Most of the recent attention surrounding the Most Valuable Player debates in Major League Baseball has fallen on the American League side, with Mike Trout and Miguel Cabrera doing battle for the award.
No matter which side of the tracks you fall on in that debate (Trout), the National League side might actually be the tougher one to decide, simply because the field looks to be bigger. You’re talking about a list that could include Buster Posey, Ryan Bruan, Andrew McCutchen, Yadier Molina, and David Wright.
While a case could probably be made for any of the five, the race will likely come down to Posey, Braun, and McCutchen. And of the three, Posey seems like the most worthy candidate for the award.
The fact that Posey is even in the discussion is incredibly by itself. Performing at this high of a level after the gruesome injury he sustained that cost him his season last year is mighty impressive. But he’s returned to his 2010 form, and then some, for the San Francisco Giants.
Posey’s offensive numbers are among the best in the game. He won the National League batting title this season, finishing with a .336 average and an absolutely absurd .408 on-base percentage, almost 10 points higher than McCutchen in each. His overall offensive numbers were just fantastic, with 24 home runs and over 100 RBIs to add to those totals.
Looking at the advanced stats, Posey (as well as Braun and McCutchen) both posted a WAR between seven and eight, depending on who you listen to. Posey also strikes out less and walks more. While Braun may literally bring the brawn to the table, there’s almost no substitute for how effective Posey has been at the dish this year.
Also consider the fact that Posey is doing it from a position where offensive prowess is tough to maintain. He played the majority of his games at catcher, though he was spelled a bit and sent to first at points during the season.
As much as you hate to use the postseason argument, Posey’s offense was a tremendous factor in getting his team to the postseason. Braun has a much stronger offensive lineup around him, which Posey does not. He’s also spending his home games in a more difficult park than both Braun and McCutchen, though the difference between his and McCutchen’s home park isn’t a big one.
It’s not a tremendous gap, but Buster Posey should be the one to take home the National League MVP award. He’s been very steady all season, posting career numbers, and has done it from a tough position to play, especially when you’re coming off as awful an injury as he was.
Without Posey, there are probably no playoffs for the Giants.