Buster Posey will be a star for years to come if he stays healthy; that much is already Skip-Bayless-is-an-idiot obvious.
The youngster has played 308 games and accumulated 1,255 plate appearances over parts of four Major League Baseball seasons. Incredibly, given his national profile, he has only seen one full year of pro ball (2012).
All told, he's got about two years' worth of action. In that time, the San Francisco Giants catcher has amassed two World Series titles, the 2010 National League Rookie of the Year Award, the 2012 NL batting crown, a 2012 All-Star Game appearance, and finished 11th in the 2010 NL Most Valuable Player voting. To that gaudy list of accolades, you can now add the 2012 NL MVP Award.
In a race that was largely a formality despite the earnest arguments coming out of Milwaukee, Pittsburgh and St. Louis, Posey finished comfortably ahead of the Brewers' Ryan Braun for first. That means the 25-year-old will be bringing even more hardware back to the Bay Area as the annual squabble begins between the MVP-must-play-for-a-contender camp (smart people) and the MVP-should-be-all-about-numbers camp (whack jobs).
But let's focus on the winner for a bit longer. Posey made his pro debut in 2009, but only registered 17 plate appearances. In 2010, he didn't get called up to the big club until the end of May. Subsequently, he helped propel the franchise to its first Fall Classic win in 56 years (and first in San Francisco).
Buster's 2011 campaign was cut short by a questionable collision at the plate, which some of you may recall. Scott Cousins wiped out the Gents' chances to repeat and Posey's season after a mere 45 games.
Which brings us back to present day. He saw action in over 100 games for the second time, helped deliver a second World Series to San Francisco, and added the MVP trophy for good measure.
All for $615,000 per year...plus a $6.2 million signing bonus, but shhhh. Not too shabby.
In fact, the start of Buster Posey's career has been historically un-shabby. There have been 143 winners of the MVP award (or its equivalent from antiquity), and only three have earned the honor with fewer plate appearances than Posey. A handful have won it with similarly modest service time, but account for the other feats accomplished by Gerald Dempsey the Third, and you'll see he already stands in legendary company.
*All stats/info from Baseball Reference unless otherwise noted.