Giants catcher, Buster Posey
For those of you trapped in an underwater cave for the last year, Posey's season and the Giants' playoff hopes were dashed in a home-plate collision with Marlins outfielder Scott Cousins.
The injuries sustained by Posey had the potential to be career-altering. In fact, the constant theme surrounding Posey's injury (other than how to deport Scott Cousins) has been about a potential position change. Moving Posey from behind the plate to first base is currently sports bar topic No. 1.
The idea has been broached by numerous writers and websites. It is a sensible idea with plenty of historical backing. Mike Piazza played games at first, and more recently Victor Martinez has done the same.
Nevertheless, the idea of moving Posey to first base neglects to address the biggest glaring factor.
Buster Posey is a catcher
That's a grandiose way of putting it, I know. Like your college girlfriend spouting off that she is a dancer following her second modern dance class, it's a broad statement. Technically, can't anyone be a catcher?
What the articles calling for Posey's eventual move to first fail to understand is Buster's value behind the plate. So often baseball gets broken down into pure hitting numbers. Only recently have advanced metrics delved into defensive stats.
A player's defensive aptitude is no longer calculated simply by his errors and SportsCenter highlights.
What cannot be calculated is a catcher's effect on his pitching staff. There is no doubt that Buster Posey is a marvel with a bat in his hand. A player who can hit for both average and power is a rare commodity—even rarer at the catching position. But what makes Posey truly great is his understanding of how to call a game.
So much of baseball is a mental game. The battle between pitcher and hitter is a chess match. Countless scouting reports and charts detailing past success and failures goes into every at-bat. Buster Posey understands this and at a young age has mastered it.
The Giants pitching staff has an edge when Posey is behind the plate. The confidence he displays rubs off on the pitchers he leads. Each starter understands he simply has to listen to Posey and follow his lead, allowing them to relax on the mound and just throw.
Taking Posey from behind the plate would rob the Giants of their greatest assets. Your college girlfriend might not have been a dancer, but Buster Posey is a catcher.