No, Buster Posey Is Not Traveling The Same Path As Derek Jeter
By Scott Alfano
Do I even need to respond to this? Yesterday my esteemed colleague Jacob Winters explained why Buster Posey is on the path to Derek Jeter-dom. I admit, in two weeks Posey may have his 3rd championship in five years. That is impressive. However, it will also be Tim Lincecum’s 3rd title in five years. He is a two-time Cy Young winner and nobody is going to call him the next great anything. Posey needs more than titles to even be discussed in this high honor.
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Buster Posey won an MVP award in 2012, something Jeter has never done. Posey hit .336 with 24 home runs and 103 RBI. In 1999, Jeter hit .349 with 24 home runs and 102 RBI. Unfortunately for him, that was the middle of the steroid era and he only got 6th place in MVP voting. Posey is obviously an above average hitter, but there are plenty of those in the league as well.
Jeter was a special player because of the mix of his leadership, epically strong play for over a decade, and an intangible element. Catchers are naturally leaders on the field, and Posey is doing just that. However, he is also going the Joe Mauer route by playing first base way more than he should be. Part of Jeter’s appeal is that he has only ever played shortstop for 20 seasons. With that alone, Posey will never be Jeter. He played first base 35 times this season, 24% of the time. He is only 27 and that percentage is sure to rise. Part of the reason that he is involved in MVP talks is because his numbers are coming from a catcher. When Posey becomes a full-time first baseman, he will simply be a sometimes All-Star first baseman. Much like Robinson Cano, his numbers are less impressive if he goes to another position. Do you think Cano would have gotten $240 million if he was an outfielder? It wouldn’t have even been close.
Buster Posey is a great young kid. He is helping to turn the Giants into a favorite in the National League year after year. Winning the World Series this year will help a lot for his cause to be the next Derek Jeter. However, this is simply the kind of discussion that cannot take place until Posey is at least 30. Jeter has always been more than two or three rings and a few good seasons. Jeter had magic. To even be in the same conversation as Jeter, Posey is going to need some of his own as well. Besides, he is already switching positions, something Jeter never did.