Someone on Twitter yesterday called me a wet sandwich. I deserved it. The end of the spring has turned me into a fearful, timid curmudgeon. Everything is broken. Everything is ruined. The Niners will save us all, but not until August. This season is going to be one long earned run.
Except, hold it, the Giants are in second place in the Cactus League, winning at a 97-win pace. Which means nothing, considering players like Mark Minicozzi and Rando Moreno are contributing to those wins. But not everything can be bad, not if the Giants are doing this well. There have to be non-Lincecums out there.
Buster Posey, perhaps.
Yes. That'll do. I remember one year, before a fantasy draft, looking at spring stats because I'm a moron. I don't remember what year it was, but it was before Roy Oswalt was a super-established ace for the Astros, and he had something like 31 strikeouts to one walk for the whole spring. I knew the dangers of spring stats, but there's a tipping point where you can be impressed, even if the logical parts of your brain are telling you not to be. I picked Oswalt a round earlier, and he won 20 games. I also lost money that year, like I do every year, so I'm not sure where I was going.
Oh, right, spring stats. Buster Posey rolled out of bed, grabbed a bat, and faced live pitching for the first time in five months, and he struck out once. The .410 average and the stolen base (!) are also impressive, but nothing that transcends the typical foggy March stats.
That one strikeout, though. It's sticking with me. I wish it were against Chris Sale or Yu Darvish or something, but it was against Jake Petricka, so that kind of hurts the narrative. Also hurting it: small sample sizes and spring training. But I'm choosing to imbue this all with meaning. Posey is seeing the ball well, everyone. He's seeing the ball well, and he's disassembling opposing pitchers. Another way to describe it would be this:
He's first-half Posey, not second-half Posey. I don't know what manner of vampire bit him after the All-Star game, but he's not invited back. I'm a little skeptical of the fatigue claim, considering that Posey had one of the greatest second halves in the history of baseball the season after returning from injury, which would seem to be exactly when he would should have pootered out. But if Posey is the one claiming fatigue, he probably knows better than this dork, and to rectify the situation, he added ...
10 pounds of muscle
I don't know what that means in baseball terms. Like, is it in one spot? Is one forearm complete cumbersome, with the world's heaviest tricep jutting out like an impala carcass inside a python? Or maybe it's all gluteus maximus, and he can do crazy tricks now, like picking up a bat off the floor without his hands. That's neat for GIFs, but I don't know how that would help him play baseball.
Or maybe he's just stronger overall. And maybe he's going to punch fatigue right in the beans. For all the worrying and moaning I'm doing about Lincecum and Vogelsong this spring, it's probably worth laminating a card that reads, "YOUR TEAM EMPLOYS BUSTER POSEY" to keep in my wallet. Because that's an advantage unlike almost any other in baseball.
I don't know if we'll ever see a season like 2012 again from Posey, but I don't know why last year would be his new ceiling. He's still young. He should still be in his prime. He's another year removed from 2011, and he has 10 new pounds of muscle. I'm projecting big things from this Posey cat. He could be a star one of these years.
People ask me how I can pick the Giants to contend when they have a broken second baseman, a center fielder with injury concerns, a clomper in left, and two gigantic question marks in the rotation. Subconscious Posey Fêting is the clinical term. Thinking that Buster Posey is better than almost every other baseball player who has ever lived is the more colloquial way to put it.