2019 Projection: Buster Posey Isn’t Elite, But Just How Far Has He Fallen?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

Remember when Buster Posey was among the elite fantasy options?  Those days appear to be far behind him coming off what can only be described as a disappointing season:

398 At Bats
.284 Batting Average (113 Hits)
5 Home Runs
41 RBI
47 Runs
3 Stolen Bases
.359 On Base Percentage
.382 Slugging Percentage
.316 Batting Average on Balls in Play

Obviously injuries did play a role, but is that enough of an explanation as his power disappeared and his average wasn’t in the realm of what we’ve become accustomed (career .306 hitter)?  Let’s take a look and what happened and our expectations moving forward:

 

Power
Last year may have been the culmination of a five year downward trend.  While the actual total is partially due to the AB, it’s not like he was setting an electric pace when he was on the field.  Just look at his HR/FB over the past few seasons:

  • 2014 – 13.4%
  • 2015 – 11.0%
  • 2016 – 9.8%
  • 2017 – 8.4%
  • 2018 – 4.7%

He wasn’t racking up the doubles, with 22, though it’s interesting that he was far worse on the road (1.9% HR/FB) than at home (7.3%).  That could indicate at least improvement could come moving forward, though if he had hit 10 HR instead of 5 would we really be any more excited?

 

Average
A lot of his “issues” came from a lack of power, because his approach was as good as it’s always been (11.8% strikeout rate and 10.0% walk rate).  Posey actually posted a career best 36.3% Hard% and continued to use the entire field (28.0% Oppo%) as well, giving a sense of promise.

While he owns a career .324 BABIP, last season’s .316 is highly reasonable and believable.  Of course, at 32-years old, given the wear and tear a catcher endures and coming off hip surgery it’s also easy to imagine it regressing.

It’s not like Posey was ever a burner, but the hip could to slow him down even more.  You also have to wonder how it will impact him in general, potentially limiting his ability to hit the ball with authority and further dropping the expectations.

 

2019 Projection
.284 (128-450), 10 HR, 60 RBI, 55 R, 2 SB, .306 BABIP, .360 OBP, .411 SLG

As it is we don’t know for sure that Posey will be ready for the start of the season.  Couple that risk with the lack of power and speed and what exactly do you get?  Without those, returning to being a .300 hitters would appear to be nothing but a dream and without that he lacks any real appeal.  Given the position he’ll likely be a viable option (especially since he could see some AB at first base to help keep him in the lineup), but one of the elite he is not.  In fact you could easily argue that he’s “just another option” at this point.

Source – Fangraphs

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Make sure to check out all of our 2019 projections:

Player
Date Posted
Dylan Bundy10/22/18
Foltynewicz, Mike10/09/18
Gibson, Kyle10/29/18
Hoskins, Rhys10/16/18
Hosmer, Eric11/05/18
Wheeler, Zack10/02/18

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