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Baseball Digest
2010 Rookie Catchers

January/February 2011 by George Vass

It seems fairly safe to maintain that only a select few rookies, particularly a tiny minority of catchers, have proved as valuable to their teams in a debut season as did Buster Posey to the San Francisco Giants in 2010.

Posey's contributions during the Giants' drive to the National League West Division title and beyond were huge, both on offense and defense.

The Giants didn't call up Posey, 23, from AAA Fresno until May 29, one-third of the way into the season. And he didn't become the regular catcher until veteran Bengie Molina was traded to the Texas Rangers on July 1 to clear the path for him.

Nevertheless, as often the cleanup hitter (a rare assignment for rookies), Posey batted .305 with 18 HR and 67 RBI in just two-thirds of a season. What's more, he caught the pitching staff with the lowest ERA in the major leagues at 3.36. The Giants were 30-27 without Posey in the lineup and 62-43 with him.

Although Buster Posey led the parade, there were plenty of other rookie catchers who deserve notice. Several won the No. 1 jobs on their teams, and figure to keep them in 2011.

Alex Avila (Tigers), Carlos Santana (Indians), Josh Those (Mets), John Jaso (Rays), and Jonathan Lucroy (Brewers) figure to get steady work far into the future.

Santana, 24, a switch-hitter, got off to a great start in the majors after being called up by the Indians on June 11, living up to his ranking as the team's top minor league prospect. He batted .290, with 23 HR and 97 RBI at AAA Akron in 2009. Santana's rookie season was cut short by a collision at home plate on August 2. A severe knee injury required surgery. He finished at .260 with six home runs and 23 RBI in 150 at-bats

No other rookie catcher, of course, matched the right-handed batting Posey's achievements, which speak for themselves. He even put together a 21-game hitting streak, and was named N.L. player of the month for July.

Posey is an easy choice as the all-star rookie team catcher AND the National League Rookie of the Year for 2010 as well. [See BB DIGEST ROOKIE OF THE YEAR].

Buster Posey
#28 | Posey Stats | League Awards

YR
2010
G
108
AB
4069
R
58
H
124
2B
23
3B
2
HR
18
RBI
67
BB
30
K
55
SB
0
CS
2
OBP
.357
SLG
.505
OPS
.862
AVG
.305


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