Buster Posey burst onto the scene in 2010, helping to lead the San Francisco Giants to an unexpected playoff run and all the way to a World Series title. We all know that the 2008 first round selection (fifth overall) has tremendous upside potential, but can we really enter 2011 expecting him to be able to replicate this type of success:
406 At Bats
.305 Batting Average (124 Hits)
18 Home Runs
0 Stolen Bases
.357 On Base Percentage
.505 Slugging Percentage
.315 Batting Average on Balls in Play
The average is impressive, especially from a rookie, and came courtesy of a realistic BABIP. Does that mean that he is a shoe-in to replicate it every year going forward? Let’s not be so quick with that type of assumption. One of the glaring numbers that stands out is his 13.5% strikeout rate at the Major League levels.
One thing we have learned is that, as a player moves up against tougher competition he generally strikes out more, not less. Look at his numbers at Triple-A:
- 2009 – 17.6% (23 K in 131 AB)
- 2010 – 17.4% (30 K in 172 AB)
In fact, over his minor league career he struck out 102 times in 631 AB, a strikeout rate of 16.16%. So, is it realistic to expect him to be able to reduce his strikeout rate by such a wide margin? I certainly would argue against it, meaning that a fall in his average is likely (barring improved luck). That’s not to say that he’s going to be a .260 hitter, but putting him in the .280 range seems fair.
Is that a number anyone is going to complain about? Of course not, especially from a catcher, but it also isn’t an elite mark either.
Next is the power. Thanks to a HR/FB of 15.4% Posey managed to hit a home run once every 22.6 AB. Over his minor league career he was at a home run once every 25.2 AB. It’s not a huge improvement, but it is one worth mentioning, especially considering his home ballpark not being a great spot for power hitters.
Just look at his home/road split from 2010:
- Home: .258, 6 HR, 29 RBI
- Road: .351, 12 HR, 38 RBI
The average I wouldn’t look into too much, as he had a .265 BABIP at home and a .367 BABIP on the road. Those numbers should even themselves out. The power, however, is a bit more concerning. Can we expect him to replicate posting a 19.7% HR/FB on the road? If that falls, considering his home ballpark, he could see an overall power regression.
I’m not trying to suggest that Posey is a player to avoid, not in the least. In fact I will be ranking him as my fourth best catcher later today. I just wouldn’t enter 2011 expecting him to hit well over .300 and hit 25-30 HR. He is one of the best at his position, but we need to keep our expectations in check.
He currently has an ADP of 48.02 according to Mock Draft Central, having been drafted as high as 25. We all know about potential sophomore slumps or players not living up to expectations. Just keep things reasonable and you shouldn’t be disappointed. If you reach for him (like I believe taking him in the fourth round could be), you are setting yourself up for trouble.
How about you? What are you expecting from Posey in 2011? Would you be willing to draft him in Round 4?
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Make sure to check out some of our 2011 projections: