4 Reasons Buster Posey Should Win the 2012 NL MVP Award
After enduring a gruesome collision at home plate last season that resulted in a broken leg and torn ligaments in his ankle, Posey has done more than exceed our wildest expectations in 2012 and is all but a lock to win the Comeback Player of the Year Award.
But Posey deserves more than that.
His man competition—and so far the favorite to take home the MVP honors at the season's end—is Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder Andrew McCutchen. And while it's difficult to formulate an argument stating that someone other than McCutchen deserves the award at the moment, there are some legitimate reasons why the gap between Posey and McCutchen is closer than you might think.
Here's four reasons why Posey deserves to win the NL MVP Award.
73 RBI in Limited Plate Appearances
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I don't know which is more impressive; the fact that Buster Posey has 73 RBI in only 409 at-bats, or that he has 73 RBI hitting in the anemic San Francisco Giants lineup.
When looking at the other league leaders in RBI in the NL, all have more at-bats than Posey, and by a considerable amount.
- Carlos Beltran (434 plate appearances) has 78 RBI
- Matt Holliday (471 plate appearances) has 76 RBI
- Ryan Braun (448 plate appearances) has 74 RBI
- Carlos Gonzalez (448 plate appearances) has 74 RBI
- Buster Posey (409 plate appearances) has 73 RBI
The limited amount of plate appearances can be attributed to Posey missing 11 games because a catcher needs an occasional off day, as well as the fact that he suffered a career-threatening injury only 14 months ago.
Hypothetically, if Posey had the same amount of plate appearances as Holliday and continued to drive in runs at this same pace, he would have roughly 84 RBI at the moment.
Moreover, Posey is the lone run producer in a Giants lineup that struggles mightily to put runs on the board. Melky Cabrera, the Giants left fielder, has been phenomenal this year, but he acts as more of a table setter than a RBI guy.
Outside of Cabrera, Posey has 33 more RBI than anyone else on the Giants roster. (Angel Pagan has 40.)
That sounds like a MVP to me.
Best Player in Baseball During Second Half
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Remember the Human Torch from Fantastic Four?
Yes, the guy who can control fire and turn himself into a flying fireball.
That's who Buster Posey is at the moment. He has been sizzling hot since the All-Star break, and you can read all about it here in an article written by Jeremy Mills of ESPN.
As mentioned in the article, Posey has 30 RBI since the break, which is the most in the majors over that span. He is also batting .448 over the past four weeks and has homered in five of his last six games.
McCutchen was certainly the MVP of the first half, but Posey is well on his way to overtake those honors during the second half of the season.
Plays at a Valuable Position
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Buster Posey is a catcher, which is a much more important and physically demanding position than center field—the position that Andrew McCutchen plays.
I'm not trying to take anything away from playing in the outfield because, coming from my own personal experiences, outfield is not an easy position to play by any means—especially center field where it's more difficult to judge the depth of fly balls since they are generally hit straight at you.
However, there is much more wear and tear on the body when being in the squat and diving for balls in every direction for nine innings every day. Catchers are involved in every play of a game, while outfielders can occasionally go an entire game without seeing any action.
Moreover, Posey also has the responsibility of orchestrating the game behind the plate and establishing a rapport with every pitcher on the staff.
Meanwhile, after having to focus on all these other aspects of the game, hitting can sometimes come as an afterthought for catchers.
That's not even close to being the case with Posey, as he leads the NL catchers in home runs and RBI, and is second in slugging percentage and on-base percentage behind Philadelphia Phillies catcher Carlos Ruiz.
Due to his versatility and defensive prowess at a very difficult position, there aren't very many players more valuable than Posey.
Most Valuable Player for His Respective Team
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When talking about the MVP award, it's a common misconception to believe that it is simply awarded to who the best player is. In actuality, it goes to who is most valuable to his team, so there are many other determinants that need to be factored in.
One way we can determine who is more valuable to his team—Buster Posey or Andrew McCutchen—is take both of these players completely off of their team's roster and decide which team would suffer more. The player whose team would be worse off would be considered the MVP because they are the most valuable, which is the definition of the award after all.
Through this method, I would argue that Posey is more valuable to the Giants than McCutchen is to the Pirates, and here's why.
First of all, the Pittsburgh Pirates and San Francisco Giants are very similar teams. They both have below-average offenses, but very strong pitching staffs from the rotation to the bullpen.
Posey and McCutchen are also easily the best offensive threats on their respective teams, but the Pirates role players are having much more productive seasons than the Giants. The Pirates have four other players with double-digit home run totals, while the Giants only have one. The Pirates also have three other players with more than 50 RBI, while the Giants only have one.
As you can see, Posey, along with Melky Cabrera, have basically been the entire Giants offense, while McCutchen has been getting at least some support from his teammates.
Secondly, you have to take into account how valuable Posey is as a catcher. Not only would the Giants be losing Posey's bat if he wasn't on the team, but it would certainly affect the pitching staff—which is the bread and butter of the Giants.
So while losing either player would likely cripple both of these teams, I would give Posey the slight advantage in terms of how valuable he is to his respective team.