Andrew Susac Gives the San Francisco Giants Options Regarding Buster Posey


Aug 3, 2014; New York, NY, USA; (editors note: caption correction) San Francisco Giants starting pitcher

Madison Bumgarner

(40) is greeted by catcher

Andrew Susac

(34) after striking out New York Mets catcher Travis d

The long-awaited arrival of Andrew Susac in a San Francisco Giants uniform is over. After accumulating 55 plate appearances over the course of twenty games, Susac is putting up some impressive numbers. While Buster Posey is the Giants’ catcher, what with the contract and all, Andrew Susac gives the Giants brass some things to think about when the offseason begins.

In his 55 plate appearances, Susac has hit three dingers (home runs, not the Rockie’s mascot), driven in 15, and is batting .288 with an OBP (on-base percentage) of .327. Compared to Posey’s numbers when he was first called up in 2009, Susac has the clear advantage. Granted, Posey only garnered 17 at-bats, but he hit just .118 and scored a single run.

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Power numbers aside, the statistic that stands out to me is Susac’s strikeout rate. In his 55 plate appearances, Susac has K’d 12 times (21.8 percent). That is a little high, but being that this is his first rodeo, we’ll leave that as something that he needs to work on heading in to next season. Again, comparing this statistic to Posey’s first time up, Gerald struck out in 4 of his 17 at-bats (23.5 percent).

Nowadays, Posey K’s a lot less consistently. This season he is at a 12.7 percent clip.

This isn’t to say that striking out is the be all end all. Adam Dunn has made a career out of it. Heck, in Posey’s MVP season in 2012, he held an 18 percent K rate.

In addition to Susac’s early returns with his power numbers, his dWAR (defensive wins above replacement) is at a 0.2 in very limited playing time. Not to pick on him, but Posey’s dWAR this season is 0.

Enough of the Posey/Susac comparison. You get it. Susac is good. Let’s talk future implications.

With Posey under contract until he grows old, he’s not going anywhere. There is always speculation about moving Posey to first base, and possibly moving Brandon Belt to left field. While this would save the team money by not having to pay a new left fielder, Belt has been injured most of the year. Combine his injury history with that of Angel Pagan, and you’re left with Hunter Pence to roam the outfield by his lonesome.

Actually, I think Pence would do a hell of a job by himself out there. Let’s do that. Good talk. End of article.

Just in case the Giants don’t go that route, let’s think of a scenario that works even better for the team moving forward. With Pablo Sandoval likely departing via free agency this winter, the Giants should move Posey to the other corner on the diamond; third. A couple of months ago, I detailed this move in The Posey Problem. This is a move that has been talked about by Bruce Bochy in the past as well, as Andrew Baggerly reported last season.

Many will argue that Posey’s value is behind the plate. It’s true, his numbers are among the game’s best at the position. Posey ranks first among qualified catchers (enough at-bats) in baseball in batting average (.305) and RBI (78) and second in home runs (20) to Devin Mesoraco of Cincinnati. It should be noted that Yadier Molina, Posey’s main competition in the best-catcher-in-baseball conversation only played in 89 games this season before suffering a thumb injury and has yet to return.

Posey is valuable behind the plate, but moving him to the hot corner would save the Giants millions upon millions, and wouldn’t waste the talents of the younger Susac in a backup role. Think Posey can’t handle the move? As a freshman at Florida State, Posey handled shortstop duties before his coach decided to make him a catcher.

Oakland Athletics’ third baseman Josh Donaldson was a catcher at one point, too. He switched positions and now ranks second in baseball in WAR (6.97) to Clayton Kershaw (7.39) according to ESPN.

Having Posey in a mentor role to Susac while saving his legs will benefit the Giants both short and long-term. In the short term, it saves the Giants from the weight of a Panda contract. In the long-run, it will save Posey’s legs and will ensure that he can remain productive throughout the life of his contract, which ends in 2022.