One of the best stories of the season has been the reemergence of Buster Posey as a dominant offensive player for the first-place San Francisco Giants. Posey opted out the 2020 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and after playing through a hip injury in 2018 before finally undergoing surgery that August, he hadn't been a force at the plate since 2017. Given his age (34), lack of power in 2018 and 2019 (12 home runs) and all those games behind the plate (nearly 1,000 entering 2021), his time as an elite player appeared over.
He homered in the first two games of the season, however, and hasn't stopped hitting, batting .333/.411/.583 with 10 home runs for the surprising Giants. He has been so good that San Francisco Chronicle columnist Scott Ostler recently wrote a column arguing Posey is making a case to become a Giant for life -- a big shift from what his future seemed to be a few months ago, when the odds favored the Giants not exercising a $22 million club option for him for 2022.
In a season when many hitters are struggling just to make contact, Posey has retained the skill that allowed him to win a batting title in 2012, when he hit .336.
He started 39 of the Giants' 59 games entering Tuesday's contests as manager Gabe Kapler has worked well with Posey to keep him as fresh as possible. Posey is also catching what has been one of the best pitching staffs in the majors. Because of his excellent start, Posey leads my annual Still-Too-Early All-Star rosters.
A lot can change between now and the MLB All-Star Game on July 13 in Denver, but two-plus months of play gives us a solid framework to fill out our hypothetical National League and American League squads. As you follow along and disagree with my selections, here are the guidelines: 32-man rosters with 20 position players and 12 pitchers (including at least three relievers), two designated hitters for the AL, and each team must be represented.
My general philosophy: I emphasize 2021 numbers, but I also want legitimate All-Stars on my teams, not two-month wonders, so performance from recent seasons is also considered. Mookie Betts isn't off to a great start, but he's still an All-Star and he's on my team -- he hasn't played poorly enough to play himself off the team, in other words.