Little goes right for Posey

This is my Saturday column on Buster Posey. WARNING: This is a baseball column. 49ers’ fans — feel free to skip this.

SAN FRANCISCO – Buster Posey turned on C.C. Lee’s hanging slider and crushed it deep into the left field bleachers during the bottom of the sixth inning of the Giants’ 5-3 victory against the Indians Saturday afternoon. The solo home run was Posey’s first hit against a right-handed pitcher in Posey’s past 25 at-bats.

He went 1-for-3 Saturday afternoon, but is just 4-for-his-past-41. That’s an .096 batting average. What’s going on with him?

“I’m getting asked that a lot,” Giants’ manager Bruce Bochy said in the dugout before the game. “I’ll keep saying the same thing: He’s human. These guys go through their bumps in the road and they will have the occasional hiccup. That’s the way this game is. I don’t care how talented you are, you’re going to go through it. He’s going through his little thing right now but he will come out of it.”

Maybe the sixth-inning home run signifies the end of Posey’s slump. Or maybe it signifies nothing – we expect Major League hitters to crush hanging sliders.

With all due respect to Bochy, Posey’s slump is not a “little thing” or a “hiccup.” Posey’s slump goes all the way back to last season’s All-Star Break. That’s 81 games, exactly one half of a season. Since then, Posey has been a bad hitter, the second-worst everyday hitter in the Giants’ lineup, hitting .238 with seven home runs and 27 RBI.

A liability in the lineup.

For half of a season, Posey has hit worse than Hunter Pence, worse than Brandon Belt, and – if you can believe it – worse than Pablo Sandoval. Sandoval has hit .259 with seven home runs and 43 RBI since last season’s All-Star Break – big-time numbers compared to Posey’s puny production.

Posey has slightly outperformed just one everyday hitter on the Giants the past half season – Brandon Crawford, the Giants’ defensive-specialist shortstop. He has hit a Posey-esque .224 with five home runs and 22 RBI during the same stretch.

It gets worse for Posey.

He doesn’t have a single base hit to right field all season. In 2012, he had 33 hits to right field.

“When you have a hiccup,” Bochy said before the game, “You’re coming off the ball a little bit. You try to get back on track by thinking up the middle.”

Posey doesn’t seem to be thinking up the middle. He’s pulling practically everything. Defenses have noticed, too. The Indians’ infield played Posey to pull. When Posey was at bat, Indians’ shortstop Asdrubal Crabrera lined up on the grass near the third baseman. Second baseman Jason Kipnis lined up behind second base and left a big hole on the right side of the infield between him and first baseman Nick Swisher. Posey couldn’t take advantage. The best he could do was hit a line drive right to David Murphy, the Indians’ right fielder, in the bottom of the fourth inning.

After the game, I asked Hunter Pence why Posey hasn’t gotten any hits to right field this year.

“He doesn’t have any?” Pence asked.

“He doesn’t have any,” I said.

“You sure?”

“Yes.”

“He doesn’t have one?”

“Not even one.”

Pence shrugged. “I’m pretty sure he’s going to get some hits to right,” he said. “Maybe it’s his home run year.”

When Posey first got to the majors, he used the whole field and hit for a high average, but lacked some power. Now, he’s the opposite – a dead-pull power hitter.

When Posey finally appeared at his locker, I told him what Bochy had said before the game, that Posey was coming off the ball.

“I agree with that,” Posey said.

Then I told him he hasn’t gotten a hit to right field all season

“I wasn’t aware of that,” Posey admitted. “I’ve lined out a few times that way. I probably haven’t hit the ball over there as much as I’d like to, but I feel like that will come. I’m trying my best not to think about forcing the ball one way or another. That can become a problem.”

The Giants need the old Buster back, the Buster who hit to left field and right field without forcing it. As long as he’s coming off the ball and trying to yank every pitch into the left field bleachers, he’s not Buster. He’s a bust.

Grant Cohn writes sports columns and the “Inside the 49ers” blog for The Press Democrat’s website. You can reach him at grantcohn@gmail.com.

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  1. A little harsh, don’t you think Grant? All that Posey needs to do is watch some of his at bats with a good hitting coach that can help him diagnose what he’s doing wrong or needs to tweak.

  2. What a joke of a “column”. You should have listened to the KNBR broadcast today, Flemming noted that a fangraphs article indicated that over his recent slump, Posey has the same strikeout rate, walk rate, line drive rate, and power rating as he has over his entire career. The hits will come. I remember Posey starting 2012 1 for 20 with RISP. That season turned out all right. By the way, how do you line out to right field (your words) if you are pulling the ball too much? I thought you played baseball Grant.

  3. You say that Posey has become a dead pull power hitter. The numbers don’t support that. In 2012 Posey pulled 28% of balls in play (bip), in 2014 that number is 30%. 2012 bip to center 51% 2014 57%. 2012 bip to right 20% 2014 13%. So going from a 28% pull rate to 30% pull rate is significant to you? And you could have found those numbers just as easily as I did, baseball reference is free. So I will assume the point of this column is to rip Posey while you have the chance. Congradulations!

