I know people will want to point to Alex Avila’s 2011 campaign (.366 BABIP), but that is the exception not the rule. Joe Mauer and Jose Posada are the only other two catchers to qualify for a batting title to post a mark of at least .350 since 2005. That’s not to say it is impossible, but catchers take a lot of wear and tear throughout a full season. In other words, it wouldn’t be surprising to see him regress, despite his 23.2% line drive rate.
As for the home runs, the HR/FB is a bigger number then he has shown in the past. However, he was at 15.2% in 406 AB in 2010 so it is hard to call it impossible. At the same time, his split is important.
Thus far he has hit 14 HR on the road, courtesy of a 26.9% HR/FB. Can we really expect him to maintain that type of pace? At home he has hit 5 HR, which isn’t surprising as the ballpark is not all that conducive for home runs (outside of Barry Bonds of course).
In other words there is reason to believe that his power could ultimately start to suffer as the season progresses as well.
So what is the moral of this story? Am I suggesting that you should bench Posey? Of course not, as he has proven that he is one of the elite performers behind the plate. Just go into your stretch drive with your eyes open. Don’t be surprised of the Giants start playing him at first a little more often (although a hot stretch from Brandon Belt could curtail that option a little bit) in an effort to keep him fresh. It’s important, but it is not the sole solution.
The bottom line is that you should enjoy his 2012 campaign, just don’t be surprised if his production pales in comparison per the final few weeks of the season. As for 2013, it’s hard to imagine him matching the production he has shown this season.
What are your thoughts of Posey? Do you think he can continue to hit at this pace? Why or why not?