STAT LINE: 305 PAs, .241/.298/.408, 10 HRs, 31 RBIs
Boy, this website was not nice to Nick Hundley this year, was it? There was this article that I wrote at the beginning of the year about what I felt to be the team’s poor evaluation of Hundley’s offensive profile, and then this one from Sami about a poor decision to use Hundley to pinch hit less than a week later, and then Bryan called him an asshole a bunch of times when he was talking about the Puig fight. It was a lot of times. The word “asshole” was used a very significant number of times in that article. [Hi, Bryan here: hooo doggy, I was definitely one of those assholes in that article — sorry, Nick!]
Or, to put it like Alex Pavlovic (long before the asshole thing!):
man, this website really hates Nick Hundley— Alex Pavlovic (@PavlovicNBCS) April 18, 2018
I would just like to say: sorry, Nick. You didn’t deserve that. You’re a perfectly swell guy, not an asshole, and our hatred for you is unjustified.
Anyway, Nick Hundley, backup catcher, had an extremely Backup Catcher season in an extremely Backup Catcher career. His average wasn’t all that good, he didn’t get on base especially well, he did hit for a little power, and he did exactly what you’d expect.
Don’t believe me about the “exactly what you’d expect” thing?
Exactly what you’d expect.
ROLE ON THE 2018 TEAM: Before the 2017 season, Nick Hundley was signed to be the backup catcher, but he eventually became the starter because an injury to Brandon Belt and ineffectiveness from Ryder Jones meant that Buster Posey played a lot of first base, so Hundley got a total of 303 plate appearances.
Before the 2018 season, Nick Hundley was signed to be the backup catcher, but he eventually became the starter because an injury to Buster Posey meant the team needed a new catcher, so Hundley got a total of 305 plate appearances.
In 2018, Hundley did the same thing he did in 2017: be totally adequate as a backup, and then when he was thrust into a starting role, he continued to be totally adequate.
ROLE ON THE 2019 TEAM: Hundley is unsigned for 2019, and it’s entirely possible that the new regime will let him go instead of using a few million dollars to re-sign a backup catcher. If Hundley is re-signed, it’ll be as insurance to ensure the Giants have a legitimate major leaguer to catch in case Posey’s rehab takes longer than expected. He would primarily be a backup, though if he has to start at some point for an extended period, he’s capable of that.
Or he won’t come back, because why use your budget on Nick Hundley when Aramis Garcia is already in the majors and you can just sign a Tim Federowicz-type for depth and stash him in AAA if Garcia falters?
Nick Hundley was signed to be a capable backup catcher who, if Buster Posey was out of commission for some reason, would be able to handle starting duties for an extended spell. In 2018, Nick Hundley was a capable backup catcher who, when Buster Posey went out of commission due to hip surgery, was able to handle starting duties for an extended spell.
Pitchers liked throwing to Hundley, even though defensive metrics were not especially kind to him. He had some power, but also didn’t get on base at a high clip, as he’s done for his career. Baseball Reference had him at replacement level (which is bad!), while Fangraphs had him worth 0.9 WAR over half a season’s worth of plate appearances, putting him around 2 WAR for a full season (which is average!). According to them, he did well.
So we’ll split the difference. Hundley had a typical Nick Hundley season, he gave the Giants just what they expected and not a point more of OPS, and he was completely serviceable. There are worse things than serviceable. There are also better things, but there are worse things.