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Buster Puts Himself in MVP Race

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Buster Puts Himself in MVP Race

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Catcher Buster Posey is putting himself into the National League MVP discussion with a surge in productivity since the All-Star break.

The common logic around baseball is that the National League MVP award is Andrew McCutchen's to lose. That's pretty sound logic, but Buster Posey is doing all he can to insert himself into the discussion.

Let's start with last night's 4-2 win over St. Louis, which featured Posey as the difference in the Giants victory, thanks to a three-run homer off of Lance Lynn in the first inning. But that game, another one decided by Buster's performance at the plate, is just the tip of the iceberg.

Posey's now batting .328/.394/.935 on the season, with 18 home runs and 73 RBI. He's done this in 99 games, which means he's already outproduced his numbers from his rookie season, in which he played 108 games.

But it's the splits that are bananas -- Posey has been outrageous at the plate since the All-Star Break, hitting .448/.495/.1.299 (!) with eight home runs, 30 RBI and a 250 OPS+. That's not in some small sample size, either, as Buster's played in 22 games since starting the midseason classic in Kansas City.

The Giants are 14-10 since that time, and were it not for Posey, that would be much, much worse. Pablo Sandoval's been hurt. Hunter Pence hasn't started hitting since he arrived in San Francisco. Brandon Belt is starting to come around but still appears curious as to what constitues a home run.

In terms of value, as best measured by Wins Above Replacement (WAR), Posey's creeping on a come up, sitting 10th in baseball with 4.5 WAR. McCuthchen is still a ways ahead with 6.1, but Posey's gaining on the Pirates outfielder and he's gaining quickly.

Sandoval could return soon, providing even more protection for the catcher. And if the Giants take off like they did in 2010 (after they called up Posey!) and end up winning the division, there's going to be a very good argument for Posey to collect some hardware at the end of the year.

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