Coming out of the 2015 season, Andrew Susac appeared to be entrenched as the San Francisco Giants’ second catcher—and perhaps even as the future starter if and when Buster Posey permanently moves out from behind the plate.
That no longer is the case, at least for now.
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Susac, who has been battling back from wrist surgery, was optioned to Triple-A, with Trevor Brown taking his place.
This is only probably a temporary arrangement. While Brown, 24, is considered to be a better manager of pitchers, he will is a liability on offense. Yes, is batting .324 this spring. But he is a .244 hitter in 1,230 career minor league plate appearances, with a paltry .616 OPS.
On the flipside, Brown was announced as the Barney Nugent Award winner, a Spring Training honor, voted on by the players, that goes to the first-year player who best exemplifies the Giants’ spirit.
Matt Duffy, Brandon Belt and Tim Lincecum are some of the past winners. So are Mark Minicozzi (who?) and Brock Bond (who?) in the past couple seasons.
Susac isn’t exactly a monster at the plate, but he has a track record that at least suggests he can be adequate at the plate. While he struggled at the plate in 2015, with a .666 OPS, he looked decent in his first taste of major league ball in 2014, when he posted a .792 OPS—which is also his OPS in 1,037 career minor league plate appearances.
It’s possible that Susac could take a while to make his way back to the big club if his recovery continues to come along slowly—he only went to the plate 26 times this spring and recently was still experiencing shooting pain up his arm—or if the Brown proves to be so superior at calling a game that the Giants decide they can tolerate his weak bat.for