Buster Posey Making Strong Case For NL MVP

The Giants took it on the chin Tuesday night, losing 14-2 to the Nationals. But that didn’t stop catcher Buster Posey from adding to the spectacular numbers he’s posted since the All-Star break: .457/.531/.787 with seven doubles and eight home runs in 113 plate appearances. His wRC+ over that time is an astounding 248. Simply put, he’s been the best hitter in baseball in the second half, and it’s not particularly close. Mike Trout — regularly regarded as “the best player on the planet” — has accumulated 2.3 WAR to Posey’s 2.6 over the past 30 days, and that’s with Posey’s catchers-legs base running and lower defensive rating.

For the season, Posey’s batting .332/.406/.547 with 19 home runs. His 158 wRC+ ranks fourth in the National League, behind Joey Votto, Andrew McCutchen, and Ryan Braun. He’s accumulated 5.0 WAR, good for fifth in the league, behind McCutchen, David Wright, Braun, and Michael Bourn. And again, Posey takes a hit for his base running.

McCutchen is likely considered the front runner for the National League MVP. His offensive numbers are gaudy: .362/.422/.609 with 23 home runs. His league-leading wRC+ sits at 175. The Pirates’ center fielder has accumulated 5.9 WAR, and that includes a negative defensive rating which is hard to understand if you, like me, regularly watch him roam the outfield for the Bucs. But McCutchen has cooled off a bit in the second half, at the same time Posey has amped it up. McCutchen’s second-half line sits at: .347/.427/.525 with four home runs.

If not for his knee injuries, Votto likely would have battled McCutchen for MVP honors to the end of the season, with their respective teams chasing the same National League Central title. But Votto’s been on the disabled list since just after the All-Star break and may not return until September.

Wright was in the discussion, too, particularly in the first half when the Mets were playing surprisingly competitive baseball. But New York’s season has taken an ugly turn in the second half even though Wright has continued to post very good numbers. Braun is having an almost identical season to 2011, when he beat out Matt Kemp for the National League MVP crown. But like Kemp’s Dodgers last season, Braun’s Brewers are not contenting this year. The seasons McCutchen and Posey are having for contending teams, coupled with his somewhat controversial win last season, likely knocks Braun out of the race.

Posey’s unearthly production in the second half has fueled the Giants’ re-invigorated offense. And that has helped keep San Francisco either tied for, or in sole possession of, first place in the National League West since the end of June. And Posey has done all of this while playing the most demanding defensive position on the field and quarterbacking the Giants’ very good starting rotation.

Posey’s played in 104 games to date. Only 81 of those have been as catcher; he’s played first base in the other games, save for three when he served as the designated hitter during interleague play. We’re likely to see a similar catcher-to-first baseman ratio for the Giants’ final 46 games, as manager Bruce Bochy works to keep Posey’s bat in the lineup while also giving his legs a rest. At this point, it’s easy to forget that Posey’s in his first season back after suffering a brutal and season-ending injury to his left ankle and lower leg last May. And while that’s more of a factor for the Comeback Player of the Year Award, I’d be surprised if some voters didn’t take that into account.

If Posey continues to produce as he has through the Giants’ first 116 games, he’d end the season with 6.94 WAR. That would land him on the list of Top 30 seasons in WAR by a catcher in the last 50 years. Johnny Bench‘s 1972 season with the Reds tops that list at 10.2 WAR. Bench won the MVP that year, as he had in 1970, the third-best season by a catcher since 1962 (8.7 WAR). Bench’s 1974 and 1975 seasons are also on the list, but he didn’t win MVP honors either of those seasons, losing out to Steve Garvey and teammate Joe Morgan, respectively. The Reds were in the postseason in 1970, 1972 and won the World Series in 1975.

Only three other catcher seasons in the Top 30 Since 1962 also resulted in MVP Awards: Joe Mauer with the Twins in 2009; Ivan Rodriguez with the Rangers in 1999, and Elston Howard with the Yankees in 1963. All three of those teams played in the postseason.

