Kelley L Cox-US PRESSWIRE
Last week: No. 1.
The San Francisco Giants clinched the NL West title on Saturday (Sept. 22), which could very well be the difference in the NL MVP race.
Buster Posey won't be the only player among the top five NL MVP contenders to make the playoffs (Yadier Molina will be the other), but that has been a major factor in his emergence as the top candidate for the award.
The Giants' run to an NL West title shouldn't be the only reason Posey should win the NL MVP Award. But it's certainly worth noting that he's batted .336/.400/.531 with 13 doubles, four home runs and 22 RBI since Melky Cabrera was suspended.
San Francisco put distance between itself and the Dodgers in the NL West with a 15-7 September (through Sept. 26). Posey has a triple-slash average of .350/.398/.575 for the month, helping to fuel the Giants' surge.
With Cabrera being ruled ineligible for the NL batting title, Posey could now finish first in batting average. His .333 mark is only three points behind Andrew McCutchen for the league lead.
Posey is also just one point behind McCutchen for the NL lead in on-base percentage at .407. His .543 slugging is the league's third-best mark as is his .949 OPS.
As with Molina, we also have to consider Posey's excellent defense at catcher.
His two passed balls allowed are the fewest in MLB and his 25 wild pitches are the second-lowest total at the position. Posey has also thrown out 30 percent of opposing baserunners (36-for-121). While that percentage might not be impressive, he's gunned down more basestealers than any other catcher this season.
Ryan Braun is making a strong charge at Posey for NL MVP honors. But the Giants' record, along with lingering resentment over Braun's offseason drug-testing controversy, will likely give him the nod in final voting.
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