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Where did Buster Posey's power go?

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Buster Posey's power's not here, man.

Elsa

This was a good day:

The Giants were behind early because they were a bad team that was going to lose the Wild Card Game. Buster Posey helped them out of that. On the last day of the regular season, the Giants beat the Padres with the help of a Posey dinger.

That was Sept. 28, which was 25 days and 12 games ago. It was the last extra-base hit Posey has had.

It's not that Posey is hitting horribly. He has a .288 average with five runs batted in, though his Win Probability Added suggests that he's done more to hurt the Giants at the plate, even after considering his late-inning work in Game 2 of the NLDS. Like several other players on the team, the Giants are here despite his offensive help, not because of it.

What's up with Posey?

Sample size

And done in one. But it's an off day, so there's space to fill.

He's tired

Possibly! Long, long season, after all. Except Posey has the strange Even Number Nonsense habit of getting stronger and stronger as the season progresses. It's not that he couldn't be tired because he was hot in September, just that there's no supporting evidence behind this assertion.

Note: At this point, the author actually had the bright idea to record and edit every Buster Posey at bat this postseason, spending an incredible amount of time creating a 5 GB, two-hour video that QuickTime won't let him save or edit. So it just sits there, in limbo, completely useless and eventually doomed.

DAMMIT SO MUCH. I AM SO ANGRY. I WILL KILL YOU. I'LL KILL ALL OF YOU.

Anyway, so I just watched every Buster Posey at-bat of the postseason, and I can tell you this much:

  1. He's shown a ton of warning-track power. As in, he hit five balls that came within 25 feet of being a home run. I would suggest this is a negative, except none of them came on especially powerful or good swings. They came on late or off-balance swings, for the most part. It's not like he's gotten both cheeks into the ball, to use a Krukowism, and come up short. The late swings might be a result of fatigue, but I'm not going to pretend like there's enough evidence to support that theory.

  2. If he didn't run like a guitar thrown out of a speeding van, he would have had at least two doubles, possibly three. One of the doubles-turned-singles was corralled by Matt Holliday, who fielded the ball like he was trying to catch a guitar thrown out of a speeding van. There was some glorious symmetry at work.

  3. Posey's swings and at-bats looked a lot better before the 18-inning game. Coincidence? Probably. I don't know.

  4. He's hit the ball hard on several occasions over his 57 plate appearances. His batting average on balls in play is normal (.313), and he got lucky with as many singles (two) as he got unlucky with line drive outs.

His back hurts

Like Marco Scutaro, Angel Pagan, Tim Lincecum, Brandon Belt, and Michael Morse at various points this season, Posey has experienced back pain and/or stiffness.

Wait. That's, like, a quarter of the projected 25-man roster before the season started.


Right, well, what's done is done. The back problem was the excuse for the first half with Posey, though. He had a brilliant second half, enough to pick up some top-5 MVP votes, I reckon. Every player in both dugouts is dealing with something that we don't know about. October is ruled by ouchies. It's possible that Posey is dealing with a flare-up of back pain, and it's preventing him from getting even one cheek into it.

No, seriously, sample size

In 50 at-bats, Brandon Hicks can be a power god. In 50 at-bats, everyone can freak out about Edwin Encarnacion's power, only to have him more than make up for it. I really, really wanted you to see all of those at-bats, dang it, but they're just staring at me in save-edit limbo. Part of the problem is that Posey's faced exactly three left-handers all postseason (Gio Gonzalez, Matt Thornton, and Marco Gonzales). The other part of the problem is that when Posey's hitting it hard, he's lining it. That could be a problem with his swing. It's probably just a hazard of hitting a round ball squarely with a cylindrical stick.

You might have other ideas. For now, I'm convinced that Krusty is coming.

krusty

I made that for Pablo Sandoval earlier this year, right? Krusty came. Posey is coming. Posey is coming. Posey is coming. As long as the Giants play another 40 games this postseason, we'll get to see the real Posey.

...

... wait a sec.