Mike Piazza has four seasons on the list (1993, 1996, 1997, and 1998). Gary Carter has three (1982, 1983 and 1984), and Joe Torre has two (1966 and 1970). None of the teams those catchers played for in those years made the postseason. None was awarded the MVP.

With a bit more than 25% of games still to be played, the competition for the 2012 NL MVP Award will be spirited.  Andrew McCutchen is in the lead but Buster Posey is making a strong second-half push. The Pirates and Giants are in a similar position, each vying for their division title, but also competing with each other for one of the two wild cards. Fasten your seat belt. It’s going to be an exciting ride.



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Wendy writes about sports and the business of sports. She's been published most recently by Vice Sports, Deadspin and NewYorker.com. You can find her work at wendythurm.pressfolios.com and follow her on Twitter @hangingsliders.


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lester bangs
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lester bangs
3 years 11 months ago

And Buster’s showing us how broken WAR is when it comes to catchers. Thanks Buster.

Thomas Grantham
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Thomas Grantham
3 years 11 months ago

Please explain. I understand the defensive side, but specifically with Buster Posey, what do you mean?

Oren
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Oren
3 years 11 months ago

As a Giants fan, I can say that Buster Posey has excellent defense. As well, he is definitely not fast, but usually can take an extra base and doesn’t actively hurt you on the basepaths. Offensively, his season and Johnny Bench’s 1972 season are comparable (Bench had a 155 wrc+ to Posey’s 158) – the only difference is fielding metrics (which are bad for most positions, but completely worthless for catchers) and baserunning metrics (which didn’t even exist in Bench’s time and seem to hate Posey more than they should). The difference because of these is 3 WAR, which is huge. I still think McCutchen should win the MVP if it were awarded tomorrow (even as a Giants fan), but I find it very hard to believe that with his ridiculous offensive numbers, Posey doesn’t have a higher WAR than he does now.

TKDC
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TKDC
3 years 11 months ago

The problem is everyone “as a [blank] fan,” just about, thinks their catcher is great defensively.

Also, Posey should be dinged a bit for his offensive contributions because some of them come as a first baseman. I don’t think Bench did the same.

I’m not sure what you mean by “actively hurt you on the basepaths,” but if one guy is fast and one is slow, there is an actual difference in value there.

My echo and bunnymen
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3 years 11 months ago

Buster Posey is hurting his value on the base paths in fWAR and rWAR too. Unless rWAR doesn’t include baserunning. His defense is considered average in rWAR and fWAR, so I think you may overrate his defense. On the eye test, he’s no Yadier or Cooch.

Oren
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Oren
3 years 11 months ago

@TDKC, yeah, there is a bit of a bias there. However, comparing him to other catchers the Giants have had recently (Chris Stewart, Eli Whiteside, Hector Sanchez, Bengie Molina), I think Buster is a better defender than all of them, with the possible exception of Stewart. Now, those guys could just be way worse than average, but I’m not just saying that with no information.

I do agree that Buster should be dinged for his playing time as a first baseman, but that still doesn’t make up for the 3 win advantage that Bench’s 1972 season has. I’m not saying Buster is having that good a season, just that it’s probably closer than the WAR difference shows.

apistat
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apistat
3 years 11 months ago

The problem is everyone “as a [blank] fan,” just about, thinks their catcher is great defensively.

I can guarantee you the Rockies don’t think this.

Pig.Pen
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Pig.Pen
3 years 11 months ago

As a Nats fan watching Jesus Flores play I do not in any way shape or form think he is a good defensive catcher–hence Kurt Suzuki–so every fan does not in fact think that his catcher is good defensively. Most Nats fans would agree with me, but Fangraphs puts Flores’ RPP at 2.5 and his CPP at 33. Which me eyes tell me is terribly inaccurate and it’s not just me eyes, but Mike Rizzo must have agreed with me or else he wouldn’t have traded for a defense-first catcher like Suzuki.

jim
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jim
3 years 11 months ago

@apistat

oh man, rosario and hernandez are sooo freaking bad

RoneFace
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RoneFace
3 years 11 months ago

In 1970 Bench started 130 games at C, 17 in the OF, and 5 at 1B. There’s no way Posey is going to end up starting 130 games behind the plate or equal Bench’s total games played this season (in large part because of last year’s injury) but he’s also not going to benefit from spending a lot more time away from the plate than Bench did.

