The MLB Draft arguably has the most difficult evaluation process of any of North America’s four major sports. With upwards of 40 rounds in a typical year, thousands of players lie within the prospect pool.
The Giants have found some gems over the years, as shown by the primarily homegrown group that won three World Series titles in five years from 2010-14. First-round picks by San Francisco over the years have included stars like Madison Bumgarner, Will Clark and Tim Lincecum, but ESPN’s David Schoenfield writes that 2012 NL MVP Buster Posey was the Giants’ best first-round pick since 1965.
Posey was selected fifth overall back in 2008 and has been a foundational piece of the franchise since. He was the starting catcher on all three World Series-winning teams and won the NL MVP and the batting title in 2012. Is he indeed the organization’s best first-round pick?
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Bumgarner and Lincecum were two of MLB’s best starting pitchers at their peak, albeit for differing reasons. Lincecum rightfully earned a pair of Cy Young Awards, during a run in which he led the NL in strikeouts for three consecutive seasons. Bumgarner might be the most clutch postseason pitcher in league history, possessing a 2.11 ERA in over 100 innings.
Clark finished top-five in NL MVP voting for five consecutive years from 1987-91, and was a six-time All-Star in San Francisco.
All of these players deserve to have their uniforms raised to the rafters at Oracle Park, but Posey’s impact on the organization goes beyond all of them. While he isn’t a boisterous or particularly outgoing player, Posey’s leadership alongside former manager Bruce Bochy was instrumental in the Giants’ numerous successes during the last decade.
At a position not typically relied upon for offensive production, Posey consistently has been among the team’s best hitters and most dependable defenders for a decade. Posey backed it up by being the Giants’ best finisher in Wins Above Replacement for six of the past eight seasons.
MadBum might have had a chance to earn this title if he had returned to the Giants after the 2019 season, but the former World Series MVP opted to sign with the Arizona Diamondbacks this winter.
Posey rightfully gets the nod here because despite the continued turnover of the Giants’ roster during this Farhan Zaidi-led rebuild, the catcher likely is the only player the organization has considered untradeable.
He made his MLB debut in a Giants uniform, and it’s very hard to imagine Posey not walking off a field for the final time in that same cream uniform.