Posey on the Pine

Buster Posey was promoted to the big leagues on the second day of September. Nearly three full weeks later, Posey has appeared in two games with a total of three plate appearances and one hit. Needless to say, this is insane. The Giants playoff hopes have fallen during the timeframe and CoolStandings now has them at 5%. Having to make up 4.5 games in a span of 13 games is extremely difficult on its own right. Factor in that San Francisco won’t see Colorado head-to-head again this season – barring a playoff at least – and it becomes a situation where a chain of unlikely situations needs to occur.

So why isn’t Posey playing?

When he was promoted I addressed the Giants awful catching tandem and for whatever reason the Giants have stuck with Bengie Molina and Eli Whiteside. Neither represents much of an upgrade over Posey and neither should play as big of roles as Posey next year. This isn’t a service time issue because he’s already up. Maybe the Giants don’t want to hurt his confidence, but what happens next year? Do they send him down again or simply throw him into the fire? Or, heavens forbid, attempt to bring in a veteran and let Posey learn underneath him?

Posey isn’t the difference between making the playoffs this year, not playing these three or four weeks won’t be the difference in the playoffs next year. It’s just an exercise of futility to continue playing two dead weights ahead of the future during extra time.

The Giants did some nice things this year, it’s too bad they don’t recognize the difference between Conor Gillaspie last season and Posey this season.



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milkman41
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milkman41
6 years 10 months ago

Because Bochy is a terrible, terrible manager.

BJ
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BJ
6 years 10 months ago

Have you guys been rereading FJM lately the articles are trending that way, which BTW,is a VERY VERY good thing

JLP
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JLP
6 years 10 months ago

The same thing is happening with Michael Saunders in Seattle. They’ll play Tuiasosopo at 2B but continue to play Bill Hall in LF.

Nats Fan
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Nats Fan
6 years 10 months ago

Posey is up very soon. Why rush him! Might get a dozen all star years if they just take their time and let him learn how to be a major leaguer before he is thrown into the fire. Catcher is probably the hardest position to master in sports. Give him time to learn easy!

milkman41
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milkman41
6 years 10 months ago

Yes, but they’re not even doing that, really. Bochy just flat out seems to refuse to want to play him – he has been in 2 games and had 3 at bats since he was called up on the 2nd. That is flat-out ridiculous, if you don’t want him to catch because it is a difficult position to master, and it is, great, but he is probably one of the better hitters on a team that can’t hit, why not at least use him as a pinch-hitter? Or get him some action in blow-outs so that he gets a little experience on the job instead of rotting away on the bench?
I remember shortly after he was called up, Bengie Molina was injured (or pinch-ran for, either way, he came out of the game), and Eli Whiteside went in, the same Eli Whiteside who caught 12 innings the previous day. Bochy’s reasoning? To keep Whiteside fresh. That is not good managing.

Matt Harms
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Matt Harms
6 years 10 months ago

Please tell me this post is being sarcastic and I’m not just catching it… You let prospects “learn” by getting At-Bats in the minors, not by riding the pine for a month on your major league squad.

If they didn’t plan on playing him in the majors, they should’ve sent him to winter ball already to get more work in.

B
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B
6 years 10 months ago

This situation is absolutely ridiculous. I don’t know who’s to blame, I don’t have any words to describe how stupid this is. I think he should be starting every day – if someone thinks otherwise, ok, they have a reasonable argument. Bringing him up to the bigs to sit on the bench and have no role, on the other hand, is indefensible. Hopefully this last month is a sign that Sabean and Bochy are gone this offseason.

Brian Recca
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Brian Recca
6 years 10 months ago

Bruce Bochy seems to fall in love with certain players. I mean why else would he have Randy Winn batting third? Why else would he have Eugenio Velez starting over Nate Schierholtz? Why isn’t Ryan Garko playing?
I know that Bochy likes to give guys a bunch of different looks and he likes to mix and match his line up and defensive alignment. That was all good and well when the Giants were a bad team in rebuilding mode, but when you are in playoff contention you have to stick to your best players in the best spots. Bochy is simply not doing that right now, he needs to go.

