I think it’s something that we can all agree on — Buster Posey is having an incredible year on offense. The young catcher is currently hitting a cool slash-line of .325/.374/.517/. The advanced metrics also tell a story. His .381 wOBA is outstanding and his +18.5 batting runs above average is terrific.
In other words, he can hit. One of the more surprising things to me about Buster’s performance is his (relatively) low walk percentage. In 750 career minor league plate appearances, Posey owns a walk-rate of 13%. This year in 393 PAs, Posey’s walk-rate sits at 6.6%. I started this post before Sunday’s game — and the 3 walks that Posey drew in it — but Posey’s slightly below walk-rate is interesting.
Before we jump too much further, here’s a running BB% for Buster this season.
Buster’s 3 walk game on Sunday pushed his BB% rate up by nearly a whole percentage point — moving from 5.93% to 6.62% on the season. With Posey, I get the feeling that he’s still making adjustments at plate. According this study, walk-rate stabilizes around 200 PA. However, I would imagine that there might be a little more leeway with a player like Posey who is going through the league for the first time. As you can see from our running percentage, around game #31 Posey had an uptick in his walk-rate, moving from 3% all the way up to 6.5% around game #65. Still, it’s not the double-digit walk-rate he posted while in the minors. He is seeing 3.87 pitchers per PA — league average is 3.83 — so there is some hope that he’s still fine tuning things.
Posey’s contact-rate (82%) is also above-average this year. I think he’s got the tools to post a better walk-rate in upcoming seasons. My next idea is to try and pull the pitches/PA data and run a graph as the season has progressed. I think we would see an uptick as he’s played more games, he’s seeing more pitches. That’s just a guess, though. However, with Posey’s current BABIP (.342) working on his selectivity/walk-rate should be a goal for him over the offseason. When he first came up this year, he was swinging a lot and making contact. There’s a good chance he’s not a true .340 BABIP hitter — most players aren’t — and when the hits stop falling, he’s going to need other ways to get on base.
Still, he’s been remarkable this year at the plate. It’s hard to imagine how his first year could have gone any better.
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