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Buster Posey is the NL Rookie of the Year

Nov 15, 2010, 2:06 PM EDT

San Francisco Giants v Texas Rangers, Game 4 Getty Images

The BBWAA has released the results, and Buster Posey is the National League Rookie of the Year.

As expected, Posey and Heyward were number one and number two. Following them on the ballot were Jaime Garcia, Gaby Sanchez, and Neil Walker, respectively. Starlin Castro was sixth. I was rather surprised to see anyone get first place votes besides Posey and Heyward, but Garcia got one and Sanchez got two. I was also surprised to see the BBWAA website spell Jason Heyward’s name incorrectly — they went with “Hayward” –  but I suppose I’m the last one who can get on anyone about typos.

Posey put up a .305/.357/.505 line  18 homers, 23 doubles and 67 RBI while playing excellent defense at catcher. Heyward’s line was .277/.393/.456, with 18 homers, 29 doubles and 72 RBI. While not nearly as valuable defensively as the catcher Posey, Heyward was solid in right field himself.

The biggest difference, of course, was playing time, with Heyward began the season on the big club while Posey, in contrast, cooled his heels in Fresno for nearly two months, making his 2010 debut on May 29th.  The voters obviously felt that the 77 plate appearance difference between the two was not large enough to be the determining factor.

Like I said yesterday: neither Heyward nor Posey could complain about coming in second to the other.  Either would have been a fabulous choice. As it stands, that choice is Buster Posey.

  1. seeingwhatsticks - Nov 15, 2010 at 2:15 PM

    Went to the right guy. Writers would have looked really stupid if Heyward had won after Posey became the first rookie catcher to win a World Series in 40+ years, and the first to bat cleanup in the World Series in 60+. I know ballots are returned before the playoffs and everything, but after what we all saw they’d have had a hard time defending themselves.

    • nps6724 - Nov 15, 2010 at 2:21 PM

      Those are the 2 worst reasons for picking a winner I’ve ever seen. Neither is an actual accomplishment. Not only that, but he didn’t exactly do a whole helluva lot in the World Series (1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 BB, 6 SO). He certainly wasn’t The Guy during it.

      Posey earned the award on actual merits, not some made-up garbage.

      • billtpa - Nov 15, 2010 at 2:53 PM

        Yeah, excactly what nps said. Except that Heyward earned it more.

      • scottster63 - Nov 15, 2010 at 5:01 PM

        heyward did not have a 21 game hitting streak like Posey in the reg season to help his team

  2. PanchoHerreraFanClub - Nov 15, 2010 at 2:19 PM

    Posey had as many HRs and nearly as many RBIs in 77 fewer AB. Another postive for Posey, he stayed healthly at a position that is much hard to do that than Heyward.

    • seeingwhatsticks - Nov 15, 2010 at 2:28 PM

      I didn’t say he deserved it because the Giants won, I’m saying after the Giants won, with the impact he had on all facets of the game since the time he was called up, the writers would have had some explaining to do. His contributions with the bat and behind the plate led directly to winning games, which is what it’s all about.

      Also, you really can’t say Posey did nothing in the World Series, regardless of what his stat line is. Just look at game 4: guns Hamilton at second, hits a solo shot to provide an insurance run, and oh by the way he and Bumgarner formed the first rookie battery to start a World Series game since 1947, and all Buster did was guide the rookie to 8 shutout innings. So yeah, he didn’t do much.

      • seeingwhatsticks - Nov 15, 2010 at 2:29 PM

        Sorry, that was meant to be a reply to nps6724.

      • scatterbrian - Nov 15, 2010 at 2:33 PM

        The postseason awards have absolutely nothing to do with the playoffs, so there’s no point in making the connection.

      • nps6724 - Nov 15, 2010 at 2:40 PM

        Compared to several of his teammates, his contribution to the World Series was far less. He didn’t suck, but his performance is hardly one to point to as an example of greatness or award-worthy. I mean, your examples are throwing out a runner and hitting a solo HR that wasn’t even a game-winner. I’m also hesitant to give Posey all the credit for the game Bumgarner pitched like you are.

        The writers wouldn’t have had to explain a damn thing if Heyward had won. They were 1 and 1A. Both deserved to win.

