2011 Season in Review: Catchers

Buster Posey: When we look back on Posey’s 2011 season, this will inevitably be what we remember. Posey only played in 45 games before the collision, but it’s worth noting that he had quite the impact (considering how few games he played in). Despite not even tallying 200 plate appearances, he finished third on the team in wins above replacement at 1.6; we can’t take too much from his overall numbers (.284/.368/.389), but he showed an improved walk rate (and much less power) when he was healthy. Ideally, the power will come back next season, and Posey will continue to draw more walks. In any event, 2011 for Posey will always ultimately be defined by the Cousins collision.

Hector Sanchez: There’s not much to be said for Sanchez’s time in the majors because it didn’t last all that long. He appeared in a total of 13 games this year, posting a .258/.324/.323 line in 34 plate appearances. Obviously those numbers should be taken with a grain of salt, but as a prospect, Sanchez certainly boosted his status. I ranked him sixth in my prospect rankings (an admittedly aggressive placement).

Eli Whiteside: After taking a regular role in the wake of Posey’s injury, Whiteside was everything the Giants could have expected — which is to say that he was awful. In 236 plate appearances, he hit .197/.264/.310, posting a wRC+ of 55. His defense, too, was pretty awful. Fangraphs had him at slightly above replacement level on the season, while Baseball-Reference had him at -0.5 wins.

This was pretty awesome though. As was his hopping.

Chris Stewart: Stewart proved to be the better of the two (Whiteside/Stewart) as he was actually an asset on defense. Defensive runs saved is an oversimplified evaluation of catcher defense, but it had Stewart at +9 runs above average in ~500 innings of work behind the plate. Matt Klaasen’s more all-encompassing catcher defense ratings had Stewart at +3.2 runs (also quite good). In any event, he — like Whiteside — failed to be productive on offense, putting up a .204/.283/.309 line. For what it’s worth though, he had pretty solid plate discipline (0.89 BB/K) and good contact skills (89%); unfortunately, it just didn’t translate into success for him.

Giants’ Top Twenty Prospects: Part II…10-1

In case you missed it, here’s part one. Tomorrow, I’ll post honorable mentions — prospects that just missed the list. Moving on…

10. Ehire Adrianza, age 22, SS

Plus defensive shortstop, and as such, the bar for his offense is set pretty low. Showed glimpses of potential for reaching that bar (.300/.375/.470 at San Jose).

9. Heath Hembree, age 22, RHP

Hesitant to rank him higher because of the walks and the fact that he’s a reliever, but his stuff is legit.

8. Francisco Peguero, age 23, OF

High ceiling, but the lack of plate discipline is a major issue (five walks in 296 PAs at Richmond)

7. Tommy Joseph, age 20, C

Age and positional value work to his favor, and he saw tremendous improvement (defensively and offensively) as the year went on. Plate discipline, however, is not his strong suit.

6. Hector Sanchez, age 21, C

Fairly advanced for his age, and he has quality defensive tools (as well as good power potential at the plate). That said, his conditioning could be a major roadblock in his development.

5. Eric Surkamp, age 24, LHP

He dominated Double-A, but was quite underwhelming in six starts in the majors. A low-ceiling arm, but I think he could still develop into a useful back-end starter.

4. Kyle Crick, age 18, RHP

Ace potential, but very raw at this point.

3. Andrew Susac, age 21, C

Above-average defensive catcher with on-base skills; a pretty polished product.

2. Joe Panik, age 21, SS/2B

Either he stays at shortstop, where he could be as good as average defensively, or he moves to second-base where he projects as an above-average defender. In any event, his bat plays well for a middle-infielder — good contact/on-base skills.

1. Gary Brown, age 23, CF

Legitimate all-star potential: plus defensive outfielder with speed on the basepaths, and a quality bat (especially from an up-the-middle position). Hopefully he’ll do well in his transition to Double-A Richmond (a notoriously pitcher-friendly environment).

Splash Hits: NLCS Edition

I’ve got nothing for you this morning but links…

An argument for Andres Torres – McCovey Chronicles
An argument for Andres Torres

Giants Catcher Hector Sanchez Forces His Way Into San Francisco’s Plans : Scouting the Sally
A nice profile on Hector Sanchez, who has rapidly become one of the Giants’ best prospects.

10th anniversary: No. 71 | The Hardball Times
The anniversary of Barry Bonds‘ 71st home run of the 2001 season.

Kevin Towers and the Bullpen Redemption | FanGraphs Baseball
The DBacks’ bullpen saw an improvement of 5.5 WAR from 2010 to 2011.

The Platoon Advantage: How Much Is a GM Worth?
Over at TPA, with all the speculation about Red Sox GM Theo Epstein and a possible trade to the Cubs, Mark Smith offers up some thoughts on the value of a GM.

OHHHHH WRITTEN IN THE CARDS | You Can’t Predict Baseball
A fantastic lengthy write-up on the Cardinals’ unpredictable season.

Washington Nationals 2012: Hope – Beyond the Box Score
An article I wrote for BtB on the Nationals, who look to be contenders in the near future after years of rebuilding.

The Theoretical Grade A+ Prospect – Minor League Ball
The Theoretical Grade A+ Prospect