Brian McCann was dominating the National League when Buster Posey was playing shortstop as a freshman at Savannah State. There’s a new sheriff behind the dish.
There’s no greater feeling as a franchise than having a young, cheap catcher who rakes on offense and is above-average behind the plate. Braves fans can tell you all about it. From 2006-2011 Brian McCann averaged an OPS+ of 129, made every All-Star team, and sold wine for charity. This year, McCann has struggled to the tune of .240/.303/.426 while Posey has shaken off any potential injury rust with .302/.374/.479. Without completely counting McCann out on 290 plate appearances, I’m gonna pencil Posey in for the next five All-Star games. Yea, at least five.
I knew this was Buster Posey’s game after his first plate appearance. Two fastballs from Jurrjens had him boondoggled, with Posey being late on both. With two adept takes, he had re-established some count leverage before Jurrjens grooved a breaking pitch that Buster raked for an RBI single. Wait, double. How did he get to second base on that? Oh ya. “Posey was safe” is a theme around these parts. A single in the 3rd and a base-clearing double in the 5th brought his RBI total to 5, and his Match.com Compatibility Rating to 96.
After another Dodger loss, the Giants now lead the NL West by 3 games, or “sweep’s length” as I like to call it. With the Dbacks also in a nosedive, my prediction of an eventual one-horse race is coming to fruition. In the last 6 weeks, the Giants have been 10.5 games better than the Dodgers. Barring a role reversal or the Dodgers re-animating Koufax/Drysdale, I think my prediction is safe.
Brandon Watch 2012:
Belt: The shit hath hitteth the fan. When Bruce Bochy was asked by reporters whether or not he thought Sanchez was a better hitter than Belt at this point, the old ball coach retorted with “Ya, I think that’s fair to say. Wouldn’t you?” Then my Twitter broke. The beat-o-sphere and the blogosphere are fully entrenched on opposite sides, with the former touting Sanchez’s batting average and recent timely hitting and the latter going all OBP over everybody’s ass. The argument against Belt is that he has done nothing outside of the infamous 11-game hitting streak, where a power surge spiked his slugging percentage and showed Belt’s true potential. The bloggers tout Belt’s overall numbers, which make him retroactively a valuable first basemen in the National League.
So just where the hell do I settle on this? I have been pro-Belt since Spring Training 2011, putting my faith in projection systems like ZiPS and scouting reports from the likes of Kevin Goldstein and Keith Law. And while Belt hasn’t blown anyone out of the water, a young player needs at-bats to adjust to big-league pitching. Despite this, the Giants refuse to use kid gloves with Belt, deciding instead to ratchet up Hector Sanchez’s playing time with Posey at first base. This is ludicrous. Sanchez’s poor defense and framing aside, nearly 80 points of on-base percentage separates the two young hitters. The power difference is negligible, and Belt fields his position at an elite level.
And, of course, all of this is (insert Latin phrase I can’t remember) with Sanchez’s DL trip. There’s no way Bochy starts Whiteside over Belt. Right? Guys?
Stats of the Day:
78: Hector Sanchez’s wRC+ in the bigs this season
66: Eli Whiteside’s wRC+ in AAA Fresno this season
9: The number of runs awarded to a team whose opponent forfeits
4: Runners left on base by Sandoval, who missed the party