Rupert McTavish
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Rupert McTavish
3 years 11 months ago

As a Manchester United fan, I can say that I have no idea who this Buster Posey chap even is.

Barry
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Barry
3 years 11 months ago

Let’s not make too much of Posey’s stats as a 1st baseman. In the combined games that he played as something other than C (1b/DH/PH), he has 1 hr and 10 RBI, so the bulk of his offensive numbers are as a C.

TKDC
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TKDC
3 years 11 months ago

Barry, why should that matter at all? If he stinks offensively at first base/DH, he is still depriving the team of good value. It all counts. Of course, since you cited RBI, I think you might just be new here.

williams .482
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Member
williams .482
3 years 11 months ago

I don’t fully understand what you mean. Can you elaborate?

Colin
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Colin
3 years 11 months ago

I don’t think McCutchen’s negative defensive rating is a mistake, he’s been negative over a period of almost 4 seasons at this point overall.

Bret Turner
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Bret Turner
3 years 11 months ago

I think the idea is that it’s not so much that his defensive rating is a mistake – more that it’s hard to reconcile with what fans see. That’s one of the reasons defensive metrics are so messy, so difficult to create, and so controversial – they just often don’t match our perceptions.

That also happens to be why they’re awesome, though, or have the potential to be.

J6takish
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J6takish
3 years 11 months ago

Guys who are truly elite defenders are boring to watch. They are always in the right place at exactly the right time, they don’t have to dive and make spectacular catches. McCutchen looks great in the outfield because he makes up for mistakes in spectacular fashion, which is why fans have a lot of issues with defensive metrics and outfielders

DJG
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DJG
3 years 11 months ago

“Guys who are truly elite defenders are boring to watch.”

This might be true in some case, but it’s hardly a general rule. A few names from the top of my head who were both truly elite and not boring: Ozzie Smith, Brooks Robinson, Andruw Jones, Ichiro.

anon
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anon
3 years 11 months ago

throwing arm aside, ichiro was pretty boring when he made catches, imo. a couple of notable web gems, but….mostly boring.

Bronnt
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Bronnt
3 years 11 months ago

DJG, as a longtime Braves fans, I can also attest that Andruw Jones was boring to watch on defense at his best. He’d get such a huge jump chasing down fly balls that he was coasting by the time he reached it. Made a ton of catches in stride and seemed to be gliding by the time he was at where the ball. He didn’t make a ton of full extension dives, and when he dove, he was usually just scooping a ball low off the turf and landed smoothly.

It was exciting to see just how damn far he’d traveled to get to a ball, but watching on television, he covered half the distance before the camera ever alighted on him. A top ten highlight of best catches in Andruw’s career is probably less exciting than a top ten list of catches by Aaron Roward, Gary Matthews Jr., or Andrew McCutchen.

gonfalon
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gonfalon
3 years 11 months ago

one caveat about McCutchen’s defensive ratings is that the metrics for his first two seasons were tainted by an unusual outfield shift, that thankfully ended when John Russell was fired after the 2010 season.

Dragoslav
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Dragoslav
3 years 11 months ago

Could it be because McCutchen plays in a ballpark where the left-center field wall is 410 feet away? That allows a lot more balls to fall into his zone. A 411 foot drive to left center would be a homerun in almost any other ballpark, leaving the center fielder off the hook, but in PNC Park, that ball would bounce off the wall and McCutchen’s UZR goes down for not making the play.

Giants 162-0
Member
Giants 162-0
3 years 11 months ago

As much as I love the Giants and Posey, I cant help but think it will be difficult for Posey to keep this up and win the award. We cant ignore two things, buster’s body in the last 40+ games holding up enough that he plays in enough games at such a high level and that he has had ridiculous hot streaks like this before (see the 2010 summer). Posey is an unbelievable talent, as much as I want Posey to hold if not exceed his current triple slash line, I don’t think he can sustain it, not this year at least.

