The catching position is the most dangerous one in the Major Leagues. Not only is there the fear of collisions, like the one that ended Buster Posey’s 2011 season, but there are constant aches and pains of every day work. Catchers are constantly squatting and they are banged up from foul balls and blocking pitches in the dirt. Because of these dangers, many superstars are moved out of the position as they advance in their careers. After suffering a concussion that ended his season last year, the Minnesota Twins have already moved Joe Mauer to first base. Many rumblings have been heard in San Francisco that former Rookie of the Year and NL MVP Buster Posey may be next. If Posey does move, there is a budding catcher in their system, Andrew Susac, who will be ready to step in and play very soon.
The Giants drafted Susac out of Oregon State University with the 86th pick of the 2011 draft. In his first two professional seasons, he has an unimpressive batting average of .249. But, the two areas that Susac has impressed is power and defense. In just 186 minor league games, Susac has slugged 21 homeruns. As he gets more at bats these numbers should continue to grow. Behind the plate, he has worked to not only call a good game, but he has been able to help pitchers with his strong throwing arm by throwing out 32 percent of all baserunners who have attempted to steal.
Coming up through the system, Susac has drawn several comparisons to current catcher Buster Posey. Matt Kawahara of the Sacramento Bee reported that Susac has been working with minor league hitting coordinator, Steve Dierker on simplifying his swing. These changes have allowed Susac to become an even more accomplished hitter. During the Arizona Fall League after making these changes, Susac was able to finish seventh in the league with a .360 batting average. He was also able to drive the ball with regularity as shown in his .987 OPS.
This spring Susac has continued to hit well, while remaining with the team through most of the Cactus League season. Currently MLB.com ranks Susac as the eighth best catching prospect in baseball. He should begin the year in AAA, and with continued improvements he could get to San Francisco quickly. It is only a matter of time until the Giants move Posey, like the Twins moved Mauer. When they do, Andrew Susac looks to be an excellent backup plan.
Statistics Provided by Baseball Reference
References: Giants Prospect Susac Hopes to be a Hit with New Swing
Other Giants Prospect: Kyle Crick