Some things just never change.
Despite some shifts in the balance of power in MLB (Pittsburgh Pirates) and some surprising individual performances (Chris Davis and Yasiel Puig, anyone?), the MVP picture near the halfway mark is more or less where it was last season … at least in the AL, anyway.
There’s Detroit Tigers slugger Miguel Cabrera at it again, gunning for his second-straight triple-crown season in what might just end up being his best campaign yet. Whether he ends up accomplishing the historic feat or not, there’s little doubt that his incredible 5.4 fWAR season (made even more so because of his not-so great defense) would be the MVP right now — sorry, Mike Trout.
But what about the NL?
The contenders have changed. perennial favourite Ryan Braun has no shot at it this year thanks to a nagging hand injury, and in his place are folks like David Wright, Matt Carpenter and Carlos Gomez … among many others who are in a close fWAR race to take the crown from Buster Posey, the reigning MVP.
Just don’t count out the San Francisco Giants catcher, that’s all.
See, while the defending World Series champs are currently languishing in last place in a tightly-fought NL West at 39-45 and 4.5 games back, Posey hasn’t been slumping with them. That might be a little contrarian considering that the backstop has yet to register over three games in July, but given his torrid month at the plate in June (.374/.426/.636 triple-slash with five home runs and 11 doubles), I think he can be given a bit of a break here.
Besides, with his latest outing being an 0-for-3 with a pair of walks, he’s finding ways to contribute even when the bat’s not where it should be.
In fact, if it weren’t for Puigmania taking over baseball over the last month, you could very easily make an argument that Posey’s 1.062 month was the best player in the NL in the month of June, and thus is on his way to hanging onto his crown.
That is …if he wasn’t being surprisingly let down by his defense. At -2.4 fielding runs above average, this is the first time in a full season that Posey’s glove hasn’t quite aligned with his bat.
Will it be enough to hold him back from winning the MVP for the season year in a row?
Well, he’s currently a 3.4 fWAR player, good for ninth in the NL, and he ranks within the top 10 in average, (eighth, .312), OBP (tied-seventh, .390), slugging (eighth, .526), along with wOBA (sixth, .391) and wRC+ (fourth, 155). That’s a whole lot of numbers, but they all say one thing — in spite of his defensive issues, this is still easily one of the NL’s premiere offensive players in just about every category.
He’s already easily the Giants’ MVP yet again, and though he might not be leading the pack … Posey’s still got a decent shot at making it a repeat for both the AL and NL in 2013.