Draft V: Buster Move

The dry recounting of Buster Posey: He was recruited as a shortstop, but he converted to catcher a couple of years ago. He can pitch, too, which allowed him to take part in one of those wacky played-every-position stunts, but he's definitely going to be drafted as a catcher. The Rays are rumored to be interested in Posey; for all of the talent in their organization, they don't have a whole lot of promise at the catching spot. He was expected to go somewhere near the first round before the season started, but he's been one of the best hitters in the NCAA this year (.471/.572/.880. 46 BB/19 K in 208 at-bats.) He's hitting for average and power while taking walks, and he's doing it all while playing fantastic defense at a premium position. That will always get you consideration for the #1 overall pick.

But some scouts are a little wary about him. Even though he's been popping home runs at a good rate at Florida State, he doesn't project to hit more than 15 home runs at the major league level. If you want to know why a player who has hit 19 home runs in 200 college at-bats is projected to be a slap-hitter at the MLB...you should know better than to look for an answer here. I sure as heck don't know. A loop in his swing? A hitch in his get-a-long? The dreaded condition known to scouts as "lemur thumbs?" No idea. But teams looking for some unholy Mike Piazza/Pudge Rodriguez combination would likely be disappointed.

Like a Frosted Mini-Wheat or Harvey Dent, I live a polar existence. Part of me is a "best player available" guy. Forget the young pitching in the organization and forget the presence of a teenaged slugger in Low-A; the Giants need the best player they can get. The other part of me is a positional scarcity guy. A team is better off with, say, Victor Martinez and Ryan Garko than it would be with Rod Barajas and Mark Teixeira. Normal, non-Giant teams can usually find a Ryan Garko somewhere, but a catcher like Martinez or Brian McCann is harder to find. I probably err on the side of "best player available", but it's close. A fortune cookie could change my mind if the fortune were worded well enough.

I can't tell whether it's reasonable or foolish to think about the best-case scenario when mulling over who to pick with such a high pick. It's so easy to be seduced by thoughts of a Gold Glove catcher who hits .320/.410/.500. That kind of line doesn't even need to buy me a drink. It had me at ".410." But ifs and buts were candies and nuts, a frog wouldn't bump it's ass-a-hoppin'. In a draft filled with polished sluggers, the Giants don't want to whiff on a Brad Ausmus clone with their first pick and watch Justin Smoak and Yonder Alonso combine for 1,000 home runs over their careers.

But I'd be satisfied with Posey. Oh, absolutely, I would. Are you sensing a pattern here? There are about six or seven players with whom I'd be thrilled. Posey definitely falls in that category.

Comment starter: Are you a best-player-available type, or a positional-scarcity wonk?

Links:

Jacksonville.com profile
MLB draft report
College Baseball Blog profile
Grainy-ass YouTube video
BrewerFan.net profile
College Baseball Prospects profile

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