    1. Posey has hit 9 balls to right field all season and none of them were hits. He’s coming off the ball as Bochy said and Posey confirmed. That means he’s rolling over, not keeping his hands inside the ball.

      1. He’s coming off the ball as Bochy said and Posey confirmed.
        ——————–
        It’s taken them 81 games to figure that out? They must be terrible at their jobs if it’s really that simple but yet it’s taken this long to figure it out. OR maybe it’s not that simple. OR maybe they’ve known this was the problem the entire time but for some reason Posey has decided to not try and fix it. OR maybe it’s not that simple.

          1. Not to sound sardonic but these are professionals being watched and studied by professionals, how can his approach be out of whack with so many eyes on him? Wouldn’t they immediately attempt to correct something being done out of whack?

            1. Reminds me of when Jaws broke down Alex Smith’s form in the pocket and I remember thinking, I’m pretty sure if the professionals on the team that watch his tape every single day saw something like that and if they thought it was a problem they would be changing it but they aren’t so there must be a reason for it.

            2. Posey said he has been tweaking his mechanics. The approach is psychological. As Pence said, maybe it’s his home run year. Maybe that’s what Posey’s approach at the plate is: more power.

              1. I wonder why after 6 years and the success he was having he would feel the need to change things up.

  4. Its not cute , its not cool, a bust?just wow .. Really.. A bust .. Please stop this absolute madness. This is the guy that brought us two titles home . a bust? Christ have mercy on your soul.. Troll

  5. i missed something and I don’t keep track of baseball stats too closely. But what were Posey’s numbers for the first 15 games of the year? I’m pretty sure they were pretty good which would indicate Posey’s more recent slump isn’t an 81 game slump but just a more recent “hiccup” at the plate.

    Some have traced his more recent slump back to an awkward play where Posey ran to 1st and the 1st baseman tried to catch a wildly thrown ball and brushed/clothes lined Posey. I didn’t think it was a big deal at the time but others have brought it up…so who knows.

    and what does “coming off the ball” mean? seriously, I don’t know what Bochy means by that. I’m sure he’s right since there’s something that’s obviously off with Posey at the plate.

    Posey reportedly put on 10 lbs of muscle in the off season. Maybe his approach at the plate is different because he feels he has more power?

  6. Blogs are opinion ranches; lots of opinions wandering around here 24/7. In that context Grant’s hit piece on Posey is OK; right up to the Bust part, where, imo it departs reality.
    He’s just offering his view, but I can’t help wondering if he’d been a film critic:……

    >Hopkins is over the hill
    >Streep has always been over rated
    >What have Lucas or Kubrick done lately?
    >Nicole Kidman is a selfish diva; (confirmed by TMZ)
    >If you take away DiCaprio’s three biggest box office smashes and double-weight his three least grossing films in averaging in the rest (just to bend the numbers to fit the assertions), then he’s clearly over-paid.
    >Beyonce’s legs are gone.
    >”White Castle” is the best movie ever made
    >Brando is a bum!

  7. I asked what Poseys numbers were at the begining of the season and ic tbey indicated that his current batting problems were a “hiccup” and NOT tied to his hitting problems in the second half of last season.

    For some reason you answered with data from fansgraph about Poseys hitting numbers from last year??? Uhmmm….did anyone questikn that Posey had problems hitting problems last season?

      1. I guess it depends on your perspective. Which span of statslook like the hiccup over the course of his entire career?

    1. I’d be in, but I’d like to see Time Limit enforcement. Maybe Grant, or a designated Draftmaster makes the pick after 15:00 if the assigned GM doesn’t pick or trade. Just to keep it moving. Last year what was it? 34 picks in 25 hours? Sheesh.

      1. Given the format and that it was the first time being done it went about as expected. When he ran it again a week later it went much faster.

        1. Yep. The 2nd time around it went a lot faster and there was more action.

          We definitely should do one this week and maybe another right before the draft.

      2. Maybe Grant, or a designated Draftmaster makes the pick after 15:00 if the assigned GM doesn’t pick or trade.

        Wasn’t there a five minute time limit utilized in the last blog mock draft?

    1. LOL I like it. While your at it If you take away his two World Series rings, his Rookie of the year award, his Batting Title and MVP award, he is no better at the plate than Kurt Manwaring.

  8. Tell you what Grant, we’ll take him off your hands – I’d love for my Mets to pull off a trade for this “bust”.

  9. The bust you will see out of Posey will be in coopersville . Don’t mess with Posey Cuz you think its a witty play on words( its a horrible pun at best )Is there nothing sacred anymore?

  10. I saw on PFT this morning that V.Davis is “going Public” today; sort of. He cut a deal with a marketing company and they’re offering 421,000 shares of a percentage of his future marketing income. Seems like a Reverse Mortgage.

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