As the Giants try to defend their championship for the third time in the last five years, the face of their franchise is quietly having the second MVP-worthy season of his career. The 2012 Most Valuable Player already has more home runs and runs batted in this season than he did in all of 2013. Buster Posey‘s most impressive stat might be that he has only struck out 33 times this season while producing a slashline of .327/.386/.507. His .893 OPS is the second highest of his career since his MVP campaign of 2012 when Posey put up an OPS of .957.
His defense this season is even better than three years ago. That is what set him apart in 2012. His ability to catch a top pitching staff is what led most voters to choose Posey for the award over Ryan Braun and others.
Posey already has an impressive trophy case in his young career with three World Series rings, an MVP, a Comeback Player of the Year award, All-Star appearances and Silver Sluggers. Winning a second MVP, however, would put him a step closer to a path that few catchers have been on. Posey has often been compared to Hall of Famers like Johnny Bench and Yogi Berra, and winning multiple MVP awards is something Posey must do for that conversation to continue. Bench and Berra not only own many World Series rings like Posey does, but they also won multiple MVP’s which Posey has yet to do.
This season, the other candidates include Bryce Harper, Paul Goldschmidt, and pitchers like Zach Greinke and Max Scherzer. Last year when Clayton Kershaw won the award, there weren’t any legitimate hitters to compete with his historic season. This year, Harper, Goldschmidt and Posey are all deserving of the award.
Based on Wins Above Replacement, Harper (6.9) is the choice over Greinke (6.7) with a slim lead. Goldschmidt, who plays for a below .500 team has a WAR of 6.1, while Posey is at 5.3. Harper could end up winning in a landslide because his Nationals are competing for the playoffs and his numbers suggest he has far and away had the best season. But a lot can happen in August and September, and voters in years past would suggest that those months mean more in their final tally. If Harper continues to produce, Posey could be on the outside looking in come awards season. However, if Posey continues to perform the way he has since the All-Star break, we may be seeing a second MVP for the defending champs best player.