      • seeingwhatsticks - Nov 15, 2010 at 2:44 PM

        Again, I’m not saying he should have won because of what happened in the playoffs. What I’m saying is, the postseason is what is all freshest in our minds right now and for a lot of people that was their first chance to see either Heyward or Posey play at all. So based on what we saw, which was a poor performance from Heyward and an almost unprecedented run by Posey, had the award then gone to Heyward a lot of casual fans would be scratching their heads and saying the writers got it wrong. And it would be the same deal if Heyward had gone crazy while Posey was cold, the Braves beat the Giants and went on to win the World Series. Under those circumstances if the award had gone to Posey it would seem strange to a lot of people.

      • nps6724 - Nov 15, 2010 at 2:53 PM

        It would only seem strange to dumb people who didn’t pay attention to the sport. Anyone who cared about baseball in the slightest knew exactly who these guys were. Well, except for a pair of voters.

        Here we go again with this “unprecedented” stuff. Posey had a decent postseason. That’s it. Uribe, Burrell, Renteria, and Ross all had more to do with the Giants winning in October than Posey.

        This has never been a problem in the past; no reason it should be now.

      • scottster63 - Nov 15, 2010 at 4:58 PM

        hello? postseason does not factor. can anyone say 21 game hitting streak? what other rookies have had such a streak, in the history of sports? the profile of the names will shock you…

    • bigdicktater - Nov 15, 2010 at 6:38 PM

      Oh man, I grew up watching Pancho play in AAA, he was great! Oh yeah, Posey deserved the award too.

  3. scatterbrian - Nov 15, 2010 at 2:34 PM

    I’d like to hear the reason why someone left both Posey and Heyward out of the top three…. Astounding.

  4. NickT - Nov 15, 2010 at 3:00 PM

    You subtracted Heyward’s at-bats (520) from Posey’s plate appearances (443). As one of my professors liked to say, “I give you F.”

    Posey had 443 plate appearances and Heyward had 623. The difference is 180, not 77. I agree they are both good choices, but Heyward played the equivalent of an extra quarter of a season.

    • NickT - Nov 15, 2010 at 3:12 PM

      I should have said, you subtracted Posey’s plate appearances from Heyward’s at-bats. See, that’s why my professor was always saying that.

  5. scottster63 - Nov 15, 2010 at 4:53 PM

    I don’t recall any of the rookies besides Posey having a month and season-saving performance like his in July – 21 game hitting streak! It saved the Giants season and carried them. Second behind senior Bonds I think for team lead as a rookie. What other rookies have had a 21 game hitting streak after call up? The guy is special. So is Heyard, just not as much. BTW: Posey had a good post season though his numbers did not show it in the World Series so much. But hey, he did homer in the WS!

    • nps6724 - Nov 15, 2010 at 5:19 PM

      Heyward’s not as special because Posey had a longer hitting streak? I swear, some of these arguments are ridiculous. Posey’s great July was supported by a .424 BABIP. A lot of that was luck.

      If you want to go by who did more for his team, here ya go.

      Posey was 5th in 2B, tied for 5th in 3B, 3rd in HR, 3rd in RBI, 12th in SB, 7th in BB, 8th in SO, 1st in BA, 3rd in OBP, 3rd in SLG, 3rd in OPS, 4th in WAR, 4th in WPA.

      Heyward was 2nd in 2B, 1st in 3B, 2nd in HR, 2nd in RBI, 2nd in SB, 1st in BB, 1st in SO, 3rd in BA, 1st in OBP, 2nd in SLG, 1st in OPS, 2nd in WAR, 1st in WPA.

      Posey was obviously at a disadvantage due to having fewer PA than most of his teammates, but even if you just look at rate stats, Heyward was more important to his team. Heyward was the 2nd-best hitter on the team behind Prado, who had himself an excellent year as well. Posey was 3rd behind Huff and Burrell, who also had great years.

      The two were neck-and-neck and it didn’t matter who was picked because both were very deserving.

      • gmen5 - Nov 15, 2010 at 6:06 PM

        You fail to see the value that catchers have in “calling the game”… you know, fastball, inside, outside, curve, etc? Posey is a damn good game caller… especially for a rookie. Talk about poise and composure, this guy is already ahead of a lot of the catchers in the league at calling a game, and then there’s his hitting. He was more than solid since his call up….. and then there’s the playoffs…. who’s batteries had the best stats? Hmmm.