Mike
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Mike
6 years 10 months ago

Ryan Garko has been terrible, and Velez has been much better than Schierholtz. With that said, Fred Lewis needs to be playing since he’s the best offensive outfielder on the team.

B
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B
6 years 10 months ago

I do agree Lewis needs more PT. He’s the 2nd best hitter on the team. The problem with Velez/Garko is the Giants management falls in love/hate with a small stretch of production and has no concept of sample size whatsoever. Velez hasn’t even been as good as you think, he still only has a .321 OBP this season. Meanwhile everything about Garko’s history says he’s a better hitter than what we’ve gotten, but we’ve decided he doesn’t deserve PT after ~100 PA’s? It just makes no sense and shows there’s no concept of statistical principles anywhere in the Giants organization (at least when it comes to the people making decisions).

Somehow Winn, he of the .303 wOBA, is 2nd on the team in PA’s. Renteria (.282 wOBA) is 4th. Bengie (.301 wOBA) is 5th. We might not have very good hitters, but we have better hitters than that. Garko’s 100 PA’s is somehow enough to decide he isn’t worthy of PT but their 500+ PA’s aren’t enough to decide they suck? I don’t get it.

Dan
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6 years 10 months ago

I think you’re mixing two arguments into one article. I agree with one but disagree strongly with the other.

“When he was promoted I addressed the Giants awful catching tandem and for whatever reason the Giants have stuck with Bengie Molina and Eli Whiteside. Neither represents much of an upgrade over Posey and neither should play as big of roles as Posey next year.”

The Giants, by any standard or advanced measure, have pitched better than most teams in the National League this year. It is not their offense that enabled them to compete for the Wild Card, it is their pitching. Bengie Molina has caught that pitching since April, and you’re suggesting that in September, in the thick of the race, you want Matt Cain and Tim Lincecum to pitch to a different catcher? You want a rookie to call games down the stretch?

Moreover, Posey’s success in Triple-A does not guarantee success in September. Matt Wieters struggled mightily when he was called up this season and only recently – after a full campaign – has he started to hit a groove. And I can’t really think of an example of a playoff contender making such a massive positional change and replacing a veteran with a rookie.

Furthermore, imagine being in Bruce Bochy’s shoes. Again, you’ve managed your team into a September pennant race. And you’ve done this with a team that most pundits, most sabermetric pundits especially, predicted would be out of contention this year. Your starting catcher has been an integral part of that. Bochy’s options are (1) keep starting Molina, keep doing what brought his team success or (2) switch everything up, face possible clubhouse, media and fan scrutiny, and start an unproven but gifted rookie in a playoff race.

Though I agree that any playing time given to Eli Whiteside should have gone to Posey, other than “but Posey was tearing up Triple-A” I don’t buy any argument that he should be starting full time.

“The Giants playoff hopes have fallen during the timeframe and CoolStandings now has them at 5%. Having to make up 4.5 games in a span of 13 games is extremely difficult on its own right. Factor in that San Francisco won’t see Colorado head-to-head again this season – barring a playoff at least – and it becomes a situation where a chain of unlikely situations needs to occur.”

I’ll agree with this point. If the Giants are nearly out of the race, then Posey should play regularly.

Suggesting that Posey should have taken over as the full-time catcher when he was called up is outlandish and disregards the behavioral nature of this game.

Mike
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Mike
6 years 10 months ago

The Giants starters seems to be doing just fine when Eli Whiteside starts (hence the lower cERA, which I know is a terrible stat, just saying that I think the Giant starters are good enough to pitch to any catcher), so I don’t think they’d mind Posey back there.

Bill
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Bill
6 years 10 months ago

The Giants couldn’t decide whether they wanted to add him on the bench to help for the playoff push or leave him off to prevent his service clock from starting. The only logical solution was to take the worst of both worlds.

SharksRog
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SharksRog
6 years 10 months ago

Personally I would love to see Buster in the lineup almost every day.

But let’s be realistic. How often does a September callup come in and replace your cleanup hitter?

No, you and I wouldn’t have Bengie Molina batting cleanup, but it isn’t as if the Giants have someone great to take his place. Yes, Pablo Sandoval would be a nice improvement there, but then the Giants wouldn’t really have a true third-place hitter.

