Joe Mauer is having a pretty down season after last year’s MVP campaign, and there’s a reason why:
…. the reigning American League MVP looks little like his 2009 self, even after gorging the last two days on Kansas City pitching. His power output is unplugged, with only six home runs after mashing 28 last season. His on-base percentage is the lowest since his rookie season. He’s catching a quarter of opposing basestealers, far below his career average. And at 27, Mauer is feeling the sort of wear that builds in men who spent half their professional lives squatting in cumbersome gear and taking ball after inadvertent ball off all 206 of their bones.
Mauer’s left heel nags him. His right shoulder aches. Two other injuries – his back and his hip, for which the St. Paul Pioneer Press reported he receives treatment – are something neither he nor the organization will address publicly. Because while the heel and shoulder are more pesky, anything having to do with a back or hip, let alone both, inspires a great deal of fear.
It should inspire fear, because catchers simply do not have the same career longevity and health that, say, a first basemen does. In fact, it wouldn’t be a stretch to say that a team loses at least 25% of a catchers hitting production over his career if they leave him behind the plate. This should be common knowledge, but it isn’t. Many players have played at least 1500 games. Quite a few have played 2000 games. But now too many catchers have. In fact, in the list of career games played, the top fifty is bereft of even one catcher. Carlton Fisk is at 52, with 2499 games played.
When a team has a catcher who can post an All Star caliber line of .300/.400/.500, there is no question that that player should be moved out from behind the plate. None. A player of Posey’s hitting ability comes along once in a generation. If you look at a great catchers career stats, you will see MVP-caliber years followed by one, or even two years of missed games, huge swings in production, and overall, a much shorter career than that player would’ve had otherwise. And that’s in the case of a great catcher. A catcher who can play 135 or 140 games a year, year after year, is rare, regardless of his production.
I’d also mention that, in the case of this Giants team, we don’t even have a real, full-time first basemen to displace. Sabean should let him finish the year behind the dish, and then in the off-season, go get him a first baseman’s glove.
Otherwise, this is your future, Buster. You can be the best catcher in the world. You will be hurt all the time, and you will never reach your potential as a hitter.
As you all know, Buster Posey now has a 20-game hitting streak, so I looked up the rookie hitting streak record. It belongs to –surprise– a catcher, Benito Santiago, who raked for 34 games in 1987. He finished that season with a nice .290/.308/.468 line. He played in 146 games that season. He ended up playing in over 1900 games, which is a lot for catcher. But his career games played list looks exactly like I’m talking about. He played in 17, 146, 139, 129, 100, 152, 106, 139, 101, 81, 136, 97, 15, 109, 89, 133, 126, 108, 49, 6 games.
Look at the kind of hitter Posey is. Is that the kind of career you want to see for him? Is that the kind of career he wants? If you are running a team, and you invest as much in Posey as the Giants have, and will have to if he remains a Giant, isn’t it imperative that you avoid cheapest propecia uk that result? It is to me.
As a sidenote:
Does anyone know why Sandoval isn’t playing? I haven’t heard an announcer mention a reason these last two games. Anybody?
Hat tip to David Pinto.