Side note: Posey gets a great rap for handling the ‘Staff, but he has barely caught Timmy all year, same goes for Zito. They have preferred Sanchez. Maybe I’m not well read enough or “in the know” but I find that odd. Neither of those two are having great seasons (Timmy’s is well chronicled) and I can’t imagine that Sanchez calls a better game nor frames a better pitch than Buster. For a guy to win the award, he has to catch more than 3/5 of the staff right? Now, Buster’s days off could be the ones that coincide with their starts and maybe that’s why it has worked out how it has, but there has been discussion about those two preferring to work with Sanchez over the Golden Boy. Anyone have any intel?

Sara
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Sara
3 years 11 months ago

It’s not those two preferring to work with Sanchez, not sure where you heard that. It’s that considering it doesn’t seem to matter who is back there in terms of numbers, those two are much more tiring and brutal to catch. It’s another form of keeping him fresh by limiting the beatings that he takes behind the plate from the guys on the staff with less control who don’t always know where their balls are going.

Giants 162-0
Member
Giants 162-0
3 years 11 months ago

Thanks, that sounds about right, especially given this article i just found:

“Posey also understood the negative perception of him not catching as Lincecum tries to bust out of his seasonlong travails.

“We knew coming from a media standpoint there would be that question,” he said. “There’s nothing there. No point looking any further into it.”

http://blog.sfgate.com/giants/2012/06/22/hector-sanchez-not-buster-posey-to-catch-tim-lincecum-for-sf-giants-tonight/

efarenas78
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efarenas78
3 years 11 months ago

Zito worked with Sanchez last year during his rehab in the minors and had success. The Giants have had those two work together since. At this point they are willing to give Zito any sort of edge, real or not, to get production out of him.

Bochy has said that Lincecum throws a lot of balls in the dirt and would prefer to keep Posey from getting beat up because of this. I’m sure Posey and Lincecum work fine together considering their success the last couple of years.

Oren
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Oren
3 years 11 months ago

Bork has been better about this recently. I believe Buster caught both Timmy’s and Zito’s last starts. The Giants had a stupid ‘personal catcher’ idea earlier in the season, but thankfully seem to have abandoned it. And the fact is that Posey is not catching 3/5 of games – he’s caught 4/5 of games he’s started, and 72% of games in total.

I do agree, though, that it will be tough for Posey to win the award. As much as we hope he will, it is very unlikely that he will continue his torrid second half pace. As well, while I really hope we never have to worry about his ankle again, it’s still lingering there, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him have some (minor) problems late in the season, and if the Giants are likely to have a playoff spot (which, if the offense comes around and Cain gets back to how he was pre-all star break, is likely), they would rest him to make sure he’s healthy in the playoffs.

I’d say that the comeback player of the year is all but sewn up, though, assuming he finishes the year. Of course, that’s what we said about Vogelsong last year…

vivalajeter
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vivalajeter
3 years 11 months ago

This is my thought as well. The article says “If Posey continues to produce as he has through the Giants’ first 116 games…” but to me, that’s an enormous ‘If’. He’s playing out of his mind right now, and he plays the most demanding position on the field. Not a good recipe for keeping it up.

That said, he’s had a helluva year and he should be in the running if he doesn’t tank over the next month and a half. But I don’t see him winning unless he has a stellar September.

TKDC
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TKDC
3 years 11 months ago

It would also be a big mistake to believe that the last month of data for Cutch and Posey carries that much importance for what they’ll do that last 1 1/2 months. There is no reason to believe Cutch will stay “cooled off” or that Posey will remain red not; at least no reason any more persuasive than the likelihood that they again switch roles.

Paddy
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Paddy
3 years 11 months ago

The thing about Posey’s hot streak is that it started and a good chunk of it happened without anyone batting behind him. He was getting pitched around a lot. Now with Sandoval coming back and Pence added, they’re not going to be able to avoid Posey. So not only could he easily stay as hot, he could have even get hotter.

