Hall Watch 2004-The Catchers- Jorge Posada

Saturday, October 30 2004 @ 09:07 AM EDT

Contributed by: Mike Green

Jorge Posada, Hall of Fame? I can see noses crinkling and eyebrows elevating across web-land. The short version of events is that after hitting .272/.400/.481 in 2004, he has compiled a little more than half a Hall of Fame career at age 32. One might think that time was liable to run out on him, but as he has caught only 955 games, he is basically where you want to be at his age.

Jorge Posada was drafted by the Yankees in the 24th round in 1990, and made very slow progress to the majors, spending 3 years in A ball and 3 years in triple A. On the great Yankee teams of 97-99, he shared catching duties with Joe Girardi, before taking the whole job in 2000. He has delivered 5 great years since then, with good power, excellent plate discipline and solid defence.

Finding comparable catchers to Posada is difficult. Most catchers who hit well reach the majors much quicker than Posada and so have completed most of their catching career by age 32. The two exceptions are Carlton Fisk and Gabby Hartnett, both Hall of Famers. I have listed them, as well as Bill Freehan (who had broadly similar ability), but came up much earlier. Lance Parrish and Darrell Porter would also fit roughly in this group. Ed Bailey is listed becase Baseball Reference has him as a comparable, but really he is not similar. Bailey was a big guy, and nowhere near the hitter that Posada is, who was quite obviously near done by age 32.

Without further ado, the chart:

Player    G     AB     H     HR    W     BA    OBP   SLUG   G. CAUGHT(AT 32)  OPS+
Posada 1003 3369 910 156 562 .270 .379 .475 134 123
Fisk 1078 3860 1097 162 389 .284 .356 .489 115 127
Hartnett 1227 3982 1154 154 447 .290 .364 .490 140 123
EdBailey 1022 3129 803 145 470 .257 .355 .440 88 111
Freehan 1583 5409 1422 181 684 .263 .344 .414 63 115

Another close comp is Javy Lopez, but because Javy's career is in progress (he's 33), I didn't use him.

Posada needs to have 3-5 years like the past 5, and 2-3 respectable ones to have a Hall of Fame career. That is the Fisk/Hartnett route to the Hall. Javy Lopez, as we shall see next, is in about the same situation. My guess is that one of the two will make it, and if forced to choose, I'd say Posada.

For the Green projection method this time, we'll leave out the salt from our curry recipe and put in a few cardamom seeds. All right, inhale and pronounce:

Posada's final career statistics- .267/.375/.460, 265 homers, 950 runs scored, 1100 RBIs.

Next up: Javy Lopez.

Other catchers in this series:Mike Piazza, Ivan Rodriguez