With a limited number of players to choose from, and millions (and millions) of fans doing some kind of choosing, inevitably the same player will be chosen by fans who are well informed and careful, and also by fans who are ill-informed and careless. In 2019 Buster Posey will be one of the players with plenty of choosers from both camps.
Among those who know just a little, Posey is a famous name, well regarded for being among the top offensive catchers over the last decade at a position where offense can be terribly scare, a career .306 hitter, former batting champion, and durable (averaging 461 at-bats per year when the general population bearing the tools of ignorance has been hovering usually around 400 a year). Catchers of course take off at least one game per week for rest, many are platooned, all are susceptible to star pitchers’ preferences influencing the managers’ decisions (meaning that the simple fact of not being the favorite battery mate of today’s starting pitcher may put an otherwise starting catcher onto the bench that day) and all are in the most injury-prone profession on the field, a context and population that help to make Posey a long-time standout.
Posey will be taken by many who still believe that he is obviously the best catcher, in a class by himself, and an asset that can lock in a year-long advantage against every other owner. They are all quite mistaken, of course. Posey is a faded ex-star with high mileage. He is nonetheless at the upper end of the spectrum for catchers, or at least has a chance as good as another catcher to be valuable in 2019.
Among those who keep more current, observe more, study more, know more, and reflect more, there will be serious concern in 2019 about Posey’s recent and noticeable decline. His worst-ever season featured a hip injury that first impaired him and then took him out fully for season-ending surgery, a labrum cleanup. (The cognoscenti will also remember that Alex Rodriguez had “successful” hip labrum surgery in 2012 and then hit only .236 the next three seasons although he did manage a 33-homer year). Some of those who know more will simply think of Posey as he was in his “nightmarish” 2018 season, a .284 hitter with a favorable spot in the lineup that helps him see some good hitters’ pitches and helps create plenty of RBI opportunity, qualities that can be said of only one or two other catchers, if that many. If he ends up going cheap/late, you could do a lot worse.
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