Monday, January 23, 2012

A Look Back: Jorge Posada

With the official announcement of Jorge Posada's retirement right around the corner, I would like to look back at  the start of his career.  I like to do this for a few reasons. 1) Out of the great respect I have for Posada as a key Yankees player 2) Give some perspective on how a good major league player did in the minors to compare to today's prospects 3) Try to uncover some interesting facts.

Posada was drafted by the Yankees in the 24th round of the 1990 MLB amateur draft out of Santurce, Puerto Rico at age 18.

His first professional season was in 1991 in Oneonta.  This is the equivalent of Staten Island today (Low A Short Season) in the New York- Penn League.  There he actually played more games as a second baseman than as a catcher.  He caught only 11 games compared to 64 at second base.  While there he hit .235 with 4 HRs, 5 doubles, 34 runs, and 33 RBIs in 71 games.  Not overly impressive but again this is his first professional season.

His second season, 1992, he spent almost exclusively behind the plate.  He spent the season at Greensboro, like today's Charleson RiverDogs (Low A).  There he hit .277 with 12 HRs, 22 doubles, 60 runs and 58 RBIs in 101 games and showed the batting potential that Yankees fans would become accustomed to for years.

1993 was a big season for Jorge Posada.  He again started the season with a promotion.  This time to Prince Williams, or today's Tampa Yankees (High A).  There he played the first 118 games of the season and hit .259 with 17HRs, 27 doubles, 71 runs and 61 RBIs.  At the end of the season the Yankees decided he was ready for another promotion.  They sent him to AA, Albany-Colonie (today's Trenton Thunder).  He only played 7 games there and hit .280 with 3 runs scored.

After showing that he could hit at AA at the end of the 1993 season, the Yankees started Posada at AAA (Columbus or todays Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees).  This would be the first of three seasons that Posada would play mostly at AAA.  In 1994 he hit .240 with 11 HRs, 13 doubles, 46 runs, and 48 RBIs in 92 games.  One game in which he played the outfield.

Now one might expect Posada to get some big league time in 1995, however with the signing of current Yankees manager Joe Girardi, Posada spent almost the entire 1995 and 1996 seasons in AAA.  In 1995 he hit .255 with 8 HRs, 32 doubles, 60 runs, and 51 RBIs in 108 games.  He did make his major league debut this season on September 4, 1995 but that would end up being the only MLB game he got action in that season.

In 1996 he remained stuck in the system.  However, this did not stop him from having one of his best minor league season and giving the Yankees no choice but to give him some major league starts in 1997.  He hit .271 with 11 HRs, 22 doubles, 76 runs, and 62 RBIs.  He saw time in eight major league games that season, most in a September call up.  The 1996 season would be the last he played in the minors.  From there he went on to have his highly successful major league career with the Yankees.

This goes to show that even though he didn't have incredible minor league stats he was still a very successful MLB player.  His .273 career batting average in the big leagues is better then all but one of his minor league seasons.  This is especially impressive for a catcher, who usually aren't great hitters.

In finale I want to give my best wishes to Jorge in whatever he does post-retirement and thank him for the great years he had as a great Yankees catcher.

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