When the catcher pool is only seven to eight players deep, fantasy baseball players will take any good news they can get. We latch onto anything with legs and run with it, especially as the span between Spring Training and Opening Day gets shorter and shorter.
Later today, we will get that good news when San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey takes the field for the first time since breaking his leg while blocking the plate on May 25, 2011. Poseyís offensive capabilities may inevitably take him away from the catcher position, but for now, fantasy owners will be waiting with baited breath while Posey accumulates at-bats and proves that there are no lingering effects from the hit by Marlins outfielder Scott Cousins. Surely there will be rust, but if the bat gets through the zone, Posey will surely be among the top five catchers chosen in fantasy drafts.
Here is a video of the accident:
Well, that takes care of the fantasy owner in me. As for the baseball fan in me, Iím a bit troubled by part of Poseyís comeback.
Donít get me wrong, I wish Posey well and want to see him achieve a full and fruitful comeback. Heís a hell of a ballplayer and a great talent that shouldnít be lost because of a play at the plate. Rather, Iím a bit concerned with how the Giants are going about deploying Posey.
Giants manager Bruce Bochy has instructed Posey NOT to block the plate this season. It wasnít just a friendly instruction either; Bochy literally ordered Posey to not put himself in harmís way.
Now, I understand wanting to protect their 24-year-old stud prospect. They have visions of years of Poseyís services envisioned and they arenít willing to risk that over the possibility of saving one run. †The problem that I have is that blocking the plate is an essential part of the role. You strap on the tools of ignorance for many reasons, and one of those is to protect yourself from the possibility of getting plowed into by a 240 pound meathead. You canít break what has been ingrained in the kidís head for as long as heís worn the mask simply by issuing him an order.
Thatís like asking Jose Canseco to stop taking steroids.
If the Giants truly want to protect Posey, the answer isnít going to be telling to not do something that comes naturally for his position. The answer is to change his position and Spring Training is the place for it. Eventually he is going to need to move to first base, so why not start the process now? Yes, the Giants are trying to find at-bats for both Aubrey Huff and another 24-year-old stud prospect in Brandon Belt, at-bats that they limited by reducing both to solely playing first base after picking up Melky Cabrera and Angel Pagan during the offseason.
Still, the Giants know what Posey brings to the table, an offensive player that can carry the team when he is on a hot streak. Like Joe Mauer before him, his bat will likely force the Giants into making the logical decision and moving him out from behind the plate. The only question is why beat around the bush with the foolish decision to have him protect himself by not playing the game properly.
Let him get a fresh start by giving him a fresh position.
-††††††††† Many of you know that I also write occasionally for the Yahoo Contributor Network. I recently accepted and published an assignment asking me to list 5-10 things that I like about my favorite teamís rival. I found it interesting to try and come up with just those five things good to say about the Yankees. I was curious if any of you could come up with 5-10 things you like about your favorite teamís rival.
-††††††††† New Rangers pitcher Yu Darvish made his Spring Training debut on Wednesday, tossing two scoreless innings during his appearance against San Diego. Of the 36 pitchers, Darvish threw 26 strikes, sitting three down by way of the K and walking none. Sure it is his first appearance, and it was in Spring Trainings and against the Padres, but he was nonetheless impressive. It will be interesting if he can translate the success he had in Japan over to the States and do it long term. With the previous examples of Nomo and Matsuzaka both experience success, but neither was able to be consistently good. The Rangers are banking on Darvish breaking that trend.