Since hitting 22 home runs in 2014, the second most of his career behind the 24 in his 2012 National League MVP season, Buster Posey's power has declined in each of the past three years.
Posey followed up 2014 with 19 home runs in 2015, 14 in 2016, and only 12 last season. Through 30 games this year, the Giants' No. 3 hitter has hit just two balls over the fence.
"Maybe it's an approach at the plate," Giants GM Bobby Evans said Tuesday on KNBR. "Maybe the focus has not been as much about driving the ball as getting on base and trying to get guys across when they are in scoring position."
In his final season at Florida State, Posey launched 26 long balls after combining for seven his first two years in college. While he found his power as a junior, Evans believes where Posey hits the ball hardest hurts him at AT&T Park in San Francisco.
“I think that his power when he was in college, his power was really to right-center," Evans said. "You know he’s had to make adjustments at the big league level, because right-center power doesn’t play at AT&T Park. So I think it probably has been an adjustment. You know his power’s not a pull-down-the-foul-line, left field foul line, home-run-type power.
"I mean he’s more of a right-center power type guy which doesn’t play at AT&T. So I think it’s probably had an impact there.”
For a catcher who suffered a serious season-ending injury in the past, Posey has been beyond durable. The past six seasons, Posey has averaged 146 games played per year. Evans made it clear there is no hidden injury to worry about with Posey, and at the same, acknowledged he's not 100 percent healthy, just like many other players.
“I don’t think any of these guys are 100 percent healthy,” Evans said when asked about a possible Posey injury. “I think that he straps it on every day because he’s Buster Posey, and that’s who he is. There’s no way, if you’re a catcher in the big leagues, that you are 100 percent healthy. You’re carrying things all year.”
Over his career as a Giant, Posey has caught more than 7,000 regular season innings, putting a toll on his body at 31 years old. While he's still the reliable hitter the Giants can count on every game, batting .306 this season, Posey's power certainly may have peaked years ago.