The San Francisco Giants went 21-14 to finish out the 2013 campaign, making Giants fans ponder where this energy and sudden spark of energy was during the dreadful stretch from June to mid August, in which they played their worst baseball in years, digging a hole that they could not get out of.
You can give credit to Hunter Pence, who hit like a madman in the month of September, including his five home runs in their late season series at Dodger Stadium. Pence started every one of the 162 games the Giants played, only sitting 16 innings during the ENTIRE season. He was also voted by his teammates as the Willie Mac award winner, given to the most inspirational player on the team.
His desire to stay in San Francisco was shown when instead of waiting until free agency to see how big of a contract he could get, Pence signed a 5 year, 90 million dollar contract to stay with the Giants.
So is Hunter Pence the emotional leader of the team? Without a doubt. But he is the real leader of the team?
No. It is Buster Posey.
The extended 2012 season took a toll on Poseys body and one could tell that he was not the same player. While he won’t blame this on his performance, he has recognized that a full off season will help into creating a new training regimen.
First off, his nine year, $167 million contract is pretty clear the Giants intend on him being the franchise player and heart and soul of the organization.
Playing the position of catcher is a very physical and emotionally draining position. He has guided wonderful pitching staffs as well as knowing the strengths of many relief pitchers. Playing the defensive position alone is as much of a burden as all other players on both side of the ball. To consider the offensive production that he provides day in and day out, including a career batting average over .300, it makes Posey the leader of this ball-club.
No, he does not need to have the fiery personality that Pence has to be the leader of the organization. Posey is the silent leader, and his teammates learned the hard way (refer: 2011) what it is like without Buster in the lineup.
Both Pence and Posey will tell you that there is no “competition” on who the leader is. They compliment each other well, bringing different aspects to the team.
But the matter of the fact is simple – the San Francisco Giants don’t go anywhere without Buster Posey. He is the player that is the foundation for a winning team. Pence simply makes it better.