As is the case with most players who have a breakout season or two, San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey has a ton of expectations to live up to. In 2013, he didn’t quite live up to them. Now, for a normal player, Posey’s 15 home runs, 72 RBI and .294 average would constitute a very solid season. However, for Posey it was a little disappointing.
Now the attention shifts to 2014. Can Posey continue to produce at an elite level like he’s shown that he can or is he just a slightly above average player? He does play catcher, which is a premium position in the league, so that automatically makes him a little more valuable. That alone doesn’t make him elite, though. This year could really signify the path that Posey’s career will continue on.
Thus far in his career, Posey has had two very solid seasons, one slightly above average season and one season that was cut short due to a broken leg. The argument here isn’t that Posey doesn’t excel at getting hits. He has hit at least .294 in his three full big leagues seasons.
This argument starts to seem similar to the Minnesota Twins catcher-turned-first baseman Joe Mauer. In 2009, Mauer hit 28 home runs which made people think that he could be an elite power hitter in the major leagues. However, the most home runs that Mauer has hit in any other season besides 2009 is 13. Additionally, Mauer has never driven in 100 runs in any single season over the course of his career.
While it’s become clear that he’s not an elite power threat, Mauer still usually hits for a ridiculous average albeit usually while hitting singles and doubles. What it comes down to is that Mauer is essentially a very good singles and doubles hitter. This year will be a test on whether Posey is the same type of player or if he can display power as well.
This upcoming season isn’t a make-or-break year for Posey, but it could certainly be indicative of where his career is going. Could he be headed towards being a very good hitter that mostly just knocks base hits like Mauer or can he combine that with power like Ivan Rodriguez did back in the day? Only time will tell the answer to that question and preparation for the answer begins this spring.