Buster Posey: Not a first baseman

It’s hard to get a read on how this site represents the general Giants fan. I mean, you’d all wear robes for me and cut off body parts and sing songs as we waited for the locust volcano in 2012, right? That’s what you agreed to when you accepted the terms and conditions of this site, at least. We all think alike in this hive mind of ours. I form an opinion, and you accept it as your own.

Well, not really. But there certainly weren’t too many people around here who thought it would be a bad idea to start 2010 with Buster Posey at catcher. Out in the real world, there were folks who were just sure that Posey would embarrass himself and the team if he had to catch 130 or 140 major league games. He doesn’t frame pitches well, they claimed. He allows too many passed balls, they said. It was a little bit of an echo chamber in here and on other internet-type sites, but not out there. There were people with honest reservations.

My favorite excuse for why Posey couldn’t catch yet was the implication that he just couldn’t call a major league game yet. I pictured Bengie Molina in front of a 8’x10’ dry-erase board the night before a game, drinking coffee and writing an 80-page treatise on how Tim Lincecum should pitch to Corey Hart, while Posey stayed up all night drinking Hawaiian Punch and designing an awesome course for Excitebike. This world view turns every catcher -- every single one of them -- into a scholar and savant through experience alone. Experience in this world is like a goose who nibbles at the grass of your efforts and poops out aptitude, which then fertilizes the grass of your efforts. The cycle is then complete, but please note that you can’t start the cycle until you’re in it.

If Jonathan Sanchez throws three pitches, your job as a catcher is to know which of those pitches is his strongest, which one he can throw for strikes in a bases-loaded situation, which one he’s most likely to leave on a tee for Albert Pujols...there’s a lot to learn. There’s a lot to learn about the opposing hitters, too. Here’s the thing, though: the gap isn’t that huge between the catcher who learns all of that through experience and the catcher who uses common sense while picking the brain of his pitching coach. How long would it take a rookie catcher to figure out that Sanchez shouldn’t throw anything but a fastball if he needs a strike? Not long if he’s been watching the games. And if the rookie catcher calls for a 3-2 slider and misses, Dave Righetti just might sidle over after the inning is over and say something.

When Bengie Molina was allowing "wild pitch" after "wild pitch", and when runners were stealing bases like crazy (mostly off the Giants’ pitching, to be fair), the people who were convinced that Posey couldn’t handle a pitching staff yet had just one rock on which to cling. And when the Giants starting staff started to struggle a bit, when it became clear that Molina wasn’t made of magic, some of the anti-Poseyeans started to come around. It’s been two weeks since Posey was anointed the starting catcher -- is anyone still even thinking about Posey behind the plate until he does something impressive? He blends in. He’s a catcher.

So now that it’s obvious he should have been the starting catcher all along, we have the awesome "If it’s working out now, we must have handled the situation well" explanation from management. It’s as if those 32 games in Fresno this year were some sort of Gladwellian tipping point. After Posey's 31st game as a catcher this year, an angel came down and sneezed on him, which made him call for fastballs instead of one-fingered dropsy-dos. So thank goodness Molina was there to bridge the gap.

You can take that position, those who didn’t think Posey was ready. You can hold firm and believe what you want to believe. After the jump, I’ll reveal my counterpoint to that argument.

Neener neener neener neener we were right neener neener neener neener we’re smarter than you neener neener neener neener neener neener neener neener neener neener neener neener neener neener neener neener neener neener neener neener the Geno’s Pizza Rolls our moms bring down to the basement make us sooooo smart neener neener neener neener neener neener neener neener neener neener neener neener neener neener neener neener we were right. We were right. You were wrong. Buster Posey is a fine defensive catcher right now, just as he was in March. Neener.

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