I’m thinking that by this time next week the Giants will likely be all but mathmetically eliminated, so we should be seeing a lot of Buster. Then again, the Giants won their opener tonight in Arizona, and after two more road games they come home, where they have played quite well.

So this may linger on, with little likelihood but still a chance. Kind of a reminder of the Dumb and Dumber line — “So you’re telling me there’s a chance.” Or in a best-case world for the Giants, their pitching returns to its August dominance and the offense finds a way to break out of its coffin for two weeks.

Yes, there is a chance Buster Posey would improve their situation. Maybe a darn good chance. But for all his flaws and lack of patience at the plate, Molina has been the Giants’ “big” RBI man the past two seasons.

In all likelihood Buster will get at least a half week of playing time to help him overcome any jitters he might face to begin next season. At the very least he’s getting a taste of what it is like to be a major leaguer.

And, yes, the Giants realize there is a huge difference between Buster and Connor Gillaspie.

Think back three years. Entering September 15th the Giants were still within about three games of the Wild Card and five games of the NL West lead with two and a half weeks to go.

Jason Schmidt had suffered the injury that has kept him from virtually any action since. Tim Lincecum had opened the San Jose Giants’ California League playoffs five days before. A perfect spot to have him fill in for Schmidt and help keep the Giants in the race?

I thought so at the time. But I was probably wrong. Brad Hennessey pitched instead. Hennessey gave up six runs in two innings, and the Giants collapsed the rest of the way, finishing double digits behind in the race.

But Lincecum was so pumped for his major league debut even after spending a month of 0.29 ERA ball in AAA that he gave up five runs on five hits and five walks while striking out five batters as he pitched into the fifth inning. No wonder the Giants gave him #55.

The Giants have the possibility of being an exceptional team in the upcoming decade. Probably the worst thing they can do is rush their prospects.

I was very disappointed they didn’t bring up Lincecum three years ago. Now I realize I was probably wrong. The Giants showed patience with Tim, even keeping him in the minors for an extra month when he likely was ready to take a place in the rotation. And it hasn’t worked out too badly.

I was pleasantly surprised when the Giants brought Posey up this September. But while I thought he might have started a game or two by now, I didn’t expect him to play much until the Giants were virtually eliminated.

Molina has driven in some big runs, and Eli Whiteside has been a fine defensive catcher with a propensity for calling shutouts, something the Giants may set a San Francisco record in this year.

Buster will get his chance eventually. And once he does, he will likely be around so long that we will have forgotten about this September.

Matt Harms
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Matt Harms
6 years 10 months ago

SharksRog said “But let’s be realistic. How often does a September callup come in and replace your cleanup hitter?”

When your clean-up hitter is a 1.5 WAR guy named Bengie Molina, the answer to your question should be “always”.

B
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B
6 years 10 months ago

Just to expand on that a bit, of the 14.6 RAR Fangraphs has credited Bengie with so far, 9.7 of that has come from simply being a C (positional adjustment). Buster Posey can simply be a C, too…

Joe R
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Joe R
6 years 10 months ago

I hate that “point” of “not ruining the kid’s confidence”. He’s going to have to learn how to fail at some point. Play your best players. Sorry I don’t think the Molina/Whiteside, .276 combined OBP team isn’t it.

It’s a damn miracle the Giants have been competitive with a .308 team OBP.

B
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B
6 years 10 months ago

I was about to remind everybody just how bad the Giants production from C has been, but looks like you did it for me. Bengie Molina has a .282 OBP and .301 wOBA. I’ve seen the argument all over the place that the Giants don’t have any better options to bat cleanup, but that ignores the fact that Bengie is TERRIBLE (as a hitter), and even the bad offensive players the Giants have are significantly better options.

Just to put this in perspective, C is the worst position offensively in MLB. Of all catchers with 200+ PA’s (43 of them), Bengie Molina’s offensive production, based on wOBA, is 29th. Anything is better than Bengie batting 4th. The production the Giants have been getting from our C’s is THAT bad.

