Closing Time: Buster Posey's missing power

San Francisco Giants’ Buster Posey has fantasy owners searching for power (AP Photo).
San Francisco Giants’ Buster Posey has fantasy owners searching for power (AP Photo).

Buster Posey was never a huge power guy (he’s never hit 25 homers in a season during his career and hasn’t reached 20 since 2014), but it’s all but evaporated this season, as he’s gone yard just once over his past 112 at bats and is slugging .404 on the year (his lowest since 2011). He had a nice walk-off hit Wednesday but entered as the No. 343 ranked fantasy player. The Giants have even tinkered with batting him second in the lineup recently, a spot where his low K% makes sense but his slow base running and propensity to ground into double plays don’t.

He’ll hit in the middle of San Francisco’s mediocre lineup regardless, and Posey’s underwhelming counting stats (he’s on pace to record just 48 RBI) are especially troubling given the usually extremely pitcher-friendly AT&T Park has benefitted hitters more in 2018, something that figures to regress. His pitch framing numbers are way down as well, so it’s safe to say Posey is in decline. Here are his HR/FB rates since 2012, respectively: 18.8, 10.0, 13.4, 11.0, 9.8, 8.4, 6.3. That’s not an encouraging trend (although he has hit more Barrels this season (16) than he did all of last (15), for what it’s worth). Posey is still a good hitter, and he’s the rare fantasy catcher who helps batting average, but the utter lack of power really limits the former MVP’s upside. He’s skipping the All-Star game in order to receive an injection in his hip that’s bothered him all season, so hopefully that helps Posey bounce back in the second half.

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Carlos Rodon picked up a win by holding the Cardinals scoreless over 7.1 innings Wednesday and now sits with a 3.56 ERA and 1.19 WHIP after seven starts since returning from shoulder surgery. He has control issues, and wins won’t be easy pitching for the White Sox, but Rodon was the No. 3 pick in the 2014 draft and owns a career 10.0 SwStr%. He’s just 20 percent owned in Yahoo leagues but expect that number to climb after Wednesday’s outing.

Quick Hits: A Shelby Miller start in Coors Field screamed disaster, and the Rockies didn’t disappoint by scoring 19 runs. Daniel Descalso entered in relief with one out in the fourth, making it the earliest a position player has pitched in a game since 1979. Carlos Gonzalez (who entered averaging the longest HR distance (425 ft) in MLB) and Ian Desmond combined for three homers and 11 RBI…Not to be outdone, Cleveland also scored 19 runs Wednesday, thanks in part to Jason Kipnis, who homered twice and reached base eight times over the three-game series against the Reds. Maybe Kipnis’ bat is finally awakening from a season long slump, and he’s out there in 70 percent of leagues. Few parks in baseball boost run scoring like Progressive Field.

Jacob deGrom took yet another no-decision Wednesday despite tossing eight scoreless innings. After 18 starts, he has a 1.68 ERA with a 0.97 WHIP and a 5-4 record to show for it…Greg Bird homered and recorded four RBI for the second straight game. He’s still available in more than 60 percent of leagues…Right after I hyped him, Lance McCullers was hit hard Wednesday, allowing six runs over just four innings versus the A’s. He walked five batters while fanning only one and goes into the All-Star break on a down note…Brandon Nimmo had seen his OPS fall from 1.013 to .878 over the last three weeks before his pinch-hit, walk-off homer WednesdayMarco Gonzalez impressed again while winning his third straight start and now sports a 2.35 ERA and a 0.96 WHIP over his last 11 outings (72.2 innings). He’s up to 10 wins on the season…I’m beginning to think Garrett Richards might be injury prone.

Will Smith tossed another two scoreless innings and now sits with a 0.95 ERA, 0.67 WHIP and 38 strikeouts over 28.1 innings. He’s also currently acting as the Giants’ closer, and I won’t stop writing about him until his ownership surpasses 40 percent…Chris Sale turned in his fifth straight performance with at least 11 strikeouts and one walk or fewer (becoming the first pitcher ever to do so) and sports a 0.94 ERA with 78 Ks over his last seven starts (48.0 innings). Sale is appointment viewing these days, and his career has been remarkable given he’s always pitched in the American League and in hitter’s parks (it’s crazy he’s younger than Chris Archer). Sale should be a top-five pick in fantasy drafts next year.

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