        Posey more than deserved it.

      • nps6724 - Nov 15, 2010 at 6:40 PM

        I don’t not see the value in “calling the game”, I just question how much credit Posey deserves for it. Tim Lincecum won 2 Cy Young awards before Posey showed up and was actually markedly worse this year than last year. Cain was already a good young pitcher who was slightly better last year than this year. Zito didn’t show any improvement. Sanchez improved from a year ago and Bumgrarner was a rookie. He may very well call a good game, but there’s no way to prove it. And what circumstantial evidence there is, it doesn’t prove it either.

        I mean, are we really going to give him credit for Lincecum’s success? The Giants have been building their rotation up for several years now. Lincecum, Cain, and Bumgarner were all 1st-round picks, Sanchez was their #2 prospect in 2007, and Bumgarner was rated the 9th-best prospect in baseball in 2009. Javy Lopez didn’t get credit when Maddux, Glavine, and Smoltz were winning Cy Youngs and mowing teams down, ya know.

        I agree Posey deserved the award. But so did Heyward. Which is why he won the Baseball America RotY. You can’t go wrong with either guy.

  6. tjmwp - Nov 15, 2010 at 7:04 PM

    GMEN is right on. NPS says there is no proof for calling the game? How about the Giants were 39-36 (.520) on July 1 when Molina was traded and Posey got the starting job. After that: 53-34(.609) with Posey as the catcher.

    Also NPS, you add up Posey’s hitting stats to “prove” he was only the 3rd best hitter on the team. You do realize he missed the 1st 2 months? Here is the comparison if Posey had played a full season:

    Posey: AB 608; H 186; 2b 34; 3b 3; HR 27; RBI 100
    Heyward: AB 520; H 144; 2b 29; 3b 5; HR 18; RBI 72

    Granted you can’t give Posey credit for the 2 months he didn’t play. But during the last 4 months he clearly was the Giants most effective hitter and the Giants season turned completly when Molina was traded.

  7. nps6724 - Nov 15, 2010 at 7:52 PM

    “NPS says there is no proof for calling the game? How about the Giants were 39-36 (.520) on July 1 when Molina was traded and Posey got the starting job. After that: 53-34(.609) with Posey as the catcher.”

    You can use any number of reasons why a team performs better or worse in a given sample. The fact they won more games doesn’t prove Posey called a better game than Molina. Since Posey is a better hitter than Molina, odds are they were hitting better instead of pitching better. The addition of Pat Burrell also helped a good bit (.547 before, .578 after). The fact is there’s no one thing that causes a team to win or lose.

    Not to mention you didn’t subtract games in which Molina or Posey didn’t catch. If both guys didn’t catch every game within the dataset (which they didn’t), the data you’re using is flawed. If the Giants had a winning record on days Posey sat, you’re crediting Posey for contributing to team wins for games he didn’t play in.

    You also didn’t supply any data to show the Giants pitched better with Posey catching. Molina’s last game with the Giants was June 29. Just looking at ERA, SO, BB, IP, BAA/OBP/SLG/OPS, and BABIP, Lincecum, Cain, and Zito were all better before June 29 than after while Sanchez was about the same. Bumgarner made all but 1 start after June 29.

    That’s 4 members of the rotation who all pitched the same or better with Molina than Posey whether you look at 2009 OR 2010. And I’ve yet to see anything showing Posey being the key to the Giants’ pitching success that so many have claimed.

    “Also NPS, you add up Posey’s hitting stats to “prove” he was only the 3rd best hitter on the team. You do realize he missed the 1st 2 months?”

    I did realize it…when I said (and I quote) “Posey was obviously at a disadvantage due to having fewer PA than most of his teammates, but even if you just look at rate stats, Heyward was more important to his team.” Even by rate stats, Posey was behind both Huff and Burrell.

    • tjmwp - Nov 15, 2010 at 8:35 PM

      Not sure what rate stats you’re looking at. Posey is clearly ahead of Burrell. Huff may have a very slight edge. No way is Posey 3rd.

