Buster Posey is the face of the San Francisco Giants. As long as Posey is behind the dish, there will be only scattered at-bats for his backup. Currently, Hector Sanchez is that man and the Giants are in fine shape.
How long Buster Posey is the full-time catcher will be a major point of contention after 2014. First — and this is the oldest catcher-to-another-position argument — nobody wants their best player taking that kind of beating year after year. With that pounding comes the need to rest at least once a week or play elsewhere. By the end of the year you have a hitter in the middle of the order who is either worn out or not in the lineup at all.
Since first base is now firmly in the grips of Brandon Belt, that option doesn’t really help the Giants. So, there’s a good chance we see Posey working out at third base if Pablo Sandoval moves on via free agency.
Enter Andrew Susac.
Susac, a 2011 2nd round pick by San francisco, is currently in AAA Fresno and playing well (.314/.385/.429 as of today). He passed a big test for Giants prospects in 2013 by conquering the AA Eastern League. His scouting reports are all over the map. Susac doesn’t appear in either Baseball America or Fangraphs top 10 Prospects. MLB.com, on the other hand, has him at #4. And John Sickels of Minor League Ball likes him most of all.
3) Andrew Susac, C, Grade B: I’m surprised he’s not ranking higher on other lists, but I see a guy who has tapped into his power, controls the strike zone well, and has made steady improvements on defense. His Double-A numbers were impressive for the context (power and patience gave him a wRC+ 129 despite a .256 average) and he ripped the ball in the Arizona Fall League.
MLB.com has Susac ranked #8 among all C prospects in baseball. He had this response via Twitter when asked about Susac as a potential starter.
— Jim Callis (@jimcallisMLB)
Former MLB scout Bernie Pleskoff had a ringing endorsement saying Susac has the ability to, “ultimately become a starting catcher with both offensive and defensive talent.”
With Andrew Susac knocking on the door, does this help push Posey to the hot corner? If Posey resists moving from behind the dish or Pablo re-signs, does a guy like Susac have more value to other teams in trade than as a backup in San Francisco?
One thing to consider is that after Susac, there’s not much at all in the system. Guiermo Quiroz and Tyler LaTorre are with Susac in Fresno and could be called upon in a reserve role. Myles Schroder is a 26 year old non-prospect from Castro Valley in AA. San Jose C/1B Ben Turner is a 6 foot 5 inch 21st round 2012 draftee out of Missouri who slashed .249/.286/.315 in Augusta last year. Some scouts thought Christian Arroyo could be moved to C with his body type, but he would have to completely play himself out of the middle infield first.
It would not be much of a surprise to see Sabes and Co. draft some catching talent in June if the plan is to eventually move Buster off the position.
If Susac continues to play well, we should get a peek at him in the bigs during September.