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Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Giants’ Buster Posey likely to have season-ending hip surgery - SFChronicle.com

Six-time All-Star catcher Buster Posey, slowed this season by hip issues that caused him to miss the All-Star Game, faces likely hip surgery that would cut short his season.

“I’d say that that’s a safe assumption,” said Brian Sabean, executive vice president of baseball operations.

Jim Furtado Posted: August 22, 2018 at 10:09 AM | 25 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: buster posey, giants

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   1. The Duke Posted: August 22, 2018 at 04:48 PM (#5731846)
This is why catcher hall of fame cases are always hard. He’s still a HOF’r in my book but his days behind the plate could be done
   2. Panik on the streets of London (Trout! Trout!) Posted: August 22, 2018 at 05:22 PM (#5731858)
Why? Is this injury considered so serious that he won't catch again?
   3. Walt Davis Posted: August 22, 2018 at 06:24 PM (#5731883)
Catching would seem to put a lot of strain on the hip ... not as much as the knees I suppose but I too would assume this has a good chance of ending his days behind the plate. Catcher requires a lot of mobility, hip surgery doesn't sound like a good thing. He was already getting a lot of time off back there -- less than 100 starts last year, on pace for about the same this year, only two seasons of 120 starts. That was to keep his bat in the lineup (with starts at 1B).

So it's not so much that it's "so serious he won't catch again" as it is that any catching in your early-mid 30s while maintaining a good bat is already a pretty rare phenomenon that any lower joint injury requiring surgery would seem to be a lot of extra risk. In the absolute sense of injury severity, it's not as serious as "injury serious enough he'll never play LF again."

Shifting off C would likely derail his HoF chances. He's at "just" 40 WAR and has had a down year with the bat. If the bat bounces back, he might be a 3 WAR 1B for a couple of years but I doubt he would project to make it much past 50 WAR. That with fewer than 900 starts at C would be a pretty weak case. There's also the issue that Belt is signed through 2021 (as is Posey with a 2022 option) -- Belt has played a bit of LF somewhere between not too bad and terrible, Posey maybe could pick up 3B.

I don't want to downplay his chances. The bat could be good enough to put up some nice hitting numbers -- maybe a less-injured, more consistent VMart. He still seems to run pretty well so maybe a move to LF would work (maybe a more balanced version of Schwarber). And of course maybe he's got another 600 starts at C with good hitting left in him. For all we know, he's the next Fisk.

So, before this, he was already turning 32 and having an off year with the bat and starting only 100 games a year behind the plate. Injury or not, you'd have to start wondering how much longer he could stay back there, whether moving him elsewhere would help his bat, whether the bat or the wear and tear would mean you wouldn't be giving him a bunch more starts at 1B. Now we've added a hip injury to all of that. The only "good" news there is maybe the injury is responsible for the off year with the bat and maybe that will bounce back.

Anyway, Kendall's bat fell apart at 31 (more serious injury history than Posey). Pudge2's bat took a big dive at 33 but he remained a solid hitter for a C through 36. Yadier's bat -- well, it's been all over the place in his career but it's been good for a C, not really good enough for 1B for 32-35. Piazza held up in all regards through age 34 and was still plenty valuable for 35-37. Mauer became an average low-power 1B; VMart had a couple of good 1B/DH seasons left in him. Those are the recent success stories.

Piazza added 18 oWAR after age 31 ... 13 WAR but it's not clear Rfield accurately captures his defensive value. With that, Posey probably gets in. Pudge2 added 14 WAR, on an average C bat and a bit of defense ... enough to put Posey in the conversation. If Yadier gets in, it will be on grit points but he's put up a solid 8 WAR for 32-35 -- but Posey probably needs to do better than that, possibly by catching past 35 as Yadier will.
   4. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: August 22, 2018 at 06:29 PM (#5731888)
So it's not so much that it's "so serious he won't catch again" as it is that any catching in your early-mid 30s while maintaining a good bat is already a pretty rare phenomenon that any lower joint injury requiring surgery would seem to be a lot of extra risk.

Yeah, but if he's down to a 105-115 wRC+ level hitter, can he field any other position where that is valuable?
   5. Mefisto Posted: August 22, 2018 at 06:36 PM (#5731890)
As a Giants fan, let me just say oh ####.
   6. Walt Davis Posted: August 22, 2018 at 06:36 PM (#5731891)
FWIW, back when Kendall went from Pitt to Oak, I did some comps. Kendall at the time was among the all-time leaders in games caught through age 30. I think I did some comps among heavily-used guys but also a couple of comps using more general sets of Cs. My memory is that, no matter which comp set I used, the results came out about the same. There was a 25% chance that both the durability and the bat (in normal decline) remained; a 25% chance that the bat survived but the durability didn't; a 25% chance the durability survived but the bat didn't; and a 25% chance that both collapsed.

