Since the All-Star break (ahoy, arbitrary endpoint!) Buster Posey has batted .456/.506/.772 over 79 at-bats. Over that time period, he’s launched six home runs, smacked seven doubles, and walked nine times. Posey is posting career highs in ISO (.202, career .181); walk-rate (10.2%, career 8.5%); and wRC+ (150, career 132). In fact, among 23 qualified first basemen in baseball, by wRC+, Posey is hitting better than 21 of them – only Edwin Encarnarcion (161 wRC+) and Joey Votto (181) are hitting better.
Did I mention that Posey is a catcher? And he’s hitting like an elite-level first baseman? Take a minute to let that point sink in. He’s hitting like a first baseman. He’s playing catcher – and quite well. How long Posey can catch long term is probably still a question that’ll have to be addressed at some point, but he’s looked great – better than anyone could have anticipated – this year. Posey’s season has been incredible on so many levels: his performance, his health, his … everything. Among many talented players, he’s the face of the franchise. I’m not one to subscribe to the mumbo jumbo of “clubhouse intangibles” but in Posey’s case, I’d probably make the exception. He’s fantastic.
So while I could go on and on and write a love letter to Buster Posey, I wanted to see where Posey ranked among his catching brethren for his 2012 season.
After running a Baseball-Reference search, I came up with the following:
- By WAR/600, Posey is on track for a 6.2 WAR season. Since 1970, 31 catchers have posted WAR/600 rates of six or higher. Since 1980, just 20 catchers have posted WAR/600 rates of six or better.
- That list, to name a few, is composed of Carlton Fisk (two times), Gary Carter (six times), Johnny Bench (four times), and Mike Piazza (three times).
- For comparison, over that same time (1970-2012) there have been 42 first basemen that have posted WAR/600 rates of six or higher.
- And it almost goes without saying, but Posey is on track to post the greatest modern catching season in Giants history. Posey has already tied Dick Dietz’s 1970 season (4.2 WAR) and he should come close to surpassing the franchise’s all-time best catching season: Hall-of-Famer Roger Bresnahan’s 1908 season (5.6 WAR).
The Giants’ season has been full of surprises: Melky’s domination of National League pitchers, Matt Cain’s perfect game, Ryan Vogelsong continuing to carve up hitters … but Posey’s comeback from a horrific, horrific injury might be the most inspiring thing I can think of.