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Catcher Profile: Buster Posey

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Buster Posey is the #1 catcher in fantasy baseball. But I’d rather flush a pick than donate it to Posey’s cause.

Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

You'd have to be a damn fool to draft Buster Posey in the majority of leagues.  I understand that Buster Posey is very good, and if you own him in a dynasty, or keeper format good for you, this article isn't devoted to those leagues, this is about redraft.

According to NFBC ADP data, Buster Posey is on average going as the 20.06 pick in drafts, with a high pick of 10 and a low of 32.  Please do not be the guy who takes Posey that early.

There is an obvious argument for Posey, he's the best hitting catcher, and his team doesn't have an elite 1B blocking him from logging a few extra games there either.  His projections for this season are:

R

HR

RBI

SB

AVG

Steamer

69

19

75

1

0.299

Fans

80

19

83

1

0.308

Average

74.5

19

79

1

0.3035

Now that's a pretty darn good player, but my argument against him has much more to do with draft position than production.  I firmly believe in a best player available strategy when drafting.  When you finish the draft with the most talent, you put yourself in a good position to make the playoffs.  There have been years where I've started my draft with 4SPs in the first 5 picks, 4OFs in the first 5 picks, and both of these teams turned out to be very, very productive.  So here is my argument: in a day and age where hitters aren't hitting, if you stripped everyone of their position, how high would you rank a 75R, 23HR, 90RBI, 1SB, .300 hitter?  Its hard to predict R and RBI, so I'm going to put less value in those stats, but I don't think I'd take a guy who has their value built off of average prior to 50th.  I honestly don't think you should be moving him up much more because he plays a position where production is so limited, because frankly, when you put him up against the other premier players, his numbers turn out to be limited.

ADP

PR

2014

36.5

49

2013

17.3

153

Frankly, I think valuing positional scarcity is a fools errand.  But someone drafts Troy Tulowitzki in the first 15 picks every year.  So now lets play devils advocate.  If you are one of those managers who does value the smaller parts of fantasy, lets look at the other two parts that some people blow out of control in fantasy: Park Factors, and Lineups/Protection.

When it comes to park factors, Posey doesn't get much help.  He plays in the 2nd worst park for right-handed home runs, and the worst park in baseball according to FanGraphs park factors to hit.  Factor in that he will be playing 9 or 10 more games in Dodger Stadium and Petco and that's roughly 100 games in his division where he'll be subject to a very poor hitting environment.

The San Francisco Giants are the world champs, and while that is the ultimate team effort in baseball, I think the arms carried more of the load than the bats.  I think next years lineup will look like this in SF, and I've paired the players with their projected OPS from Fangraphs.

Player

POS

OPS

1

Angel Pagan

OF

0.710

2

Norichika Aoki

OF

0.705

3

Buster Posey

C

0.844

4

Brandon Belt

1B

0.799

5

Hunter Pence

OF

0.763

6

Joe Panik

2B

0.647

7

Casey McGehee

3B

0.674

8

Brandon Crawford

SS

0.658

9

Pitchers

P

0.400

That's a .689 OPS for the team, and .670 OPS by hitters who aren't named Posey, and my .400 projected OPS by pitchers was extremely generous, as I didn't want to average out the SF staff's actual projections.

So next season, unless you're in a 6 team league, think twice before drafting Posey.  Catcher is a surprisingly deep position.  The top tier is fairly thick in my opinion with Posey, LuCroy, Mesoraco, and Molina, and then after that it's a second tier down to the 13th or 14th spot which covers all of the catchers in the majority of leagues. Also, by drafting Posey you are locked into him for the year, likely taking yourself out of the running for any sort of a breakout, and not want to add someone who may be catching up to Posey's production.  I doubt many would be incredibly surprised if Mike Zunino suddenly hit .240, and had a 25HR season, or if Josmil Pinto was given playing time and was allowed to live up to his offensive promise despite being only an average catcher behind the dish.

Don't think you're ahead of the game by drafting superstar Buster Posey, when there is more production on the table elsewhere, he's just not worth it.