2016 Giants: What’s the [Catcher] Plan?

First in a series of late-season/offseason posts concerning current 40-man players, as well as a few other relevant names both inside and outside the organization. I’ll try to address contract status, current and future production, projected playing time for next season, and whatever else I feel is pertinent to the 2016 team.

Let’s start with the backstops, a position where the Giants are still incredibly talented. While Posey is still the man, a surprising new name has emerged from the farm system, adding to what was already one of the deepest positional groups in the organization.

6.1 WAR? Good luck telling him to play a different position!
6.1 WAR? Good luck telling him to play a different position!

Buster Posey | Age 28: One of the elite talents in the game, and arguably getting better. Considering the resume he already boasts, it’s pretty darn impressive that Buster lowered his K% to 8.5 (career mark of 12.3%), while walking more than he struck out in 2015. Behind the dish, he raised his caught-stealing rate to 36%, best since his shortened 2011 season.

He’ll get a nice bump in pay next year, up to $20M. He’ll follow 2016 with 5 consecutive seasons at $21.4M before an option in 2022. A lot of folks are still asking how much longer he’ll catch full time at that price. My response to that: don’t expect anything different in the immediate future. He’s started 38 games at 1B to date this season, and I’d say that’s probably right about on par with what we’ll see next year. Until another catcher in the organization proves he’s capable of forcing the organization’s hand, Buster will be the team’s main attraction and its starting catcher.

Andrew Susac | Age 25: There was a lot of excitement surrounding Susac this year, but it’s hard to look at his first full MLB season as anything but a disappointment. It’s very hard to get into a rhythm when you aren’t playing consistently, but Susac did log 120 PA during the first half. He hit only .239, and then made only 5 starts after the All-Star break. Injuries have been a theme throughout his playing career, even dating back to his college days. They cut his 2015 campaign short, and it really is a bummer for him, as he’d probably be seeing most of the playing time that is currently going to Trevor Brown. Susac is young, cheap, and talented offensively. Though he’s probably very intriguing to some teams around the league, I’ll say the Giants aren’t trading him this winter. He’ll have to stay healthy and produce a little more though if he ever wants to unseat Posey behind the dish.

Hector Sanchez | Age 25: It’s hard to believe Hector is still only 25. It’s also hard to envision him having much of a future with the organization when 2014 was the last season he hit over .200. He’s team controlled through 2019 and arbitration-eligible again this winter (he earned $800K this year). There’s nothing wrong with having catchers with MLB experience in AAA, but at Hector’s relatively young age, I’m beginning to wonder if he’s better off asking for a trade to get out from behind Posey and Susac.

Trevor Brown | Age 23: The Giants went heavy on college pitching at the top of the 2012 draft, but it’s the hitters who’ve made the most noise from that class so far. By chance and injuries, Brown joined Matt Duffy (and later Mac Williamson) as the first members of that crop to reach the majors, and he’s played well enough this month to earn a longer look. 9-31 (.290) with 3 BB, 5 RBI, a stolen base, and respectable pitch-calling behind the plate in 10 games has earned him some press time – and even a little love from the coaching staff. The versatile backstop may not profile as a starter, but I can see a backup MLB gig in his future. Now, the question is “What do they do with all these catchers?” Maybe Brown shares time with Hector again next season in Sacramento, but maybe his September in the big leagues gives the organization some flexibility to explore a trade this offseason.

Jackson Williams | Age 29: Bringing Jackson Williams back to the organization (and calling him up in September) gave the Giants two first-round catchers on the active roster, drafted in back-to-back years no less. The difference? Posey was a top 5 pick in 2008, and Williams was the 5th first round pick in 2007 by the Giants alone. Still, it’s noteworthy that four of those six picks made it to the majors (the other was Charlie “Marco Scutaro” Culberson), and three of them (Bumgarner, Noonan and Williams) are all on the current Giants roster. That seems like it could be the answer to an obscure Giants-related trivia question. Either way, Jax has logged only 23 MLB plate appearances, and I have no idea if he’ll be in camp with the team next season or not.

On Deck: In my next post, I’ll analyze the young, talented, and ever-increasing group of infielders on the Giants 40-man roster. Thanks for reading, and I’d love to hear your thoughts!

