Buster Posey Promoted

The wait is finally over.

The Giants promoted Buster Posey to the major leagues today. Day two of September 2009 becomes a day of joyous occasion for Giants fans who grew tired of Bengie Molina’s .261/.281/.437 line through nearly 500 plate appearances. Molina’s allergy of walks is shared by back-up Eli Whiteside.

Obviously differences between the majors and minors exist when it comes to drawing a walk, still, consider that the Giants backstops have a combined 554 plate appearances and 18 walks this season. Meanwhile Posey has just fewer than 550 plate appearances throughout the minor leagues while boasting 70 walks.

Assuming the Giants plop him into the lineup immediately and Posey hits to a league average (meaning an absolutely average MLB hitter, not NL catcher) tune rather than the .321/.391/.511 line in Triple-A Fresno, he’s still a pretty nice upgrade to add this late in the year. With a game separating the Giants and Rockies in the wild card race, any kind of upgrade at this point helps. Do the basic math and assume Posey takes 100 plate appearances away from the bumbling duo and the upgrade is a little less than two runs.

Notice we’re dealing with 100 plate appearances though. That’s a pretty small sample size and anything can happen within a stretch that leaves Posey looking better or worse than league average. It’s not impossible that Posey could actually finish with a worse line than his lacking counterparts. I know, outlandish right? But Matt Wieters is proof that sometimes phenoms don’t light the league on fire immediately:

Wieters: .263/.309/.372
Giants Putrid Crew: .257/.283/.409

Of course that’s not park adjusted or league adjusted, so there’s room for improvement in that comparison. My warning for Giants fans is to not take these 100 (or however many) plate appearances too seriously. Oh, and to not pin the playoff hopes on top of his shoulders.

That being said, I’m cheering for a Giants post-season berth. The folks on the east coast need to experience Tim Lincecum.

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28 Responses to “Buster Posey Promoted”

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  1. lincolndude says:

    Wholeheartedly agree with that last statement.

    It would be a good thing in general for everyone to get to see Lincecum pitch in the playoffs.

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  2. DC says:

    I just hope they don’t waste him, because this organization seems to have trouble figuring out who the better players are at times. But it’s still exciting nonetheless. The whole “plate discipline” concept is pretty foreign to this team.

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    • I think they have been pretty good in figuring out who the better players are. Their focus has been on pitching, and their pitching staff is filled with players, good players, that they selected.

      Because they have focused almost all of their first round picks on pitching, their stock of talent in position players are not as robust. Still, once Sandoval figured things out, he made the majors that year. So did Ishikawa, Lewis, Frandsen, Ortmeier, Bowker. And there are players who know how to take a walk in the minors. Unfortunately, they can’t hit well enough to take advantage of that in the majors, like EME, Bocock, even Frandsen, so far, who improved from few walks to taking more walks, and Bowker, who did a 180 this season.

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      • B says:

        The examples you used support DC’s point pretty strongly. Ishikawa, Lewis, Frandsen, Bowker, Ort, Schierholtz…all guys the Giants have jerked around with no seeming plan or ability to evaluate which ones are good and which ones are not. Meanwhile we run the likes of Torres out there over superior players like Lewis because Sabean has no idea what a good hitter looks like. We traded for Garko, who’s basically the same talent level as Ishikawa overall.

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  3. Bhaakon says:

    Sadly, I think that 100 AB estimate is wildly optimistic. His chances of supplanting Molina are about as good as his chances of starting his career with five straight home runs.

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  4. ASD says:

    Since they called him up this early, they would be smart to lock him up through his arbitration years. He’s about as sure a prospect as I’ve seen….just does everything right.

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  5. Omar says:

    Lincecum is totally worth staying up for. Staying up for his start has became my adult version of staying up to catch late night Cinemax Softcore, except with more masturbating.

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  6. Zack Greinke says:

    The folks on the West Coast need to experience ME!

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  7. I don’t know where you got the 100 PA figure. A full-time regular starter gets around that in a month, a full-time catcher should get less, a backup catcher, like Posey could be, even less. Assuming Molina regains some semblance of health and hitting, he should be playing regularly and Posey less so. Posey will probably get more in the range of 25-50 PA, unless Molina does hurt himself coming back and DLs the rest of the season.

    Posey is here to start if Molina isn’t ready to go, because it’s getting ridiculous, we were lucky to go 5-1 or whatever it has been with Whiteside as the backstop, so now we can field an adequate offensive replacement now with Posey.

    Molina hasn’t been consistently good this season, but when he’s going good, he can be more than adequate as a hitter in the 4-hole. The question for Giants fans is whether he can bring that magic to the plate this month or if it will be another lame month, like a couple of the months of this season.

    I wonder if him becoming the father of a daughter in May has affected him, I know I was tired all the time, and didn’t always get the best of sleep because she would stay up into the middle of the night, screaming her head off.

    Whatever the reason, he hasn’t been doing it for us sitting on the bench, and hopefully having Posey here will help push him to get back into the lineup and hit well, particularly, as he noted a few weeks ago, as he is a free agent and should be playing for himself. Being on the bench doesn’t do much for that objective.

