Sounds very good overall, but for $6.2M, I would have hoped for more than a B/B+ grading that the author assigned to Buster's potential.
Still, very good skills all around:
- Defense: Buster's athleticism has been touted for a long while, and it is here too. Due to this, he is projected to be at least average defensively with the potential to be plus.
- Ratios and splits stats: walked about twice his strikeouts - the best hitters get one walk per strikeout. So that's pretty good, albeit in college ball. I wonder what it was on Friday, when he typically faced the other team's best pitcher. In that venue, though, he was just about as good, suggesting that he probably walked a lot there too as well. And he hit well against both LHP and RHP (though hard not to do when you hit .463).
- Swing: Good for "moderately-high batting average" plus gap power for a lot of doubles, but not good for huge power. That would be great in AT&T Park. He has a couple of flaws that needs to be fixed; maybe the additional coaches that Neukom wants can help him with that.
- Overall: Sees 35+ doubles and 15-20 HR annually from Posey, with a "solid" batting average, which to me means not .300+ but high .200's, .280 to .290. Those plus the ability to take a walk results in "a pretty good offensive player." That plus playing at a premium defensive position means that he has the potential to be in the Top 5 catchers. And with his overall polish to his offensive game, he thinks Posey can move quickly. Which is good, the Giants need Posey to move really fast, ideally making the majors in 2010 after Molina's contract ends in 2009.
I know this doesn't pertain to the article, but the more I think about it, the more it makes sense the bonus amount. The main goal was getting more than Tim Beckham and Pedro Alvarez, or really, anyone, he was the Golden Spike winner, he was just as highly rated as Matt Weiters who got $6M last season, he was the top offensive guy plus played great defense, for college. Obviously, Beckham was a set target since he signed so early for $6.15M, but Alvarez was the stumbling point, what's he going to get?
Given the reports that Posey had already flew in and gotten his physical earlier in the week, I think that he and the Giants had basically agreed to most of the parameters and the Giants were willing to help him get what he wanted, which was the biggest contract, and gave him at least a couple of options, either $6.2M upfront or, if he wants more, the Giants have to go with a major league contract - which allows them to backload the payments - and the total is $7.5M but spread out over a number of years and still $6.2M present value. So the question is, which one is good enough to beat what Beckham got and Alvarez might get, because Boras likes to get the highest contract?
So they waited all week, still Alvarez is not signed, and Buster's negotiating team hit on the idea of leaking the $7.5M figure so that Boras hopefully will wave the white flag and concede. Remember, they were the ones to leak the $12M figure for Buster; and about that, the experts in the media would opine that it was to get to the higher spending clubs and scare off the cheap clubs, but the way I've always seen it is that it has dual purpose: yes, one is to reach a bigger spending club, but there is another reason to move back in the draft, and that's to reach the teams who have a better chance of winning.
Look at the top drafting clubs, do any of them really look like that they have a clue of ever winning regularly? Tampa might be winning this year, but it is the clubs who pick later who have the better chance of winning. Pittsburgh? KC? Orioles? Please, do you really want to get stuck with any of those clubs, given their past record of failures? Sometimes it works, like when Porcello fell to the Tigers. Most times it don't, like when the Orioles picked Weiters.
Anyway, don't know if Boras called to congratulate them and thus both could move on, but somehow the log jam got broken and the contract got signed by Buster for "just" the $6.2M. In any case, I don't think that it is a coincidence that Baggarly was the same person who reported the $7.5M figure plus then noted later that the delay was due to a "pissing contest" between Alvarez's agents and Posey's agents. And the Giants weren't technically "lying", deciding on the final figure of a contract is a huge negotiation point.
Back to the analysis. I would take .280+, 15+ HR, 35+ doubles with good to gold glove defense at catcher anyday. That would be huge to have under control for 6 seasons. I would have preferred seeing an A grade, and I don't quite understand why it wasn't since he can be a top 5 at his position. But, whatever, that batting line about would be great to have, particularly with a lot of walks too. That would be perfect in the #3 lineup spot, would work at #5, would be good #2 as well, since he should get on base a lot plus hits LHP as well as he hits RHP. This solves another spot in the Giants future lineup.
He gives us 3 legit middle lineup guys in Lewis, Rowand and now Posey. Add Villalona into the mix and that, assuming they hit what the appear capable of doing, would be a darn good offense, maybe Posey #2, Lewis #3, Villalona #4, Rowand #5, then we need to find us a good leadoff guy, plus Schierholtz should be OK batting #6 or 7.
And that lineup could happen as soon as 2010 if Villalona can advance like Justin Upton did and if Posey can advance fast, like both Will Clark and Tim Lincecum, two fellow Golden Spike players, did.