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6 thoughts on “2016 Giants: What’s the [Catcher] Plan?”

  1. 1.Posey
    2.Susac
    3.Brown
    4.Turner
    5.Sanchez

    I think Brown is going to put some heat on Susac in camp.That’s a good thing.Susac needs to get better defensively.Brown looks really comfortable back there.In regards to Susac’s injuries.With Browm playing well defensively.I wonder if Susac can play any 1B.If Belt has any more complications due to his concussions.We’ll need a 1B while Posey is catching.Tomlinson is gonna play some OF in the winter.I would like for Susac to play some 1B.

    1. Nothing wrong with a little healthy competition… brings out the best in people. And you’re absolutely right about Belt. He’s been dinged up quite a bit during his career, and the lack of depth behind him at 1B is showing right now. Having those extra catchers on hand could prove valuable next year.

      1. 1-CF Pagan Bench – IF/OF Tomlinson R/R
        2-2B Panik OF Parker L/L
        3-SS Duffy OF Williamson R/R
        4-C Posey C Susac R/R
        5-RF Pence Final Spot – C/2B Brown
        6-1B Belt IF Adrianza or sign backup SS
        7-SS Crawford
        8-LF Blanco

        Leadoff- Pagan(CF) Blanco(LF/CF) Tomlinson(IF/OF)
        Second- Panik(2B) Duffy(3B) Blanco(LF/CF)
        Third- Duffy(3B) Belt(1B) Posey(C/1B) Pence(RF)
        Cleanup- Posey(C/1B) Belt(1B) Pence(RF)
        Fifth- Pence(RF) Belt(1B) Crawford(SS)
        Sixth-Belt(1B) Crawford(SS)
        Seventh- Crawford(SS) Blanco (LF/CF) Susac(C)Parker(OF) Williamson(OF)
        Eighth- Blanco(LF/CF) Parker(OF) Williamson(OF) Susac(C) Brown(C)

        Starting line up has 4 All-Stars.Potentially five with Duffy.Farm system providing depth core needs.Having that power/speed off the bench will provide spark.

        1-Bumgarner Bullpen – R Casilla
        2-FA R Romo
        3-Cain L Lopez
        4-Peavy R Strickland
        5-Heston/Blackburn L Osich
        R Hall
        R Heston/Kontos/Blackburn

        Like to have a guy who can give 2 or 3 innings like Hall/Petit and starter in one of the long roles.Could be a good spot for Heston/Blackburn.Can pitch 1-6 innings.Gives Bochy flexibility too keep pen fresh,and doesn’t have to worry about extra innings.

        FA pitchers

        Price
        Greinke
        Zimmerman
        Cueto
        Samardzija
        Gallardo
        Leake
        Kennedy

        GM Bobby Evans said pitching is the priority of the off season.The front office is willing to spend.It’s a matter of choice when it comes to the player.Lat year the front office put the money up.Lester,and Shields chose elsewhere.Based on those facts.I think Greinke and Zimmerman are the main targets.Price/Cueto will cost too much.Greinke has said he respects our manager and players.I think that gives us a real good shot to sign Greinke.It’s up to him.Same goes for Zimmerman.If players choose different teams.I like Samardzija and Gallardo next on that list.With Leake then Kennedy following.We’re gonna have a good team next year.Let’s see what happens.Peace.

  2. Aramis Garcia. Drafted Round 2, 2014.

    His bat finally heated up after a dreadful short-rookie season and he hit .273 in Augusta. He moved up to San Jose and cooled off (.227 in 75 ABs) a bit.

    He won’t be up in 2016. But his growth (or lack thereof) might influence what the Giants decide vis the other catchers on the list.

    1. Moses, thanks for checking in. I thought about including Garcia, but I was wearing down by the end of the post. He definitely looks like a potential “catcher of the future.” For a guy who was pegged as pretty rough defensively, I was pleased by the reports on his arm and abilities behind the plate all season. He’ll start the year in San Jose again, and I figure he doesn’t really factor into conversations just yet. If he torches the Cal and gets a mid-season bump to Richmond (very possible), that could all change.

      1. I’m glad to hear that he’s progressing defensively. And I didn’t think he be included, only that his progression (or lack thereof) will effect the prospects of four of the five players you listed.

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