Yes, regression is always out there, but this is Posey’s first full season in the majors. We really don’t have any idea what he plays like over the course of a full season at this level. He doesn’t even know.

That said, I expect McCutchen to run away with it unless he stays cool & the Pirates fall out of it because of that. The story is just too good, and decades of watching this game make East Coast Bias as absolute a fact as the sun rising (in the east, damnit!).

vivalajeter
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vivalajeter
3 years 11 months ago

Paddy, his OPS over the last month is over 1.300 (according to the article). His hot streak, pro-rated for a full season, would be over 15WAR. Sorry, but he cannot easily stay as hot or even get hotter.

TKDC
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TKDC
3 years 11 months ago

FWIW, Pittsburgh is not the East Coast.

Baltar
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Baltar
3 years 11 months ago

Paddy, search this site and you will find that “protection” does not really exist.

channelclemente
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3 years 11 months ago

Lincecum and Posey have a friendly difference of opinion on who should call a game.

Richard
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3 years 11 months ago

Decent arguments for Posey, but this article should have mentioned Carlos Ruiz, if only in passing (maybe it would have if the author sorted the Min. PA by something other than “Qualified”?). Yes, he’s on the DL, and as a result will not be able to accumulate enough plate appearances to qualify for anything. But his wRC+ is 157 and he also has 5 WAR, in 78 fewer PAs.

chuckb
Member
chuckb
3 years 11 months ago

Ruiz has had a solid year, to be sure, but I have hard time reconciling the crux of this article with the fact that Yadier Molina’s name appears absolutely nowhere. Maybe it’s because he’s hidden on a team with Holliday and Beltran and we’re still struck in the mindset of 10 years ago that says Posey’s more “valuable” because his teammates aren’t as good.

It’s pretty silly to ignore the case that Molina’s making, in his best season, for MVP. Posey’s a great young catcher but Molina’s just been better this year. McCutchen’s still the favorite but, at this point, Molina has to finish above either Posey or, certainly, Ruiz.

Jack
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Jack
3 years 11 months ago

Hmmm…
Yadier Molina: .315/.365/.503=139 wRC+; 4.7 WAR
Buster Posey: .332/.406/.547=158 wRC+; 5.0 WAR
Offensively its not even close. Even including catcher defense (which, while Molina is almost certainly better its hard to say by how much do to the unreliability of Catcher defense metrics at this point), Posey has been more valuable. Why does Molina have to finish above Posey?

For Ruiz, the difference between Posey and Ruiz is miniscule offensively. Posey has playing time on his side, but Ruiz always catches and according to our current fielding metrics, is a slightly better defender. Between these two, it comes down to ROS expectations and team performance (which IMO shouldn’t be a primary factor, but make a good tie breaker)

Richard
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3 years 11 months ago

I’d’ve thought Molina would get a mention in such an article, too, though Posey’s having the better year. Ruiz was having a better year than either of them. But he’s not playing now and as a result won’t get anywhere near the playing time (if he plays at all the rest of the way), plus the Phillies have had a shitty season, so he’s obviously not in the running. I mainly brought him up because of the comparisons to other catcher-seasons.

cs3
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cs3
3 years 11 months ago

Did you even bother to look at any stats chuck?

Becasue your assertion that Yadier has been better than Posey is completely false.

Baltar
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Baltar
3 years 11 months ago

chuckb, you make a good point on Molina’s possibly being the real MVP, but the thrust of Wendy’s article was about who is likely to be voted MVP.
The writers are not likely to give Molina enough credit for his defense.

mattybobo
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mattybobo
3 years 11 months ago

Yeah, both Ruiz and Molina have actually been better when you factor in the difference in playing time.

TKDC
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TKDC
3 years 11 months ago

Is this about who deserves consideration or who will get consideration. If the former, Michael Bourn deserves more than a passing mention, if the latter Melky will get a lot of support if he leads the league in hitz and runz.

