When the SF Giants signed veteran catcher Curt Casali to a one-year, $1.5 million pact this past offseason, it was not a move that received much attention. The addition of a backup catcher rarely excites a fanbase. That said, the veteran backstop has been a part of an impressive streak since joining the Giants organization.
SF Giants: Catcher Curt Casali’s impressive run
Casali did not endear himself to Giants fans earlier in the year as he struggled badly at the plate. In the first two months of the season, the right-handed bat posted an unsightly .369 in 80 plate appearances. Despite his struggles, the Giants found a way to continue winning.
He was not hitting, but he caught five consecutive shutouts in games where he was started. Since then, he has caught three more shutouts for eight shutouts in total.
His bat has come around, too. The 32-year-old had hamate surgery in December and, even though he never admitted to it, it would be fair to say that he had not fully regained the strength in his left hand until midseason. Casali was placed on the injured list at the end of May as he battled a wrist strain on the same hand that was operated on just a few months prior.
He has found his old form since being reinstated from the injured list. On the year, he is slashing .228/.331/.409 (99 OPS+) with five home runs, 23 RBI, and 18 runs scored in 173 plate appearances. He has been perfectly acceptable as a backup catcher. Interestingly, the Giants, who boast the best record in baseball at 78-43, are even better in games started by Casali.
San Francisco has posted an incredible 33-9 record in games he started. When the backup catcher takes over, you hope to keep your head above water. However, the Giants have been even better than that when Casali is behind the dish.
The coaching staff has been diligent in its handling of Buster Posey‘s workload in 2021. Posey often only plays two out of every three games, with the third game played by Casali. The longtime Giants catcher has enjoyed a career renaissance, and this could be heavily tied to managing his workload so that he does not wear down as the season progresses.
With how well the Giants have played with Casali in the lineup, Posey has been allowed to rest and recover. It might be a different story if the Giants were posting an unfavorable record with Casali at catcher.
The SF Giants performance in games started by Curt Casali might be partially a coincidence, but fans will take it one way or another. The team not only performs when the veteran catcher is on the field, but it allows them to sit Buster Posey and prepare him for what hopes to be a deep playoff run.