San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey may have had the third-highest batting average of any catcher in the major leagues in 2013, but his season can’t be classified as anything less than a disappointment given the circumstances.
Expectations were huge for Posey following his 2012 season, in which he had a league-leading .336 average, hit 24 homers and drove in 103 runs on the way to a Giants World Series victory. Posey was awarded the NL MVP award, and the expectation was that he would continue to be the Giants’ offensive leader in 2013.
While that did end up being somewhat true, Posey’s numbers dropped way off this year, possibly due to the fact that his catching workload was much heavier in the first half of the season, causing him to fade over the latter half.
Whereas Posey was consistently given time at first base throughout the year in 2012 while rookie backup Hector Sanchez assumed the catching duties, Sanchez struggled with an injury for the entire first half and could not be relied upon as the backup catcher this year. As a result, defensive specialist Guillermo Quiroz was the alternative to Posey during the first half, so Posey started 73 games behind the plate and played first base in 10 games.
He served as the designated hitter twice, meaning that he was out of the starting lineup just nine times during the first half.
Once Sanchez returned from an assignment to Triple-A on August 8, he started 17 times behind the plate and was able to give Posey more rest, but by that time the damage had seemingly already been done. Posey never really regained his form, and from the All-Star break until the end of the season, he ended up hitting .244 with just seven doubles, two home runs, and 16 RBIs.
These numbers really are not acceptable from a guy who’s supposed to be the kingpin of a team that lacks offensive firepower. To make matters worse, he didn’t do anything on defense to ease the impact of his struggles. Posey allowed 70 percent of the players who ran on him to steal bases, and he had just the 16th-best caught stealing rate among NL catchers.
Putting everything into perspective, Posey deserves a “B” grade for his efforts. Overall, he had a pretty good year, seeing as he hit .294 and hit 15 homers for the season. But there’s higher expectations for a player who’s as highly-regarded and highly-paid as Posey is, and ultimately he didn’t deliver.
He needs to go back to the drawing board, figure out what went wrong, and make adjustments next year so that he can be productive for the entire season, instead of playing well in the first half and then burning out.