"He's going to be the best defensive catcher in the league this year," Joe Girardi boasted of his fellow backstop, Jorge Posada, during the spring. Girardi was reminded that Ivan Rodriguez and Charles Johnson also play in the American League. "I said the best," Girardi replied defiantly. Such praise is a testament to the hard work of Posada, 27, who converted to catcher in A ball in 1992 and led his minor league in either errors or passed balls in 1993 and '94. His bat has improved, too. Though he started only 91 games in '98, Posada had more RBIs (63) than any catcher in the league except Rodriguez. "He's going to be an All-Star—very soon," says manager Joe Torre.