Buster Posey made the jump from High-A to Triple-A and then the big leagues in his first full season. The 6-foot-1, 205 pounder is a polished contact hitter who manages the strike zone well. He has excellent power for a catcher and should be an average or better defender.
I caught up with Posey earlier this week at the Arizona Fall League to discuss the fatigue that sets in during a nine-month season, the quality of the pitching in the league and what he considers to be the highlight of his first stint in the big leagues.
Adam Foster: So you’ve played pretty much nine consecutive months of baseball right now, what kind of fatigue sets in?
Buster Posey: It’s a little bit of physical and a little bit of mental. It’s nine months of not having an off day, which I guess you’ve got one a week out here, but during the season it’s maybe one or two a month. It’s a grind but that’s what everybody goes through.
AF: What do you do with an off day around here?
BP: Just relax. Just try to rest up and get my body ready to go for the next week.
AF: So speaking of getting your body ready to go, you’ve been catching now for three seasons. You were a shortstop throughout high school and college. Do you feel like a catcher 100-percent now?
BP: Yeah, I do. I do. Like you said, it’s been three years now so I feel like a catcher now. Even running I feel like a catcher unfortunately sometimes (laughs).
AF: Especially with this season with the fatigue, do your legs feel a lot heavier at this point than they did at the beginning of the year?
BP: Oh yeah, for sure. You can probably ask an outfielder and they’ll say their legs are heavy at this point. So it’s just part of it. And I think you’ve gotta learn to play when your body feels like that.
AF: And I’m sure the Giants are well aware of all the work they’ve put you through. But what kind of things do you think they’re looking for you to work on here or what are you trying to accomplish?
BP: Just probably improve as a player all around. Ultimately we want to be playing at this time of the year every year. What, the World Series ended maybe a little over a week ago? You wanna be playing at this time.
AF: So I saw you play in High-A and Triple-A this season and the Arizona Fall League seems to be providing you a bit of a bigger challenge than those leagues, albeit there is the fatigue. But would you agree that it’s been a tougher time facing some of these pitchers than it was during the regular season?
BP: Yeah, it’s a different league. It’s a matter of during the season you’re probably gonna face a starter probably two times minimum, sometimes three. And here you’re facing a different pitcher every at-bat. So it’s a little bit of a different game here in the fall league. But guys out here got really good stuff and a lot of them will be in the big leagues next year.
AF: Is there any in particular pitcher you’ve faced who gave you more problems than the others?
BP: You know, I can’t really pinpoint one. There’s a lot of guys that have good stuff. And like I mentioned, you’re not really facing one guy a lot of different times. So several of them give me a tough time (laughs).
AF: (Laughs). So a lot of baseball’s about failure and how you handle that. What’s your approach to the game when you are struggling?
BP: Well, it’s just to try to be consistent. You’ve gotta believe in all the work you’ve put in up to the point that you’re struggling. And try not to change something drastically and just continue to do what you’ve had success doing in the past.
AF: Did you realistically expect to reach the big leagues this season?
BP: I didn’t know. I figured there might be a chance. By the time September got around, I didn’t think that I was gonna to get called up, but was definitely pleasantly surprised when I did.
AF: A lot of Giants fans were really excited to hear that you were up. And unfortunately we didn’t get to see you play much. But I think you’ve heard a lot about one play you made that caught the nation almost by a storm: that catch in the bullpen (Posey laughs). Can you give me a play-by-play of what was going on there?
BP: Yeah, unfortunately, that was probably my highlight up there. I was just warming somebody up and turned around and saw a line drive coming at me and just reacted. That was basically the extent of it.