Will Buster Posey Have Value If He Wins A Roster Spot?

With Buster Posey remaining in Giants camp, the idea of him actually opening the season on the Major League roster is becoming more of a reality.  Does it make sense to have one of your premier prospects simply watching from the sidelines instead of getting at bats at Triple-A?  Not in the slightest, but that’s not what we’re here to discuss.

There is the potential that he plays two-to-three times per week, seeing time both behind the plate (spelling Bengie Molina) and at first base (spelling Aubrey Huff).  If he does stick, there’s potential that he starts stealing more and more at bats, meaning he could emerge as a solid option in all formats.  Let’s take a look at what he may bring to the table:

What you need to know:

  • Baseball America ranked the 23-year old as the Giants #1 prospect heading into 2010 (as well as the best hitter for average, best strike-zone discipline and best defensive catcher in the team’s minor league system).  Additionally, Baseball America ranked him as the #7 prospect overall, while mlb.com ranked him at #4.  On the Rotoprofessor Top 50 prospect list for 2010 (click here to view), he was at #18.
  • He was the Giants first round pick (fifth overall) in the 2008 draft.
  • Posey opened his college career at shortstop, but moved to catcher in his sophomore year.
  • He spent time at Single-A (.326 in 291 AB), Triple-A (.321 in 131 AB) and the Major Leagues (.118 in 17 AB) in 2009.
  • The minor league averages are believable, thanks to a great eye at the plate.  Granted, his .349 BABIP at both Single and Triple-A may be a bit inflated.  Still, showing walk rates of 13.0% and 11.3%, respectively, shows how patient he is.  If he can reduce the strikeout rates (or at least maintain them, as he was at 15.5% and 17.6%), the idea of him hitting around .300 should not be unthinkable.
  • The power is the bigger question at this point.  While he had 18 HR in 422 minor league AB, the fly ball rate just doesn’t scream power surge.  In his minor league appearances, his rate was just 29.2%.  That would require a huge HR/FB to allow him to grow in the home run department.
  • With that said, he did have 31 doubles, so there’s hope that he could take a step forward.  Still, I wouldn’t expect it to happen all at once, if at all.
  • Baseball America said, “Posey draws legitimate comparisons to Joe Mauer. He’s a pure hitter with terrific strike-zone awareness, and his clean, unfettered swing allows him to drive pitches from pole to pole.”
  • He stole six bases at Single-A, showing that his speed is above average for a catcher, though far from elite.  Don’t look for him to be a huge contributor in this regard, even if he does find regular at bats.

The bottom line is that Posey is an elite hitter for average, if nothing else.  He’s likely to hit near the bottom of the order, maybe #6 or 7, meaning there will be RBI opportunities for him as well.  If he were to receive regular playing time, he’d instantly become a must use option in all two-catcher formats thanks to his average alone.  He’d likely be a 12-15 HR option and he may even sprinkle in a few stolen bases.  What’s not to like about that?

Even if he makes the roster, he’s not going to get regular at bats right from the start.  The veterans are going to get their chance, which means he’s the optimal player to stash and see what happens in all formats.  In NL-only and 2-catcher formats, even in limited at bats, he could prove valuable.  In shallower formats, he’s not going to have value unless he earns regular at bats, so just keep him protected and see how things play out.

What are your thoughts on Posey?  Would he be usable immediately in two-catcher formats?  How good could he be?

If you would like to see a free preview of the Rotoprofessor 2010 Fantasy Baseball Draft Guide (available for just $5) now including a Top 50 Prospects for 2010 List, click here.

For more looks at prospects, you can check out the following articles:

Picture courtesy of Icon Sports Media, Inc.

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