“Suggesting that Posey should have taken over as the full-time catcher when he was called up is outlandish and disregards the behavioral nature of this game.”

When you find proof the “behavioral nature of the game” actually has an impact on the results, let us know. As far as I know, nobody has managed to find any evidence that “game calling skills” or whatever else actually has a significant effect on the end result.

Joe R
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Joe R
6 years 10 months ago

Not to mention Posey’s minor league OBP of .421.
Like I know bitching about a manager not caring about OBP is like thinking a Limp Bizkit album is awesome (you did it in 2000), but this is ridiculous. Posey is obviously the better hitter. If he sucked for a month, you lost essentially nothing and gained him about 80-100 PA of valuable learning. With the way some baseball people are obsessed w/ “veteran presense”, I’m surprised George Sisler still isn’t playing 1st, and he’s been dead for 36 years.

Matt B.
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6 years 10 months ago

Agreed. That’s the only thing that matters, there is little chance Posey wouldn’t atleast have postd a .300+ OBP.

Ed Nelson
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Ed Nelson
6 years 10 months ago

Now that they’re out of it you would think he would start everyday? I know Posey represents and “unknown” at this point, and maybe a manager doesn’t want to be on the hot seat for that in a playoff run, but do the Giants actually think they’re going to the playoffs now?

B
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B
6 years 10 months ago

“do the Giants actually think they’re going to the playoffs now?”

Based on their actions up to this point, I wouldn’t rule anything out of the realm of possibility…

Bhaakon
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Bhaakon
6 years 10 months ago

Whether or not the Giants’ management think they’ll actually make the playoffs at this point, they do think that they can continue to sell playoff tickets as long as they’re not mathematically eliminated (Put down $750 on next year’s season tickets, and they’ll give you the opportunity to buy 2009 postseason tickets right now!).

Aaron B.
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Aaron B.
6 years 10 months ago

Posey has played in 2 games. The Giants have lost both games in which he has played. Therefore, every game that Posey plays will be a Giants loss.

Doug Melvin
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Doug Melvin
6 years 10 months ago

See Also:

Milwaukee Brewers and Alcides Escobar fighting for playing time with JJ Hardy and Craig Counsell.

Ed Nelson
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Ed Nelson
6 years 10 months ago

You can’t take ABs away from Counsell! With a little more seasoning this guy could be an All Star! Have you seen his PTGTRW rating!

Joe R
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Joe R
6 years 10 months ago

Better be citing my name if you’re going to use it.

Kincaid
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6 years 10 months ago

Tonight, they pulled Molina in a double switch, and I thought they were going to bring in Posey. Nope. Eli Whiteside. Whiteside was then pinch hit for in the top of the 8th. Rather than bring in Posey there, they PH Bowker. In the bottom of the 8th, they ran another apparent double switch. Posey came in to catch, and a reliever came in to pitch. The pitcher spot was due up 4th in the 9th and the catcher spot due up 9th. Of course, I assumed double switch. Nope. They left the pitcher in the 4th spot so that they could pinch hit with Randy Winn and keep Posey from getting any ABs. It was like they were dead set on him not hitting.

ElJimador
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ElJimador
6 years 10 months ago

Just to underscore the point for people who didn’t see the game yesterday, the double switch was made with the Giants trailing 8-4 in the bottom of the 3rd and with the new pitcher Bumgarner facing a bases loaded 1 out situation. Since Posey has caught Bumgarner in the minors there shouldn’t have been any concern about his handling of the pitcher, and since a 4 run deficit was already larger than any deficit the Giants have overcome this year to win, the obvious call was to go with Posey since he is by far the better hitter. Even then, Bochy still went with Whiteside and his sub .250 OBA, gift-wrapping for the D’Backs 3 automatic outs out of 18 remaining in a game the Giants ultimately lost 10-8.

This is how stubborn Bochy is when it comes to playing Posey. For some reason he simply refuses to do it even in a situation like last night when it’s the only move that makes any possible sense.

DC
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DC
6 years 10 months ago

What you guys don’t seem to realize is that Posey has made some great contributions that stats don’t show. He’s been a great bullpen catcher for the last few weeks, you know how tough those are to find.

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