Throughout the ups and downs of the 2014 baseball season, one thing remained a constant. Buster Posey, the San Francisco Giants best and most well-known player, had been pretty average by the standard that he set for himself. It’s hard to get mad at a guy who’s been hitting a consistent 280 throughout the year and getting on base at a solid clip. However, he wasn’t hitting for power and driving in runs consistently. That all changed this week.
If the Giants are going to make a postseason push, which they are, then Posey is going to have to be the guy who carries them offensively, not only because he is their only offensive player, but because he is a former MVP and batting champion. That’s what players of that caliber do. Posey hadn’t really lived up to the billing of his accolades as he was hitting into a lot of double plays, not getting guys home from third with less than two outs and failing to come through in the clutch. Posey’s situational hitting and lack of power was troubling to Giants fans.
However, over the last eight games Posey has hit 5 home runs including a walkoff home-run a couple of nights ago against the Colorado Rockies. He also hit two the previous night when Madison Bumgarner almost had a perfect game. That looks to be a sign that Posey could potentially be warming up for the stretch run and is preparing himself for leading the Giants deep into October. I’m not going to jump to conclusions because Posey has had these streaks before and then has gone back into a mini-funk again, but this one feels like it could be different.
Earlier in the season when he would get hot for a few games, it was a lot of singles. There wasn’t a ton of power involved. Anyone who remembers Posey’s MVP season in 2012 knew that once Posey started hitting consistent home runs and extra base hits it would be the proof in the pudding that he was hot to stay and it wasn’t just a mirage.
Posey getting hot is exactly what the Giants need, as their lineup is still a very solid lineup much like it’s been throughout the whole year even with injuries to different members of the team. The Giants are starting to get contribution from some lesser players like Gregor Blanco and Travis Ishikawa. They also have three rookies: Joe Panik, Andrew Susac and Matt Duffy, all showing that they belong on the big league roster. Throw that in with Angel Pagan, Hunter Pence, Pablo Sandoval, Michael Morse and soon Brandon Belt and this team looks a lot better now than it did about a month ago.
Granted, the Giants need everybody on the team to hit in order to win, but if Posey has indeed gotten scorching hot again then that makes everybody else’s job a lot easier.
As far-fetched as it may seem, if Posey can keep his hot stretch that he is on right now through the rest of the season he would at least have to be considered for NL MVP again. Granted this season has not even been close to his 2012 campaign, but there really haven’t been any position players who have stood out this season.
Andrew McCutchen was the favorite. However his hype has cooled because of injury. Giancarlo Stanton’s team won’t make the playoffs and Troy Tulowitzki is out for the year. The only guy who right now you’d say deserves the MVP award would be Clayton Kershaw based upon the video-game numbers that he’s put up all season.
Currently with Posey sitting at 289 with 18 home runs and 68 RBI’S he’s presumably still a darkhouse MVP candidate. Finishing the year the way he’s hitting recently, which isn’t guaranteed obviously, there’s no way he wouldn’t end up being in the top three in the voting. Although he may be more considered by default than anything else.
Obviously Posey winning the MVP isn’t as important as the Giants making the playoffs, which as of right now they are in position to do. Posey and the starting pitching, which is starting to go through that dominate stretch again, can get the Giants into the playoffs and than anything can happen as 2010 and 2012 demonstrates.
Baseball is very rarely smooth sailing. Every team has bumps and bruises they have to endure. The Giants are no exception, but even with all that they are still in the division race and seem to be solidly in Wild Card race as of right now. Posey is only one guy, but he’s capable of making a huge difference for the Giants on whether or not they win games down the stretch and make a playoff run.