I know there have been countless articles and posts on who should win the NL and AL MVP awards. Trust me, I’ve read almost all of them.
I thought I’d give my two cents on the topic – avoiding bias as much as possible.
As for the AL, the race has narrowed down to two players: Miguel Cabrera and Mike Trout. Both are explosive, dynamic players who are vital to their team’s success. If Cabrera ends up winning the triple crown (leading the league in home runs, batting average and RBI), he should win the award hands down.
Since the Tigers are going to the playoffs and the Angels are ending their season early, I believe Cabrera is automatically more valuable to his respective team.
With about two games left in the season, I believe Buster Posey of the San Francisco Giants is making a strong case for the prestigious honor.
Forget last season for Posey. I already know he is a lock for NL Comeback Player of the Year, so let’s ignore the fact he should not be this good a year removed from his horrific injury.
In 146 games played in 2012 – 28 of which played at first base – Posey leads his team in home runs (23, despite Hunter Pence racking up 24 – most of which hit while with the Phillies), RBI (101, again Pence is ahead by a few here) and batting average (minus the ineligible Melky Cabrera holding a .346 to .336 lead over his teammate).
While leading his team in the main offensive categories, he also holds the highest oWAR on the team as well (7.0). So we can say for sure, Buster Posey is the most valuable player on the Giants, but is he the most important in the NL?
I say yes.
His oWAR ranks second in the league behind the slumping Andrew McCutchen, but his batting average is seven points ahead of the Pirate outfielder, making him the front runner for the silver slugger award.
He has the highest on-base percentage in the NL (.409) as well as the highest adjusted OPS+ (171). What I like about Posey, is that he is a catcher – a position known for it’s defensive contributions and a average (at best) bat.
While he throws out 30 percent of runners trying to steal (three percent above average), he still succeeds with such a slow-release pitching staff other teams like to run against.
I understand if people vote for Braun for his home runs and RBI and 30 stolen bases – that is impressive, I can’t deny that.
And as for McCutchen, he is a talented player, but not influencial enough to carry his team to a post-season berth. In fact, the Pirates are going to end their 20th losing season in a row, hardly worthy of an MVP being awarded there. Plus, his numbers have dipped drastically in the last couple months.
While other candidates are missing the playoffs and boasting personal numbers, Posey has been one of the best hitters in the entire MLB. With Melky Cabrera dropping off the face of the earth with his PED suspension, Posey proved – to me, at least – that he is the most valuable player to his team and to the national league.
For this first time since Bonds in 2004 (after winning the previous three years), the Giants have a legitimate MVP candidate for 2012 and many years in the future.
If I were voting for these awards, I would pick Cabrera and Posey hands down.