It’s that time of year when people discuss the possibility of moving Buster Posey to first base full-time. We’ll take a look at why that makes sense for this team.
I heard this said on MLB Network this offseason, and I never really considered the notion, but Posey is a more powerful hitter at first base.
Looking at his career, that hasn’t exactly been true. Based on his stats on Baseball Reference, he’s hit a home run every 28 at-bats while playing first base, compared to every 29 at-bats at catcher.
That’s not exactly a huge difference that warrants a full-time move to first base. But when you think about it, it does make sense that Posey would have more power if he played first base full-time.
Squatting behind home plate all the time has to take a toll on your legs, which is obviously where you generate a lot of your power. If Posey were to spend more time at first base one would assume his legs would be stronger to generate more power.
So let’s say Posey moves to first base and gets 600 at-bats, using the data we have that means he would hit around 21 home runs a season.
But, if you consider that his legs will be even fresher, and that he’ll get even more at-bats playing every day at first base instead of resting at least one day a week as a catcher, you could see him hitting 25 a year.
That’s where he was in 2012 when he won the NL MVP by hitting .336 with 24 home runs and 103 RBI.
You also have to consider that Posey has hit .339 over his career when playing first base, and .301 when playing catcher. His on-base-percentage is also 25 points higher when playing first base.
So it’s realistic to consider that if Posey made the full-time move to first base he could be an MVP candidate again.
Plus, Posey will play the 2018 season at age 31, so he’s getting close to the back end of his career — as much as it pains Giants fans to hear that.
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At some point he’s going to have to start playing more first base.
The problem is the Giants are ‘stuck’ with Brandon Belt at first base for the next four years. I say stuck because I’m not a huge Belt supporter like some Giants fans are. I would much rather see Posey at first base and find a solid defensive catcher to replace Posey behind the dish.
But unless the Giants are able to move Belt and that contract, which seems impossible, Posey will be stuck behind the plate for the majority of the next three-to-four seasons.
And I don’t want it to sound like I hate Posey behind the plate, he’s a great defensive catcher. But I think it’s easier to find a catcher that can be just as good defensively than to find a bat that could be as powerful as he can be at first base.
This will be a debate that goes on for a while among San Francisco Giants fans for years, and its certainly something fun to talk about.