Giants 162-0
Member
Giants 162-0
3 years 11 months ago

The MelkMan has had a hell of a season, but the power #’s just are not there. Voters like the high AVG but also love the SLG (HR’s). Posey and McCutch have ISO’s to go with their AVGS and the power counting #’s that go with them.

McCutch .245 ISO 23HR 71RBI
Posey .214 ISO 19HR 76RBI
Melk .169 ISO 11HR 60RBI

TKDC
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TKDC
3 years 11 months ago

Big power numbers are usually there for the winner, but when there isn’t a player with them on a playoff team, other guys get consideration, too. The big power numbers you’re talking about are more like 35-40 HR seasons and lets be honest having well over 100 RBIz is important, even if it is a meaningless stat. 26 HR or whatever it is Posey is on pace for will not exactly bowl over the average voter. In these cases, sometimes a guy that leads the league in a couple traditional stats can sneak in and win (a la Pedroia in 2008).

MauerPower
Member
3 years 11 months ago

Even though he’s fallen off a little don’t forget Heyward.

My echo and bunnymen
Guest
3 years 11 months ago

I can see support for Posey and the MVP award (third place?) but McCutchen is having such an amazing year that I think we can’t ignore that. I don’t care about the playoffs or not, for me the MVP is an award for the best player. McCutchen is simply the best player in the NL.

jim
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jim
3 years 11 months ago

mccutchen is playing WAY over his head this year, .408 BABIP (80 points above career average, LD% up too, but not enough to produce that kind of BABIP), 21.3% HR/FB (up 9 percentage points over career average, yet with career-low FB%), combined with the lowest BB% and second highest K% (backed by a career high SwStr%, O-Sw%, and career lows in both in and out of zone contact rates) of his career.

MauerPower
Member
3 years 11 months ago

So you’re not gonna give someone an MVP award if they’re the best player in their league even if their performance is unlikely to occur again?

jim
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jim
3 years 11 months ago

not when it’s something of the magnitude mccutchen is exhibiting this year, no.

vivalajeter
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vivalajeter
3 years 11 months ago

LOL at jim. He’s getting too many hits and too many home runs – we can’t give him the MVP!

PiratesHurdles
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PiratesHurdles
3 years 11 months ago

Jim, MVP season’s require far above league average performances. You don’t punish a guy for overachieving, you reward it. The MVP is rewarded for what a player did produce, not what he will in the future.

Justin M.
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Justin M.
3 years 11 months ago

To be fair, having a higher SwStr%/K% and HR/FB % might be indicative of a more power heavy approach. Figured that’d be at least worth mentioning. The BaBIP will certainly regress, but the HR/FB% might not regress as much as you might think.

Also, coming into this season, he was still developing as a player with power, remember that as well. He might be closer to a .300 than .350 hitter, but you can’t just completely believe he’ll regress to his first 2 season numbers with the data you have.

jim
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jim
3 years 11 months ago

i’m sorry i have a different standard of rewarding luck than you guys, and i’m sorry you feel the need to give me minus votes for it

cs3
Member
cs3
3 years 11 months ago

jim sorry but thats the most idiotic line of thinking ive seen on this site in a long time

My echo and bunnymen
Guest
3 years 11 months ago

Somehow I feel complemented that I could receive such a horrible reply. I’m sorry man, but Posey, Trout, and McCutchen are all playing over their heads. If we were to award the MVPs to the best player minus luck, then where would the fun be in that. Might as well give it to Pujols or Bautista every year, screw playing the game.

seth
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seth
3 years 11 months ago

you guys love stats too much. Watch the games. Watch the players and how they react and handle themselves. Defensive stats are a joke and all these stats will never compare to watching them play.

Kyle
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Kyle
3 years 11 months ago

Gotta agree with you. Posey will probably struggle now that Melky Cabrera was busted for PEDs.

And Posey has allowed 63 stolen bases compared to Molina’s 28(that guy controls the bases and calls a much better game behind the plate.) Posey is hitting like a superstar but shouldn’t people wait til the end of the season to see who’s in the playoffs and who’s still carrying his team on his back.

