Many Yankee fans and fantasy owners have been down on Jorge Posada's start to the 2011 season. Posada's start is one of the more baffling and unlucky starts that I have seen. He is currently batting .163 with a .283 OBP and .512 SLG and is currently tied for third in baseball with five home runs.
It would be a mistake for these fantasy owners and fans to give up on Posada's season because of the power he has shown in these first few weeks of the season.
Posada is fifth in baseball in terms of ISO—isolated power—behind Troy Tulowitzki, Alex Rodriguez, Jonny Gomes and Lance Berkman. Fans have soured on his performance just based on his poor bating average, even with his great power numbers.
His .163 batting average has been affected largely by an unprecedented .071 BABIP (the average 2011 player has a .291 BABIP), which is the lowest number in baseball. Dan Johnson has the second-lowest, and his number is two times higher than Posada's at .143. There is no way that number will stay as low as it is. Aaron Hill had the lowest BABIP in the majors last season at .196.
Posada's batted ball numbers suggest that he could hit more home runs, especially in Yankee Stadium. As a left-handed batter Posada has put the ball in the air in right field at a 58 percent rate, which is a great number for a left-handed batter to have in Yankee Stadium.
Posada's other numbers do not suggest a decline in any way. His 2011 strikeout percentage, 23.3 percent, is lower than both his 2009 and 2010 rate. In addition, his swinging strike percentage is his lowest since his best overall season in 2007. Posada is still providing plenty of on-base opportunities. His 14 percent walk rate is his highest since the 2004 season.
What can we take away from this? Posada still provides a good power bat behind the heart of the lineup, and he should still be considered a top-10 catcher in fantasy leagues. His batting average will increase with a rise in his BAPIP, and he should be fresher by the end of the season as an everyday DH.
Don't let the early-season batting average and the talk radio callers fool you. Jorge still has a lot left in the tank for this season.