San Francisco Giants: End-of-Season Award Chances

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Most Valuable Player

Aug 1, 2015; Arlington, TX, USA; San Francisco Giants designated hitter Buster Posey (28) bats during the game against the Texas Rangers at Globe Life Park in Arlington. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Buster Posey took home this award in 2012. He’s having a comparable season in 2015, but the competition for the National League MVP is much higher this time around.

Back in 2012, Posey’s main competitor for the award was the Brewers’ Ryan Braun. There is little doubt that the questions surrounding Braun for much of that season concerning his alleged steroid use aided Posey’s case for MVP. However, Posey had an incredible season and was as deserving as any. He hit .336, smashed 24 home runs, drove in 103 runs, and had a league-best OPS+ (on base percentage plus slugging percentage, adjusted to the player’s ballpark) at 171.

In 2015, Posey is hitting .332 with 16 home runs and 75 RBI. His BABIP (batting average of balls in play) is .328, which is near his career BABIP. Because of the similarities between this season’s BABIP and his career BABIP, Posey should be able to keep playing at the same high level he has played at all season. In addition, his 155 wRC+ (weighted runs created plus) rivals his 164 wRC+ in 2012, when he won the MVP Award. However, Posey may need an even better season this time around to add another MVP to his already packed trophy case.

Both Bryce Harper and Paul Goldschmidt are chasing the elusive Triple Crown, making it difficult for Posey to get any momentum in the MVP race. Harper leads the National League in home runs and is second in batting average while Goldschmidt leads the league in batting average and is second in RBI.

However, Posey’s chances to win his second MVP award are better than one may think given the stupendous seasons his competitors are having.

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The Baseball Writers Association of America (the group of writers that vote for these awards) have proven in the past that winning is a priority. Rarely does a member of a sub-.500 team win the MVP Award.

In fact, the last player to ever win the MVP — from either league — on a team that lost more than they won was Alex Rodriguez in 2003 when he was a part of the Texas Rangers. Multiple players have won the MVP on teams that missed the playoffs, but their teams still boasted records over .500. Barry Bonds won multiple MVP Awards when the Giants missed out on October baseball and most recently, Albert Pujols took home the award in 2008 when his St. Louis Cardinals missed the playoffs. Those teams were at least ten games over .500 and were not too far away from a playoff spot.

Goldschmidt’s Diamondbacks are currently sitting on the outside of the playoff picture looking in and a postseason run at this point in time is doubtful. In fact, Arizona may finish the season under .500, making Goldschmidt’s shot at the MVP Award improbable. However, if Goldschmidt can pull out the Triple Crown, Arizona’s record may not make much of a difference.

The Harper-led Washington Nationals are in the middle of a slump and they too are currently out of the playoff picture. If Washington continues to slip and the New York Mets strengthen their grip on the National League East, Posey may have a real shot at winning the MVP Award. At the same time, Posey has to make sure that his Giants earn the right to play in the postseason because if he does not, he will be forced to wait at least one more year for another MVP Award.

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