      Posey Avg .305; OBP .357; SLG .505; OPS .862; RISP .312
      Burrell Avg .252; OBP .345; SLG .469; OPS .817; RISP .238
      Huff Avg .290; OBP .385; SLG .506; OPS .891; RISP .290

      • tjmwp - Nov 15, 2010 at 8:56 PM

        … oh and by the way, Posey leads your man in 4 out 5 of these “rate” stats:

        Posey Avg .305; OBP .357; SLG .505; OPS .862; RISP .312
        Heyward Avg .277; OBP .393; SLG .456; OPS .849; RISP .306

      • nps6724 - Nov 15, 2010 at 10:00 PM

        I was looking on the 2010 Giants page on baseball-reference.com. It looks like it only counted Burrell’s stats while playing for San Fran because it shows .266/.364/.509/.872 for Pat. So his overall rate stats weren’t better than Posey’s but if you only look at his contributions to the Giants, he was. Not by much though.

        If we’re gonna include RISP, how about RISP w/ 2 outs?

        Heyward: 58 AB, .345/.506/.603/1.109, 5 2B, 2 3B, 2 HR, 27 RBI, 16 BB, 3 HBP, 15 SO
        Posey: 52 AB, .288/.383/.423/.806, 4 2B, 0 3B, 1 HR, 16 RBI, 8 BB, 0 HBP, 10 SO

        Or how about more advanced stats from Fangraphs such as wOBA? .376 for Heyward, .368 for Posey.
        wRC+? 138 for Heyward, 131 for Posey.
        Win Probability Added (WPA)? 4.82 for Heyward, 1.07 for Posey.
        WPA/LI (situational WPA)? 3.94 for Heyward, 2.05 for Posey.
        RAR? 47.9 for Heyward, 38 for Posey.
        WAR? 5.0 for Heyward, 3.9 for Posey. And that takes into account the value of their positions.
        Clutch (meaning does he raise his game in clutch situations?) 0.83 for Heyward, -0.97 for Posey.

        BTW I’m still waiting on this proof of Posey’s game-calling greatness.

  8. tjmwp - Nov 16, 2010 at 12:39 PM

    Ok, I don’t know of a quantitative way to measure a catcher’s game calling. But what about the value of a catcher to his team vs a right fielder? Catcher’s have to handle every pitch – maybe 130 – 150 per game. Their value is magnified when runners are on base. Maybe 8 – 10 runners per game and 4-5 pitches per runner. That is 30-50 opportunities that if they screw up it costs their team a base or run. A right fielder might get 4-5 opportunities per game and most are routine fly and ground balls. Not to mention the physical challenges of just getting in the squat all game, the toll on a catcher’s legs and the foul tips and home plate collisions. A catcher’s value to his team in the field is easily ten fold that of a right fielder.

    • nps6724 - Nov 16, 2010 at 12:50 PM

      Which is taken into account with WAR. Which Heyward still had a higher value in than Posey.

      Again, I’m not saying Posey wasn’t deserving of the award or Posey wasn’t one of the top performers on the team. I’m just debunking some of the terrible arguments used in his favor as well as supporting Heyward when people think the only way to support Posey is to put down Heyward. Posey earned the award through his play. There’s no need to make up supporting evidence that has no way of being calculated or to put down Heyward to prop up Buster.

      • tjmwp - Nov 16, 2010 at 2:58 PM

        Be very wary of any specific stat. I’m reading that you can’t use the UZR stat (a component of WAR) for catchers. UZR divides the field into zones for evaluating range, which does not make sense for catchers. Every good statistician knows that any given stat is weighted and has a bias. Using a single statistic that tries to compare outfielders and catchers is bound to become meaningless. A catcher is making a fielding play on every single pitch (which is not included in the WAR stat). Blocking a curve ball in the dirt with the winning run on third is a play of huge value which never shows up in any stat. I dont think I’ve seen any good stats for evaluating catchers.

      • nps6724 - Nov 16, 2010 at 3:18 PM

        I don’t think there are any truly good stats for any fielders. Even UZR and DRS (I think it is?) can vary wildly when compared to each other.

        War takes Stolen Bases Runs Saved into account for catchers.

        http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index.php/catcher-defense-in-war/

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