Phillies Opposition Roadblock: Buster Posey

Jul 30, 2016; San Francisco, CA, USA; San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey (28) hits an infield single during the fifth inning of the game against the Washington Nationals at AT&T Park. Mandatory Credit: Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports
Jul 30, 2016; San Francisco, CA, USA; San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey (28) hits an infield single during the fifth inning of the game against the Washington Nationals at AT&T Park. Mandatory Credit: Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports /

The Philadelphia Phillies opened a series with the San Francisco Giants on Tuesday night, and the Giants all-star catcher remains a roadblock to their success.

The Phillies have returned home for the first time in what seems like an eternity.  After a long ten game road trip (4-6), the club hopes to reverse their luck at home and turn the car back on track.

A day after what some would consider a disappointing trade deadline day for the hometown team, they welcomed the San Francisco Giants into town, and the bats exploded for a nice 13-8 victory.

The Giants made their fair share of acquisitions over the course of the last few days, bringing in a former entry in my ‘Phillies Roadblock’ series from Minnesota, Eduardo Nunez.

In addition, they improved their rotation by sending third baseman Matt Duffy to Tampa Bay for southpaw Matt Moore, while the bullpen was boosted with the addition of Will Smith.

More from That Balls Outta Here

None of these new additions will be the Giants roadblock for this series.  Last the two teams met by on the border of the Pacific, I highlighted NL All-Star 1st baseman Brandon Belt.  This time we’ll focus on the Backstop by the Bay: Buster Posey.

The former Golden Spikes Award winner as the best player in NCAA college baseball spent those collegiate years as a Seminole of Florida State.  After a stellar college career, Posey was selected by the Giants with the 5th pick in the Amateur draft in 2008.

He did not spend much time in the minors.  Originally ranked number two in San Francisco’s system behind his battery mate, Madison Bumgarner, he was called up in late 2009.  The catcher was being used to replace the injured Bengie Molina.  He started 2010 in the minors, but was called up in May for good.

Posey has only missed significant time in one major league season and that was due to the horrific leg injury that changed baseball forever.  In his other five seasons of 100+ games, the catcher/1st baseman has never slashed lower than .280/.350/.450 and never had a season with less than 15 homeruns.  He has plated 70 or more runs four times and posted a WAR over 3 every season (more than 5 WAR four different times).

In summary, Posey is more than deserving of the accolades that are tied to his name:  Three time World Series champion, four-time All-Star participant, three-time Silver Slugger Award Winner, an MVP, batting title, and Comeback Player of the Year Award (2012).  He has lived up to his pedigree every step of his professional career and continues to do so this season.

Through 95 games in 2016, Posey has reached the 100 hit mark, something he has done in every one of his full seasons.  He is posting a .290/.363/.464 as we land in August and has added 12 bombs, 58 runs and 47 RBI.  He is currently on par to meet his career averages in every category.

The focus for Zack Eflin, Aaron Nola, and Vincent Velazquez should be on the outer half of the plate.  Posey is known for being able to turn on pitches very effectively.

He is also a hitter that you can climb the ladder on and get him out.  His contact rate slips big time when pitchers climb the ladder.  I can absolutely see Eflin and Vinny heading up top on him while Nola lives on the outer half to try to get outs.

Posey is a pull heavy hitter who may warrant a shift.  However, he has the ability to go away, although he would rather swing at pitches on the inner half.

In terms of his abilities against righties and lefties, he has been as effective.  His splits come in fairly favorable on both sides, .306/.406/.528 vs. LHP and .283/.342/.435 vs. RHP.  While he has not been what would quantify as “great” against righties, those numbers are still successful, considering he has had 100+ more at bats against them this season.

If the Phillies want to have a chance to compete with one the National League’s best teams, they will need to control Posey over the next three days.  He is a staple in the middle of the very solid lineup for more than just this season.


My Pick:  Adonis Garcia (4-12, two runs, two 2B, a walk, three RBI)

My Grade:  Garcia was only really effective in the Brave losses.  He was 0-4 in the first win and did not even play in the second win.  My Grade: C.

Phillies Grade:  The Phillies did had trouble with Garcia in their two wins, but they still won the games, so in that case, they succeeded in controlling him just enough.  Phils Grade: B.

Next: Phils Week in Review: 7/25-7/31