Best way to learn from Posey? Simply watch

Young veteran a natural for mentor role inherited from Molina

March 7th, 2016

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- To his fellow Giants catchers, Buster Posey's Major League skills have an Ivy League quality to them.
Whether it's by example or with occasional words of wisdom, Posey furthers the continuing education of San Francisco's receivers. Posey's curriculum vitae includes the National League Rookie of the Year and Most Valuable Player awards, three NL All-Star team selections and two NL Silver Slugger trophies. That lends weight to Posey's words and deeds, as if he were a tenured professor.
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"It's like going to school and having the best teacher teach you the game," said Andrew Susac, the Giants' projected backup catcher. "You can't pay for those lessons."
Some professors come across as heavy-handed -- or, to borrow an academic word, didactic. Posey strives to avoid sounding tedious, as if blocking a slider in the dirt were akin to organic chemistry. Therefore, he prefers to let his actions in drills and games convey his expertise.
"Like anything, there's a balance and a fine line," said Posey, who rested as the Giants fell to the Dodgers, 5-2, on Sunday. "I want to help, but I think for somebody to maximize their potential, they have to figure things out on their own."
That's precisely what's happening on a regular basis in Giants camp.

"Sitting there and watching him, and seeing how he works, he doesn't even have to tell me," Susac said. "I can just see it from the bench or in practice."
Observing Posey's execution of fundamentals is especially important for Trevor Brown, who switched from playing infield to catching full-time only two years ago.
"Obviously he knows what he's doing, so when I'm not playing, I'm trying to learn from watching," Brown said.
Tyler Ross, who played at Class A Advanced San Jose last year, said that he benefits simply by being around Posey -- "watching how professional he is, how he goes about his business," Ross said. "He just looks determined, in everything he does. The aura he gives off is that he's confident but very humble."
Posey even dispenses catching wisdom with humility.
"The biggest thing that I've noticed is, if you're doing something wrong and he has a tip for you, he's not going to say something in front of a lot of guys," Ross said. "He'll take you off to the side and whisper something. He'll bring it to you in a way that's not belittling you."
Said Aramis Garcia, rated the ninth-best prospect in San Francisco's Minor League system by, "Buster's been great. This is my second year of [big league] camp, and he's very open. He welcomes you to come and talk to him. This year I came into camp and he asked me how last year went, what I was working on and whether I needed help with anything."
Posey's thoughtfulness for his aspiring counterparts can be traced to the treatment he received from Bengie Molina. The gentlemanly veteran was the Giants' No. 1 catcher as Posey made his ascent, which accelerated in 2010. That prompted the Giants to trade Molina to Texas and assign Posey the everyday role.
"I think the biggest thing that Bengie did for me is he made me so comfortable, right away," Posey said. "He was nearing the end of his career; obviously mine was just starting. I didn't know what to expect. I didn't know which way it was going to go. I honestly don't feel there was any ill will toward me whatsoever. That's a cool thing, because I've seen guys even in my short time in the big leagues become kind of bitter."
Posey easily commands the same respect and regard.
"As far as playing behind somebody, there's nobody better," Susac said. "The way he manages a [pitching] staff, the way he can clear his mind and go to the plate and have the approach he does -- it's special, man. He's going to make history. It's definitely fun to watch. I'm just glad I can sit here and soak it in. It makes me a better player, learning from him at the same time."