Bustin’ Out: Buster Posey

It’s great when things work out as planned. The San Francisco Giants management no doubt has its collective fingers crossed that catching prospect Buster Posey’s promotion from high-A to triple-A goes smoothly. If it does, the organization can bid farewell to incumbent MLB catcher Bengie Molina, whose contract is set to expire at the end of the 2009 season. The changing of the guard could save the club about $5.5 million per year, at least until Posey hits arbitration.

The club’s first-round selection (fifth overall) from the 2008 draft out of Florida State University, Posey was originally a high school shortstop, who moved behind the dish in his sophomore season of college. The right-handed hitter took to the position immediately and is well on his way to becoming an above-average backstop and future Gold Glove candidate. Despite having a few rough edges behind the plate, Posey has made just four errors in his pro career (70 games) and he’s thrown out 47% of the runners attempting to steal against him. He’s also made huge strides in his game calling and receiving.

At the plate, the Georgia native swings a potent bat. Prior to his promotion, Posey was hitting .326/.428/.540 with 13 homers in 291 at-bats. He also had as many walks as strikeouts (45) and was perfect running the bases (six steals in as many attempts). Posey was hitting .280 against right-handed pitchers and .440 versus southpaws. He hit more than .357 in each month except May, when he slumped to a line of .245/.319/.382.

Posey’s promotion to triple-A was actually supposed to have happened a few weeks ago but a mild concussion slowed the transaction. After he hit .405 with 10 RBI in the previous 10 games, though, the Giants organization pulled the trigger. The 22-year-old backstop appeared in just 10 games in 2008 after signing his $6.2 million contract, which makes his quick ascent through the minors in 2009 all the more impressive.

Molina has been a solid and consistent performer at the plate and behind the dish for the Giants over the past three seasons. However, he’s turning 35 next week and his body type does not age well. If he’s open to the suggestion, the Giants could bring him back on a one-year deal to serve as Posey’s mentor.

Marc Hulet has been writing at FanGraphs since 2008. His work focuses on prospects and fantasy. Follow him on Twitter @marchulet.

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Big Oil
13 years ago

Two straight posts on the Giants and not one mention of Sandoval? How dare you.

Joe R
13 years ago
Reply to  Big Oil

It’s a real shot in the arm to not hear about Sandoval.
Wait, is Bonds back?

13 years ago
Reply to  Big Oil

We love our panda, but we also love us some Posey and (especially) some Lincecum, so I think it’s alright to snub the Panda this time. 🙂