    And just because Posey’s good in the minors doesn’t mean he’s going to hit well up here. Since you used this example, let’s take a look at Wieters first month up, starting May 29 and ending June 28:

    .234/.289/.390/.679 in 83 PA, 77 AB, 2 HR and 6 RBI with 19 strikeouts and 6 walks.

    That worse than what Molina hit for the season, and downright stinky compared to Molina when he is going good.

    Molina’s batting line in August:

    .276/.333/.539/.873 in 84 PA, 76 AB, 5 HR and 15 RBI with 13 strikeouts and 6 walks.

    He raised things a notch in August and it’s a shame he’s hurt right now. Hopefully Posey can deliver if needed, but here is Posey’s first few weeks in AAA, for the month of July:

    .235/.333/.314/.647 in 51 AB, 0 HR, 8 strikeouts, 8 walks. And that’s raw, not MLE.

    He didn’t do that well initially but then figured things out in August.

    So it’s not as easy as “let’s put in our star prospect” and everything will be fine. As teams have found with,say, Andy Marte, and other top prospects, sometimes that last step to the MLB is not doable.

    I like bringing up Posey now as he can experience MLB life without the pressure of being the savior of the offense and the starting catcher, while still experience the joys of playing for the playoffs, bonding with players he’s going to be working with for the next 3-5 years, getting some firsts done – like first hit and what not – and out of the way, so that he won’t get the opportunity to press next season should it start slow for him. And many young stars struggle in their first month as the starter, on the Giants Pablo Sandoval experienced that, I recall Dustin Pedroia going through a horrible stretch his first month before becoming the All-Star that he is, and not quite a star, but Kouzmanoff struggled in his first month before hitting well the rest of the season (unfortunately for him, that seems to be a pattern, not a one time thing).

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  8. Ashraf D says:

    Bochy and Sabean do not have the balls to play him over Bengie, especially with how well the staff has been pitching with Bengie and Whiteside. The Giants need a 3rd catcher right now with Molina hurt and Garko and Pablo serving as the backups. Posey isn’t going to start more than 5 games this season unless Bengie is out for a good while.

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  9. DC says:

    Bochy already said in an article that they plan on using Bengie as long as he’s ready to go. Posey will be used for pinch running, possible late inning replacements, and as a pinch hitter.

    It really seems like everywhere I go there’s skepticism about this issue. Do September call-ups begin the arbitration clock or not?

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  10. sergey says:

    Good move for both the Giants and for Posey. The Giants get a better gauge on how ready Posey is for a possible, though unlikely, call-up. For Posey, he gets a chance to catch major league quality pitching, as well as refine his game with better surrounding and opposing talent. Dependent on how he does with the Grizzlies, Posey may be a late September call up and at the very least a contender for a roster spot on the big club next season.

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  11. Joe R says:

    I do need to see me some Lincecum. Boston gets absolutely no Giants games.

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  12. CH says:

    I live just outside NYC, but I have the Extra Innings package, so I get to see a lot of Lincecum. It’s great that the pitch value section of this website rates his changeup so highly, because I’ve been shocked by the lack of attention it receives. Even the SF announcers don’t seem to talk about it that much. “This is a good time for him to throw that big hook of his. OH, he went with the changeup and got him swinging.”

    Yeah, it’s the best in baseball, I think I’d use it in 2-strike situations too. Not that the hook isn’t great too.

    As for Posey, I’m sure they’re only calling him up so they can trade him to the Rangers for Michael Young next year. Then I’m assuming Sandoval will be shipped to Toronto for Vernon Wells. Sabean loves that “veteran presence,” regardless of cost. Or performance.

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    • Bhaakon says:

      I’ve heard that Lincecum’s change is actually a split. The Giants’ announcer occasionally zoom in to show you the grips on pitches, but they haven’t done so with Lincecum’s change/split. I know that pitch f/x pitch identification is still a work in progress, but is there any way to tel which it is using the data?

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  13. SharksRog says:

    Barring unusual circumstances, it doesn’t appear Buster Posey will be getting many plate appearances in September. Clearly Bengie Molina will get the bulk of at bats once he is healthy, and backup Eli Whiteside has actually done an impressive job with the Giants’ starting pitchers in his 20 or so starts on the season.

    It does seem likely, however, that the Giants would benefit more from Posey’s bat than that of Whiteside or even Molina. To compare Buster to Bengie, Posey is likely to hit for more average and power and as pointed out here, to get on base a LOT MORE. Molina has been a very good clutch hitter over his career, while it remains to be seen how well Posey will fare in that role. Defensively Posey may already be approaching Molina and Buster will likely have a longer defensive peak than Molina enjoyed.

    It seems unlikely that Posey will be the Giants’ catcher to any significant degree in 2009. But it seems almost certain he will be their catcher to a significant degree for the 15 or so years thereafter.

    Catcher has been the weak link positionally in San Francisco Giants history (along perhaps with shortstop). That appears to be on the verge of changing.

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  14. DC says:

    Bengie has probably had one of his worst defensive seasons as a catcher this year. It just shows that he’s losing it. I have no factual data, but a friend of mine has developed one of his own catcher defense formulas, and Bengie is below average. I thought it would be awesome seeing Posey catching Lincecum today, unfortunately that won’t happen.

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