When a team has 2 all-star pitchers, 1 guy who was a Cy Young winner for a few seasons, and another guy who should have been an all-star… aren’t they underachieving? 3 guys with ERAs under 3, a guy who was an elite ace for years, and Zito(who’s your worst at 9-8 with a 4.29 ERA; better than most number 5 pitchers the league has)…

Posey isn’t the best hitter on the Giants, but he’s the MVP? I’d go with Mccutchen, Holliday, or maybe even Kemp if he continues to put up such a monstrous season with so few at-bats and being injured half the year.

Robbie G.
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Robbie G.
3 years 11 months ago

All of these guys are pretty close in the WAR department, and I do think that MVP voters are paying very close attention to WAR these days:

Andrew McCutchen
David Wright
Michael Bourn
Ryan Braun
Buster Posey
Carlos Ruiz
Chase Headley
Jason Heyward
Joey Votto
Yadier Molina
Matt Holliday
Melky Cabrera

This strikes me as one of the most competitive MVP races I’ve ever seen. I believe that it will come down to three things: 1) Who is getting the most hype for MVP in the second half of September, 2) Who has the hottest final month and a half of the season (related to the first factor), and, unfortunately, 3) Whose team makes it to the playoffs. If you have a player with just impossible to ignore numbers, and there is a big, obvious separation between him and everybody else, he gets the MVP, whether his team makes the playoffs or not. Otherwise, voters are unfortunately buying into the argument that the best player needs to lead his team to the playoffs.

That means that, for all intents and purposes, it comes down to which of these guys play for teams that make the playoffs and have the hottest final month and a half of the season:

Andrew McCutchen
Michael Bourn
Buster Posey
Jason Heyward
Joey Votto
Yadier Molina
Matt Holliday
Melky Cabrera

We can narrow it down even further, really, since Votto should continue to miss games for a while, and Molina surely does not have it in him to post monster offensive numbers down the stretch:

Andrew McCutchen
Michael Bourn
Buster Posey
Jason Heyward
Matt Holliday
Melky Cabrera

Having said all of that, the Pirates are such a great story, and it’s been such a long time since they made the playoffs… if the Pirates get into the playoffs, and so long as McCutchen’s production does not fall off a cliff, down the stretch, I have to think that it’s his award to lose. Otherwise, it should come down to the above three factors.

Holliday strikes me as a sneaky dark horse MVP candidate right now; if he and the Cardinals can get hot at the same time (thereby overcoming the Pirates and facing the Braves in the wild card game), I can see him coming out of nowhere and winning this thing, especially if the Giants fail to make it to the playoffs, which knocks out Posey and Cabrera.

Jack
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Jack
3 years 11 months ago

I like your final list, but I’d replace Bourn with Votto. Votto is missing time, but a lot of Bourn’s value comes from defense, which is historically underrated by MVP voters. Votto could also get the ‘best player on the best team’ vote.

Nate
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Nate
3 years 11 months ago

Yes, the narrative of getting the Pirates to the playoffs after more than 20 years will guarantee McCutchen the MVP unless he basically dies between now and then. (And if he does fall off a cliff, the Pirates playoff odds probably disappear with him.)

Votto will not have with the number of games missed, especially since the current narrative is “See how well the Reds are doing without him!”.

Justin M.
Guest
Justin M.
3 years 11 months ago

heck the Pirates finishing above .500 will probably be even to get McCutchen the MVP even if they don’t make playoffs, the narrative points for doing even that will probably be enough with his hitting #s even if he has a subpar last 50 games.

TKDC
Guest
TKDC
3 years 11 months ago

I agree about Holliday. I disagree that Heyward or Bourn have much of a shot at actually winning, and I’m a Braves fan. They derive way too much from defense and baserunning. If either is absolutely tremendous and they overtake the Nats, then maybe.

