Giants Call Up Buster Posey
Posey, 23, was San Francisco's top draft pick in 2008. He had hit .349 for Triple-A Fresno, with six homers, a .552 slugging percentage, a .442 on-base percentage and a .995 OPS. The Florida State product had a brief cameo in San Francisco last September, going 2-for-17 at the plate in seven games.
With Bengie Molina the regular starter behind the plate, the Giants are expected to play Posey at first base at least occasionally to get his bat in the lineup. Aubrey Huff, who has played first all year for the Giants, did make one start in left field Tuesday.
Only Pittsburgh and Houston have scored fewer runs than the Giants among NL clubs, but San Francisco's pitching has kept the team above .500 and firmly in the NL West race.
Although it might seem like a no-brainer for a team having trouble scoring runs to bring up its top offensive prospect when he's hitting .349 at Triple-A, it is a move with some risk.
First, Posey already has 33 days of major league service time from last September, so if he's up for the remaining 128 days of this season and all of 2011 and 2012, he will be a Super Two arbitration-eligible. That could cost the Giants around $2-3 million of their 2013 payroll under normal circumstances.
Also, Posey is a catcher. That's where his bat is most valuable. Posey profiles as a Brian McCann type. Right now, though, it's not easy to play him as a catcher because of Molina's presence. Although Molina has been slumping at the plate and he seems to be getting worse behind the plate, he still calls a good game. Tim Lincecum especially loves throwing to Molina. Jonathan Sanchez, who has more talent than pitching acumen, needs a catcher who knows what fingers to put down.
Posey still needs work with pitch-calling. Either the Giants' talented pitching staff is going to be handicapped when he's back there, or he's going to play first base, which will not do anything to speed his development as a catcher.
When Posey is playing first, the Giants would most likely put Huff in left field, which is going to make an already suspect defensive team even worse. Posey is athletic enough to be passable at first. He was a shortstop until his sophomore year at Florida State, when he moved behind the plate.
Also, when Edgar Renteria comes back from the DL in a few weeks, the Giants aren't going to be able to get Juan Uribe's bat in the lineup if Posey is at first. (They would have moved Pablo Sandoval to first and put Uribe at third.) Scary as this may be, Uribe has been their best hitter. You'd hate to think the Giants would send Posey back down when Renteria comes off the DL.
So Posey's bat will have to cause the Giants to increase their run production more than his work behind the plate (or Huff's work in left field) decreases their run prevention. That is no lock. And, even if the net result is an improved run differential, will it be enough to make a difference?
FanHouse Senior MLB Writer Jeff Fletcher contributed to this report.