If it were my pick, I would have picked Justin Smoak. The switch-hitting power, combined with the the ridiculously high success rate of first-round college first basemen, would have been too much to pass up. That's not even considering how exciting it would be in the short term to see Smoak try and crack the lineup in 2009.
With that out of the way, I'm giddy to have Buster Posey in the organization. Giddy. College-polished catchers of this caliber don't pop up in every draft. There have been hitting-first guys like Jeff Clement or Matt Wieters in recent drafts, or high school projects like Ben Davis or Neil Walker, but it's rare to have a defensively sound catcher who would probably still have been a first-rounder if he were a third baseman. Jason Varitek might be a good comp, but that was almost 15 years ago, and Varitek wasn't quite as heralded as Posey is right now on either side of the ball. These guys aren't around every year. Dig through Baseball Reference's draft database, and try to find a good comparison for Posey. It's tough.
Some folks are trying to downplay Posey's offensive ceiling -- Josh Bard is one name I've read in a couple of places. I don't want to sharpen the hyperbole katana quite yet, but that seems way, way, way too glib. We all know that college stats are unreliable -- aluminum bats, small parks, inconsistent competition -- but that doesn't mean that Posey's success is irrelevant. He leads the NCAA in batting average, on-base percentage, and slugging percentage, and he has more walks than he does strikeouts. He was still considered a first-round pick entering this season, even though he only hit three home runs last season. All he did was up the total to 24. Those extra 21 homers are why every dollar that every reader on this site has ever spent on tickets, beer, malts, and foam fingers will go into Posey's pocket. That's alright. I'll make the sacrifice and pay his per diem for a couple of weeks. The boost in power might not translate perfectly to the pros, but it's nice to know that he isn't as punchless as a mid-'00s Jason Kendall.
The Jason Kendall comparison comes up a lot, too. Stop thinking of the 30-something Kendall, and try to remember the mid-20s Kendall, who was one of the best players in baseball, providing solid defense while hitting .321/.411/.473 at his peak. That was a Craig Biggio-career track until Kendall's ankle shattered into a million pieces. Hell, I'm going to bring up Biggio as a comp, too. Less speed, similar versatility, similar on-base wizardry...
...Buster Posey will have over 3,000 hits, but he'll provide Gold Glove-defense from behind the plate...Bill James will wax rhapsodic about Buster Posey, and call him the "best player of the 10s"...Posey will eventually have a big buddy at first base who will help him solve crimes, just like Jeff Bagwell....
Sorry. I figured I needed to balance out the anger from the initial draft thread. Love this pick, though. I was going to rewrite Young MC's "Bust a Move" for the occasion, but I got as far as "He's dressed in orange/he says..." before realizing that nothing rhymes with "orange."
The rest of the draft was fantastic, as well. Conor Gillaspie is an advanced college bat with a limited (but nice) upside, but the safeness of that pick is balanced by the toolsy high-upside of Roger Kieschnick, who was a top-50 prospect according to Baseball America. While the Gillaspie pick was perfect for an organization without a dependable option at third base, my favorite pick of the day (non-Posey division) is the fourth-rounder, Brandon Crawford. Crawford was ranked in Baseball America's preseason list of top-30 prospects, but he struggled this season. He was the anti-Gordon Beckham, as his 2008 performance moved him to the back of the first day instead of the front of the first round. There's about a 10% chance that Crawford ever makes an impact at the major league level, but that can be said of any fourth-round pick. Few are as highly thought of at any point in their careers as Crawford was before this season, though.
Sure bets, wild chances, no limited-ceiling pitchers early...I'm enamored of this draft. We won't know for a few years how it actually turns out, but that's alright. I plan to overdose on heroin before then. So for the moment, I'm feeling that weird, tingly sensation of...of...hope?
It'll do for tonight. Tomorrow, Rich Aurilia will ground into a quadruple play. We'll deal with that then.