2010 has become the year of the rookie in major league baseball. In fact, you’d be hard pressed to recall a single year that provided such a wealth of freshman talent.
The Mets Ike Davis and the Giants Buster Posey are two of the most promising talents in the 2010 rookie class. Both have gotten off to tremendous starts to their careers, and both are likely to enjoy lengthy and successful careers in the big leagues.
However, as always, the thirst to compare one talent to another drives us to take a closer look at both young stars in order to determine which will go on to have the better big league career.
We will take a look at both players ability to hit, ability to defend, and the intangibles that make good players great, and ultimately come to a verdict about which youngster will be a bigger star.
Both Davis and Posey have flashed tremendous power potential. Davis’s power has blossomed over the past two years (33 homeruns in 724 at bats since 2009 as opposed to none in 215 at bats in 2008), and there is no reason to think he won’t continue to develop and become a big time home run hitter.
Like Davis, Posey’s just coming into his own in the power department. In fact, he is hitting home runs in the majors at a higher rate than he ever did in the minors.
While Posey’s power will continue to develop, he will likely round out as a 30 home run type slugger at best, while Davis likely will become a virtual lock to slug 30 long balls year in and year out.
However, what Posey lacks in power he more than makes up for with his ability as a raw hitter. In three professional seasons Posey has yet to post a batting average below .325 and is currently hitting .350 in 157 big league at bats.
The kid can flat rake.
Meanwhile, Davis currently sits at .258 on the season, and hasn’t posted an average above .298 in his three professional seasons.
Expect Davis’s average to rise into the quite respectable .270 to .280 range as he matures, but Posey’s ability to put up a Joe Mauer-esque batting average makes him my choice as the better offensive player.
Davis has quickly established himself as a top notch defensive first basemen. He makes plays other first basemen don’t, and has a flair for the spectacular as evidenced by two outstanding catches he made while falling out of fair territory.
He is an outstanding athlete for a big guy and could very well take home some Gold Gloves in the coming years.
Posey has also proven to be a more than capable defensive asset. He projects to be a well above average defensive catcher, and the fact that the Giants seem committed to keeping him behind the plate says a lot about his ability to defend.
Furthermore, Posey has already shown the ability to play first base adequately should the Giants decide to protect their budding star and move him from behind the plate.
While Davis projects as an elite defensive first basemen, Posey’s ability to play catcher, a position that is much harder to fill, especially with a player with high offensive upside, makes Posey at least as valuable as Davis on the defensive side of the coin.
Buster Posey is the type of player that any true baseball fan loves to watch. He plays the game with incredible enthusiasm, oozes star power, and most impressively shows tremendous leadership ability for a young player.
Posey’s ability to manage a pitching staff, especially one that possesses elite talents such as Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain, at just 23-years-old is simply tremendous. It seems inevitable that he will develop into a leader on and off the field for the Giants in the coming years.
While Davis may not be the natural leader that Posey is, he simply plays the game the right way.
He always gives 110 percent, and is confident, poised, and fundamentally sound. He is the type of nose to the grindstone player that is hard not to like.
Davis also has the pedigree of a big league ballplayer. His father, Ron Davis, spent 11 seasons in the majors as a relief pitcher, and Ike credits Ron for helping him develop his outstanding work ethic, which is sure to carry him a long way at the big league level.
Any team would be thrilled to have either Ike Davis or Buster Posey as a building block for their future. You really can’t miss with either young star.
However, if I had the privilege of choosing one of the two based on how I believe their career will play out, I would select Gerald “Buster” Posey.
Players with the ability to win batting titles and post significant power numbers are hard to come by. Players who do it from the catcher’s position are nearly non-existent.
In a few years, I expect Buster Posey’s name to be frequently uttered in the same sentence as Joe Mauer’s.
That’s pretty good company.