Simon: What makes Buster Posey baseball’s best defensive catcher?

From SABR member Mark Simon at on March 25, 2017:

For the first time in nearly a decade, the reigning National League Gold Glove Award winner at catcher is someone other than Yadier Molina, and with that honor comes the transfer of the title of best defensive catcher in baseball.

San Francisco Giants backstop Buster Posey won his first Gold Glove in 2016, ending Molina’s eight-year run. Posey doesn’t fit the mold of a Molina or some of the other “best in the game” catchers who came before him. Unlike those catchers, what makes him great isn’t necessarily the deterrent value of his throwing arm.

Yes, Posey throws out would-be base stealers at a slightly above-average clip (33 percent in 2016), but he isn’t in the realm of Molina or AL Gold Glove winner Salvador Perez, against whom baserunners are often given the red light.

Instead, Posey excels at just about everything else a catcher does.

A Giants-rooting colleague of mine said of Posey, “He’s perfect.” Last season, he was the closest thing to it — the best in the game in three areas of catcher defense.

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Originally published: March 27, 2017. Last Updated: March 27, 2017.