Is Buster A Poser – Should We Sell High On Buster Posey

Buster Posey has certainly made quite a splash since joining to Giants on May 29.  His presence helped usher Bengie Molina out of town and caused quite a stir among fantasy owners.  The big question, however, is whether this hot stretch is for real or just a mirage.

Don’t get me wrong, Posey is every bit a must use fantasy option, but is he really “this” good (stats are through Monday):

203 At Bats
.350 Batting Average (71 Hits)
8 Home Runs
34 RBI
30 Runs
0 Stolen Bases
.392 On Base Percentage
.537 Slugging Percentage
.364 Batting Average on Balls in Play

The first number that jumps out at you is the BABIP.  It’s an extremely lucky number and one that you have to expect to come down, most likely sooner rather then later.  There are only eight players with enough at bats to qualify that have BABIPs above .360 and none of them are catchers.

In fact, among the catchers with enough AB, only two are actually carrying a BABIP above: .300: Joe Mauer (.332) and Brian McCann (.307).  There is extreme wear and tear on a catcher unlike any other position.  While Posey gets a game at first base, it still is eventually going to take its toll.

Even if we were to believe that he was capable of maintaining such a lofty BABIP, the position itself would likely drag him down.  Couple those two things and it would appear almost certain that things would regress.

He should continue to hit for a strong average, because he does make good contact, but right now he’s showing an ability better then he did during his minor league career.  In the Major Leagues he’s posted a strikeout rate of 12.3%.

For his entire minor league career (631 AB) he was at 16.2%.  At Triple-A prior to his recall (172 AB) he was at 17.4%.  Are we really to believe that he has been able to decrease his strikeouts by such an impressive amount?

It’s unlikely, so an increase in strikeouts will further decrease his average.

That’s not to say he doesn’t have a good eye at the plate, with a 13.4% walk rate in his minor league career (and just a 5.9% mark thus far).  Once he can improve there it will help, but it’s not going to make a huge difference.  You would think if he was chasing bad pitches he would be missing the ball more.  Clearly that’s not happening, either.

I’m not going to say that he doesn’t have power, but he doesn’t put the ball in the air a significant amount (29.3% fly ball rate).  That’s similar to his career minor league mark of 31.1% (which led to just 25 HR).

To get his 8 HR, he’s had a 15.1% HR/FB.  Is that a number we can expect him to maintain?  Maybe, maybe not, especially with the grueling catcher’s schedule weighing on him.  It’s certainly possible that we see a bit of a falloff in the power department as well.

Again, don’t get me wrong, if you are in a keeper league, Posey is a great asset.  It’s those in yearly leagues that may want to consider selling a bit high on him.  His value can only decrease from here, especially in the average department, so it’s worth investigating the possible return and cashing in while you can.

What are your thoughts on Posey?  Do you think he will regress?  How far may he fall?

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8 comments

  1. Sal says:

    I was able to deal Posey and Hunter for Matt Kemp and M. Young in a keeper league. He’s definitely worth floating out there.

  2. jason says:

    I say let Buster play baseball and let his numbers speak for themselves. Like it or not, he is a very talented athlete. Most people are in awe when they look at the numbers. It is obsurd to doubt him. He has risen to the occasion at every level he has performed. He is not a “Poser”.

  3. pat says:

    What do you think of Josh Thole? Also, I was wondering how you calculate BABIP for batters…

  4. chris says:

    1. Subtract the number of home runs from the number of hits. Call this number 1.

    2. Subtract the number of strikeouts and the number of home runs from the number of at bats. Call this number 2.

    3. Add the number of sacrifice flies to 2. Call this 3.

    4. Divide 1 by 3. The resulting number is the BABIP.

  5. Rotoprofessor says:

    Thanks Chris for posting the answer for mr!

    As for Thole, in a 2-catcher format then maybe, but he’s not playing everyday, even with Barajas on the DL. He also no power, so there’s likely a better option available.

  6. Erik F says:

    I sold high and was able to get Lester, unfortunately Santana was my other catcher.

  7. Rotoprofessor says:

    Love the deal. Too bad you had a little bit of bad luck with the injury, though. Tough to predict that, but if J.P. Arencibia is available he certainly could be worth rolling the dice on.

  8. Sal says:

    @ Erik F: Santana was my backup too! Lucky for me Suzuki was on waivers and I was able to grab him before Buck and Martin got injured.

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