In the early going this season the San Francisco Giants are one of the most pleasant surprises in baseball. The Fightin' Kaplers went into Tuesday night's game against the Philadelphia Phillies (GameTracker) with the National League's third best record at 10-6, and they've won eight of their past 12 games overall.
Among San Francisco's early season heroes is stalwart catcher Buster Posey. Posey launched two home runs against Zack Wheeler on Tuesday, his third and fourth homers of the season. It is Posey's first two-homer game since May 2016 and the fourth of his career. Here's the video:
Allow me to note Posey was San Francisco's first round pick in 2008 and Wheeler was their first round pick in 2009, so that's a fun coincidence. Wheeler was of course traded to the Mets for Carlos Beltran at the 2011 deadline.
Anyway, Posey hit four home runs in his first 41 plate appearances this season. He hit seven home runs in 445 plate appearances in 2019 and five home runs in 448 plate appearances in 2018. Here is the game in which Posey hit his fourth homer the last few years:
- 2021: 11th game
- 2020: Did not play (opted out)
- 2019: 66th game
- 2018: 47th game
Catcher is the game's most demanding position and it is rare that a catcher remains elite deep into his 30s. Posey had his last truly elite season in 2017, at age 30, and he's been merely good since then. All the crouching and foul tips and wear and tear take a big toll. There's so much velocity in the game today that all these guys have hamburger for hands.
Tuesday's two-homer game gives Posey a .297/.366/.622 batting line in the early going and my working theory is opting out of the 2020 season gave Posey a chance to rest and heal up, and come into 2021 rejuvenated. His exit velocity is up roughly 2 mph from 2018-19, so it's been a while since he's hit the ball as hard as he has this year.
It's still early and catchers have a way of wearing down as the season progress, so we'll see where Posey's power and overall production are sitting in a few months. For now, he's off to a great start, as are the Giants.