I wouldn't have looked at injury but one wouldn't think that hip surgery makes the rosy outcome more likely. I don't recall what I did with position shifters although, at the time, I don't know any C had had much success with it other than Torre (and still just 7 WAR after 31). BJ Surhoff now springs to mind and I am surprised to learn that he added 16 WAR after age 31. In terms of defensive usage to date and hitting style, he's a decent comp for Posey while being substantially worse than Posey.
   7. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: August 22, 2018 at 08:42 PM (#5731955)
Posey's playing and catching tonight.
   8. Howie Menckel Posted: August 22, 2018 at 09:17 PM (#5731979)
Posey's playing and catching tonight

buzzkill!
   9. Meatwad Posted: August 22, 2018 at 09:24 PM (#5731984)
I cant figure out why they are delaying the surgery? They having nothing .uch to play for this year.
   10. The Yankee Clapper Posted: August 22, 2018 at 09:37 PM (#5731994)
Any surgery is always somewhat concerning, but I haven't seen anything indicating that Posey couldn't make a full recovery. Age is creeping up on him (and apparently everyone else), but he may not be done catching, and building his HoF case.
   11. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: August 22, 2018 at 09:50 PM (#5732004)
I cant figure out why they are delaying the surgery? They having nothing .uch to play for this year.

Well, if he's catching, maybe it isn't necessary. You don't do surgery unless you have to. Bad things happen.
   12. Walt Davis Posted: August 23, 2018 at 02:08 AM (#5732107)
I haven't seen anything indicating that Posey couldn't make a full recovery.

For joint surgery, there's usually no such thing as "full recovery." There's "maybe 95% what it was" recovery. I don't doubt there's a reasonable chance he can return as a C. I'd also guess there's a good chance he would need more rest and, given he's already down to about 100 starts a year at C, that might be 80 starts. If the only other position he plays is 1B then, assuming they hold onto Belt, he might not start more than 30 games a year there.

Again, all I'm really saying is that Cs that don't decline substantially in their early 30s are fairly rare. A hip injury clearly increases the risk of needing to move off of or severely limit time at C. You never now what HoF standards might change to but he probably needs at least 15 WAR and another 600-700 starts at C to have much shot.

Yeah, but if he's down to a 105-115 wRC+ level hitter, can he field any other position where that is valuable?

Right. If his bat this year (104 OPS+) is his bat of the future, then he needs to be at least a half-time C or move to 3B to have much value at all (and has little chance at the HoF). But in the years prior to this one, he averaged a 135 OPS+ or 124 for 2015-17 if you prefer. That's still a bat that can tolerate a bit of decline and play 1B ... except for Belt.
   13. Steve Parris, Je t'aime Posted: August 23, 2018 at 07:54 AM (#5732128)
Devin Mesoraco has had surgeries on both hips. He has certainly not been a model of health, but he's at least shared catching duties for most of this year.
   14. Don August(us) Cesar Geronimo Berroa Posted: August 23, 2018 at 08:13 AM (#5732130)
Dang it. I need him to keep putting up positive WAR to improve my birthday team! :-)
   15. Mefisto Posted: August 23, 2018 at 08:42 AM (#5732138)
Posey might actually be able to play 3B. He played SS as late as freshman year in college.
   16. Nasty Nate Posted: August 23, 2018 at 08:56 AM (#5732144)
Devin Mesoraco has had surgeries on both hips. He has certainly not been a model of health, but he's at least shared catching duties for most of this year.
what did that do to his HOF chances?
   17. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: August 23, 2018 at 09:31 AM (#5732161)
Anyone hear an update? Posey caught 8 innings last night (road loss). That makes me question this whole article.
   18. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: August 23, 2018 at 11:43 AM (#5732264)
If the only other position he plays is 1B then, assuming they hold onto Belt, he might not start more than 30 games a year there.


