I’m going to write a lot of this post off-the-cuff, so bear with me, but I can’t remember a more depressing time as a fan of baseball. Losing Posey will surely impact the win column in numerous ways. We could slice and dice the data, fine-tune WAR calculations, and come up with a number that would give us a pretty good idea of what losing Posey means to the Giants.
Here’s the thing: I just can’t.
As a fan of baseball in general, I can’t stand injuries — they always make me feel really uneasy because you never know when that’s “it” for a player. I can still remember Jason Kendall’s horrific ankle injury in 1999. Posey’s injury is a different animal, but the point is the same: it’s really hard to watch that stuff happen. I think sometimes that we, as fans, get a little greedy when it comes to watching the sport we love. There’s probably a lot of dehumanizing going on and I’ll be the first to admit that I’m guilty of that at times. But, after last night, I could not care less about Posey as a ‘numbers machine’ or how much WAR he’ll add to the Giants — if any — in future seasons. I just feel really bad for the guy and I hope that he’s able to recover and do the thing he loves — play baseball.
Though, that’s not to say that I’m going to stop doing numbers-based analysis for the San Francisco Giants. Because I’m not, it’s something I love to do. However, right now, you just really, really feel for Posey and his family. Baseball players essentially get one shot at a playing career and you hope that Posey will have more chances to play.
In the short term: the Giants have recalled uber-prospect Brandon Belt and fungible-catcher-guy, Chris Stewart. Belt will get his second crack at the majors and hopefully things will go better than his first brief run with the Giants. This year in AAA Fresno Belt owns a slash-line of .337/.470/.525 which isn’t too shabby. But, consider that it’s still the PCL and his strikeout-rate (defined as K/AB) has been elevated. While in AAA, Belt was whiffing at a 30% rate in at-bats. His plate approach — in terms of OBP — and power are still nice, but I’d like to see a little more bat-on-ball contact. I’m not sure how the Giants will use him right now, but it’s very possible they’ll slide him into LF and let him go for 200-300 ABs. That’s probably the best course of action for the Giants and their offensively starved club.
Chris Stewart is a catcher. He’s not a very good hitter (career .464 OPS in the majors in 26 games, .689 career OPS in the minors in 717 games). He might be a slight upgrade over Whiteside on offensive, but both are nearly indistinguishable from each other. He’s here because he can strap on the gear.
There’s no two ways around it, losing Posey is a huge blow to the Giants. For now, let’s hope that he can get healthy. We’ll worry about the baseball stuff later.