Buster Posey Is Running; Hector Sanchez is Cool

The news is good:

Following the schedule the Giants prescribed, catcher Buster Posey has added running to his workout regimen as he continues efforts to heal his left leg in time for the 2012 season.

As swell as it is to think about the return of a full-strength Buster Posey, it's not like he's recovering from a hangnail. I was, and still am, afeared that he's going to return as Busters Posey, and one of his legs will be two inches shorter than the other. Though I guess in this analogy, the Giants would sign one of the best players in history to replace him, so it wouldn't be all bad. But I remember following the Kendry(s) Morales saga last year, and it was beyond depressing.

And as I was typing that -- literally! -- this headline came across the Twitter tape: Kendrys Morales cleared "to begin running on his own power". Synchronicity! Horrible, terrifying synchronicity!

But the news has been uniformly positive on the Posey front, for the most part. Well, other than the "Giants expect Posey to solve everything" news from this offseason. That isn't a small consolation prize. We can moan and grouse and grumble about all sorts of things, but it's not like the walls are caving in from all sides. It's not nearly that bad. It's more like someone isn't fixing that loose step on the front porch that Pappy done busted his knee on.

The good Posey news -- the absence of bad news is the same thing -- also gives me a chance to review the badassery of one of my favorite prospects in the Giants system. Hector Sanchez had a stellar offseason in the Venezuelan Winter League, and he is likely to win the league's equivalent of the Rookie of the Year award.

Sanchez has been the Official Underrated Prospect of McCovey Chronicles for years, dating back to the days when he was just a kid in rookie ball putting up great OBPs. He started in San Jose after not even making Baseball America's top-30 list before the 2011 season. He's the #10 prospect in the system now according to BA, which still qualifies him for OUPMCC eligibility.

Consider:

  • Sanchez just turned 22
  • He's a switch-hitter
  • His defensive reputation is sound (and he looked good in a small trial with the Giants)
  • His extra-base power started to show up in San Jose

A great prospect? A reason to move Posey to third (with Sandoval moving to left, and Belt to center, of course)? Nah. But the big knock on Sanchez is the lack of patience he showed in San Jose, with a 49/11 K/BB ratio in 212 at-bats. Yet when you look at his minor league history, that great bat control and walk rate is right there, dang it. So tantalizingly close.

Year Age Lev PA 2B HR BB SO BA OBP SLG
2007 17 FRk 146 10 4 19 15 .286 .401 .471
2008 18 FRk 254 14 4 36 29 .348 .458 .502
2009 19 Rk 139 8 1 16 21 .299 .403 .410
2010 20 A 341 20 5 28 50 .274 .336 .394
2011 21 A+-AAA 396 23 12 24 71 .285 .328 .452
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table Generated 1/10/2012.


He has only had 1200 professional at-bats, too. Without looking, that's what I'd guess Miguel Tejada had last year. And his performance is all over the map. He hits for average until he doesn't, he works the count until he doesn't, and his secondary average is lacking until it isn't. He's sort of a Rorschach prospect, and right now I'm looking at the ink blot and seeing something like Gregg Zaun, but with a higher batting average.

Which would be awesome. So awesome. Maybe a touch optimistic. But still awesome.

The point of the Sanchez feting isn't to hint that it's good that the Giants have another catcher around because of that whole Posey thing, but rather to express admiration for one of my favorite prospects, who happens to complement Posey very well.

When Posey comes back, he can't possibly start more than 120 games behind the plate. Hector Sanchez might be ready. When Posey needs a day off, and a tough right-hander is scheduled, or if he just needs to give his knees a break, Hector Sanchez could be there. Hector Sanchez is a sensible low-carb solution, and he'll get rid of your tennis elbow. Hector Sanchez.

But more importantly: Buster Posey. Between the two (and Tommy Joseph and Andrew Susac), I'd be disappointed if the Giants weren't catching-hoarding fools that the rest of the league envied for the next decade.

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