Over the last few of weeks, we've offered introductions to our Best Players of 2015 series. We set the stage for the whole endeavor, and we then revealed the players who landed between 45th and 11th on the list. If you need a refresher on the methodology, nine of our writers ranked players based on how well they thought players would perform during the 2015 season. They ordered them from No. 1 to No. 20, and those players got point values (20 for first, 19 for second, etc) and were ranked by the sum of their points. The highest possible score is 180. We're already told you Anthony Rendon ranked 10th, Jose Bautista finished ninth, Miguel Cabrera landed at eighth, and Josh Donaldson ended up seventh.
No. 6: Buster Posey, Catcher (San Francisco Giants)
Christopher Hanewinckel/USA Today
The calendar ends in an odd number, but as far as we can tell, the Even Year Bullshit rule only applies to the Giants as a team and not to individual players. For that reason, we're all in on Buster Posey as the best catcher in baseball and the sixth-best player in the league.
Not only does he play the most difficult position on the field extremely well, but he's an elite hitter with a pretty impressive ability to hug pitchers who throw no-hitters or finish off World Series wins.
Why We Love Him
Buster Posey basically has four seasons of baseball under his belt, and he's averaged 5.9 WAR per year. He's only missed time because of a horrific injury caused by a tackle, and his worst full season featured a 134 wRC+.
If you're a glass half empty person, your only ammunition is that Posey isn't a good base runner. He's a top tier bat, he plays a tough position well, and he's durable as all get-out. Plus if you're into intangibles and junk, he seems to ooze general awesomeness. The only bad thing you can say about Posey is that he's not Clayton Kershaw.
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The projections agree with our assessment of Posey, with Steamer forecasting 6.1 WAR in 565 PA. ZiPS likes him for 6.3 WAR in 597 PA, and good old PECOTA is the pessimist, pegging Posey for a mere 4.5 WAR in 599 PA.
Where He Fits In
Posey is the best catcher on our list and just barely edged out Donaldson with 95 points. Somehow, two writers left him out of their top 20 (glances menacingly at Scott Lindholm, Michael Bradburn), but he also got a pair of third place votes from Bryans Grosnick and Robinson.
You can understand a little skepticism about catchers simply due to the wear and tear aspect of the position. I don't think anyone contests Posey's value over the last few seasons, but it's reasonable to say that his workload might catch up with him in the near future. He'll get some reps at first base throughout the year to help stave off the decline, but a 130 wRC+ catcher with quality receiving ability is a star.
Too bad he has to wait until next year to get another ring.
Statistics via FanGraphs and Baseball Prospectus.
Neil Weinberg is the Associate Managing Editor at Beyond The Box Score, the Site Educator at FanGraphs, and writes enthusiastically at New English D.