PrinceOfBeers
Guest
PrinceOfBeers
3 years 11 months ago

Posey is merely an average 1B faking defense at catcher. Playing him at 1B even exposed him as bat only. For the Giants, a catcher who can’t frame pitches to get his pitchers strikes, is so-so at throwing out baserunners and can’t get along with pitchers (like Lincecum) isn’t as valuable as a plus defense catcher with a weak bat. But the Giants have such weak offense and poor position evaluation/development (Gary Brown is their top prospect) they are using Posey with Yadier Molina or Carlos Ruiz would be immensely more valuable to a stacked pitching rotation, 2012 offensive surge not considered.

He shouldn’t even be in the MVP conservation, but he should be a shoo-in for Comeback Player of the Year.

UniversalRulerOfBeers
Guest
UniversalRulerOfBeers
3 years 10 months ago

Buster Posey has a great arm, but many Giants pitchers are slow out of the stretch. Posey finished 4th on a MLB PLAYER poll on who is hardest to run against, only finishing behind Wieters, Yadier, and Miguel Olivo. Most runners steal off of the pitcher, rather than off of Posey. The fact that so many casual observers count his defense as a negative proves that catcher defensive stats are flawed, and they have no clue what they are talking about. He’s not Yadier Molina defensively, but he’s pretty damn good.

The main reason that he doesn’t play catcher as often as most elite starters is that he’s a year removed from a horrific leg injury and the Giants are protective of their star player’s future, like in Strasburg’s case.

As for the Giants’ prospect development, they tend to draft late, focus on pitching, and try to fill the offense from outside their system. If a position player falls into their lap (Posey) or just hits out of nowhere (Sandoval) it’s just gravy. It’s a different approach than a lot of clubs have, but it seems to be working just fine.

Don Draper
Guest
Don Draper
3 years 11 months ago

Got pu$$y on my mind and patron all in my cup

Paul
Guest
Paul
3 years 11 months ago

hmmm, I looked at your Tope 30 C’ list and thought, didn’t Javy Lopez have a monster season…

Javy Lopez is missing from your Top 30 Catchers list

He doesn’t ‘qualify’ being 8PA short, but then that makes 7WAR in less playing time even more valuable as WAR is cumulative (and your ‘top 30 Catchers’ had no such qualification about being Batting title only qualified seasons)

Back on topic, Posey is an easy guy to root for (seems a good guy, back from nasty injury, leader type) so good for him having a great season

TKDC
Guest
TKDC
3 years 11 months ago

He does have that boyish, “All-American,” white face.

Hurtlockertwo
Guest
Hurtlockertwo
3 years 11 months ago

It’s ironic that there is now MVP talk for Posey when he drew so much negative ink for starting in front of Molina in the All Star game. He won’t win the MVP
unless McCutchen really stumbles, but he is the Giants best hope. (Melky deserves mention, but doesn’t hit for enough power)

vivalajeter
Guest
vivalajeter
3 years 11 months ago

The main reason he’s in the discussion is because of what he’s done after the All-Star break (1.300+ OPS). It’s entirely possible for someone to not be worthy of an All-Star start, but to wind up as the MVP.

YanksFanInBeantown
Guest
YanksFanInBeantown
3 years 11 months ago

Who was upset about Posey starting in front of Molina?

Molina’s offensive numbers at the break weren’t comparable to Chooch’s

Baltar
Guest
Baltar
3 years 11 months ago

Man, the commenters on this site are desparate to attack people on trivial grounds. TKDC and J6 make excellent points with deliberately hyperbolic language to drive the point home and they get savaged.
Are you going to tell me that you have never used words such as “every” and “boring” when they weren’t literally true?

Matthias
Member
Member
3 years 11 months ago

“…Braun’s Brewers are not contenting this year…”

I bet you meant “contending,” but people in Milwaukee are probably not very content, either.

adohaj
Guest
adohaj
3 years 11 months ago

So you say…
“McCutchen has cooled off a bit in the second half. . . McCutchen’s second-half line sits at: .347/.427/.525 with four home runs.

For the season, Posey’s batting .332/.406/.547”

A cooled off McCutchen is has a better triple slash than Posey’s season line. I know where my vote would go.

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