He could also be their full time DH for interleague games. 90 @ C, 30 @ 1B, 10 @ DH = 130G with an above average bat and good D, he could be putting up 3-4 WAR seasons...which yeah, could still leave him short. Sorta needs to hold on for another 6-8 years at least.
   19. Morty Causa Posted: August 23, 2018 at 12:05 PM (#5732279)
Posey seems to be almost exactly comparable to Gene Tenace at this point. Close to same time in MLB, games caught, OPS+, WAR. I know Tenace is considered to have been immensely undervalued when he was in the midst of his career, so Posey has the advantage that he's not, but is it enough?
   20. Ziggy's screen name Posted: August 23, 2018 at 04:51 PM (#5732499)
Wow, Gene Tenace was about 4000% better than I remembered. He's a shockingly good comp for Posey. Tenace with an MVP award and a bunch of all-star games? Maybe. I dunno.
   21. QLE Posted: August 23, 2018 at 07:30 PM (#5732580)
I'd argue an essential difference between Posey and Tenace, at least at the current time:

Posey has played 885 games at catcher so far, out of 1110 games total, equaling 79.7% of all games played.

Tenace played 892 games at catcher, out of 1551 games total, equaling 57.5% of all games played.

This difference shows even moreso looking at their best years by WAR- Posey, in his best years, has tended to play at least 70% of his defensive innings at catcher (in his MVP year of 2012, it reached 81%, and 88% in 2013), while some of Tenace's best seasons (like 1973, 1974, and 1978) are ones where he played more first base (and, in 1973, far more- only 16.5% of his defensive innings were spent catching) than catcher.

Superficially, they have similar WAR and WAA totals- but I would argue that Posey's WAR is more valuable than Tenace's because it is harder to get that level of WAR/WAA from a catcher, making his more-frequent use in that position more valuable.

That said, it is hard to see what the BBWAA will see- at the moment, Posey is at the borderline with Bill Freehan and Jorge Posada, both of whom were one-and-done in spite of success with championship teams (so intangibles aren't likely to save Posey), and a lot will depend on whether or not 2018 is an aberration for Posey or his new normal, as I suspect he will need another couple of season's worth of All-Star level play to be secure with that body.
   22. BDC Posted: August 23, 2018 at 08:37 PM (#5732610)
The way I see it, the only really close comp to Posey through age 31 is a solid Hall of Famer:

Player         dWAR OPS+   PA Rbaser    G  HR RBI  BB   BA  OBP  SLG    Pos
Buster Posey    9.3  132 4703   
-0.2 1143 133 634 448 .306 .374 .465 *23/HD
Bill Dickey     4.5  130 4944    0.4 1225 154 899 422 .322 .383 .510   
*2/


Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 8/23/2018.

Dickey added another excellent season at age 32 (for the 1939 Yankees), and then faded fast into more part-time and platoon play, though he would win another couple of WS rings in his mid-30s. (Through age 27, Posey led Dickey in rings 3-1, but Dickey caught up in a hurry :)

Like QLE, I don't know what this bodes for Posey with the HOF voters right now. I recently thought of Posey as having a very strong chance, but if he stops playing now he's barely eligible, and if he stops catching he has the Joe Mauer problem. If he moves to 1B and has a bunch of 30-HR/100-RBI seasons in his 30s, though, that's a different story.
   23. The Duke Posted: August 23, 2018 at 10:59 PM (#5732716)
Posey is one of the two best catchers of his era. I dont see how that doesn’t get him into the Hall. Catchers aren’t being evaluated right which is clear from the Simmons debacle, freeman etc.

   24. Howie Menckel Posted: August 23, 2018 at 11:09 PM (#5732723)
Posey seems to be almost exactly comparable to Gene Tenace at this point. Close to same time in MLB, games caught, OPS+, WAR.

I remember Gene Tenace.
excellent C-1B with 892 G at C and 625 at 1B
729 BB in 7 year peak

reminds me of Ralph Kiner - a few really good hitters knew the value of a walk before MLB tradition did.

and Tenace rarely batted 8th in NL (20 pct walk rate when he did, but is that so bad?)

I don't rate him with Posey, either, but definitely underrated

   25. The Yankee Clapper Posted: August 25, 2018 at 01:17 PM (#5733586)
Posey opts for surgery, 6-8 months recovery time:
Posey will visit Dr. Marc J. Philippon, in Vail, Colorado, for the procedure to repair his labrum and to remove a bone spur in his right hip. The recovery timeline could cause him to miss part, if not all, of spring training, but Posey was optimistic. "If things go smoothly with no hiccups, I'll be ready to go next Opening Day," Posey told reporters Friday.

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