Back at the beginning of August, I wrote that Buster Posey had put himself back into the discussion when it came to the National League MVP race.
One month (and change) later, and Posey is suddenly the clear favorite to win the award.
There are two primary reasons for this: One, Posey has been awesome in the second half, and two, the Giants are likely going to make the playoffs. The MVP award has a lot to do with team success as well as individual success, and it's almost always about what someone's done for you lately.
In that sense, Posey fits the bill.
The Giants are five games up on the Dodgers and could possibly miss the playoffs, although they'd be leading for the second Wild Card spot if L.A. could magically hop them. Winning your division, especially when the best competition (Andrew McCutchen) is playing for a team that's fading quickly.
Posey's second-half numbers are almost, like, fake or something. Since the All-Star Break, Posey has a silly-looking .388/.464/1.118 batting line, has hit 11 home runs for 46 RBI and has walked 29 times while only striking out 35 times. He is as locked in as you get right now and deserves any and all consideration for MVP.
I'm not the only one who feels this way. Dayn Perry of CBSSports.com recently broke down the race for the award and labels Posey the "frontrunner," with a mish-mash of guys
"Besides manning the most demanding position on the diamond, he's also hitting a thumping-good .327/.402/.531 with 53 extra-base hits," Perry wrote. "What also helps his case are his outstanding numbers in the second half. Right now, consider Posey your clear favorite."
And Buster Olney of ESPN apparently agrees too, although he's not quite as enthusiastic about Posey being in the lead.
"No matter how many extra-credit points Posey should get for being a catcher, this is clear: With 24 days left in the regular season, he's built a nice MVP-like résumé," Olney writes.
Both Perry and Olney list McCutchen, Ryan Bruan, Matt Holliday, Yadier Molina, Jay Bruce and Chase Headley as other candidates.
And that's why Posey's such a clear favorite. Molina and Holliday will split votes on a playoff-bound Cardinals team, and Molina's the only catching competition for Posey. Catching a front-line staff just a year after a season-ending injury for much of the season deserves credit.
McCutchen's fading, Headley doesn't know what playoffs mean, Braun's probably out too and has that whole, um, thing hanging over his head. Bruce has to worry about people giving Joey Votto props.
Posey's the hottest hitter in baseball, his team is taking off towards a division title, he catches one of the better staffs in the game and he has few weaknesses.
If he can close out the season the way he's started the second half, he'll be your MVP.