Photo: Louisville Slugger

NL MVP goes to PG vet Posey

Jeff Dahn

Published: Thursday, November 15, 2012

On his Perfect Game Player Profile Page last updated in 2005, Gerald Dempsey “Buster” Posey is listed as a 6-foot-1, 180-pound primary right-handed pitcher and shortstop, and a senior at Lee County (Ga.) High School.

On his player statistics page last updated on Thursday, Buster Posey is listed as a 6-foot-1, 220-pound, primary catcher and first baseman for the World Champion San Francisco Giants.

The last seven years and one very important position change have treated Posey extremely well.

Coming off a 2011 season shortened to 45 games due to a devastating injury, Posey on Thursday was an overwhelming selection as the 2012 National League Most Valuable Player in a vote conducted by members of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America (BBWAA). He received 27 of 32 first-place votes and totaled 422 points to become the first catcher to win the NL MVP Award since Hall of Famer Johnny Bench from the Cincinnati Reds took home the award in 1972.

Posey, a 2004 PG/Aflac All-American, easily outdistanced a standout field of finalists that included 2011 NL MVP Ryan Braun from the Milwaukee Brewers; the Pittsburgh Pirates' and fellow 2004 PG/Aflac All-American Andrew McCutchen; the St. Louis Cardinals’ Yadier Molina and the San Diego Padres Chase Headley.

Braun received three first-place votes and finished with 285 points, McCutchen had no first-place votes and finished with 245 points, Molina had two first-place votes and 241 points and Headley was a distant fifth with 127 points.

Playing in what was really only his second full big-league season, the 25-year-old Posey led the National League with a .336 batting average (178-for-530) and a 172 OPS+ while smacking 24 home runs and 39 doubles with 103 RBI in 148 games. He was 4-for-15 (.267) with a home run and three RBI in the Giants’ four-game sweep of the Detroit Tigers in the World Series, their second World Championship in three years.

San Francisco made Posey the fifth overall pick in the first round of the 2008 MLB amateur draft out of Florida State, and he made his big-league debut about 14 months later in August of 2009.

He was named the NL Rookie of the Year in 2010 after hitting .305 with 18 home runs, 23 doubles, 67 RBI and 58 runs scored in 108 games, to help San Francisco reach the World Series. He went 6-for-20 (.300) with a home run and two RBI in the Giants’ five-game Series win over the Texas Rangers. He has played in 31 postseason games as a member of the Giants and has won 24 of them.

Posey suffered a broken leg in a collision at home plate about a quarter of the way into the 2011 season and didn’t return. His performance this year had already earned him the 2012 NL Comeback Player of the Year and the 2012 NL Hank Aaron Award.

A 16-year-old Buster Posey made his Perfect Game debut at the 2003 PG WWBA PG/BA World Championship in Jupiter, Fla., pitching and playing shortstop for the East Cobb Astros. It was at that tournament, which the Astros won, Posey’s fastball was first gunned at 93 mph, and he also showed a 75 mph curveball and 69 mph changeup.

Posey leaped head first onto two of Perfect Game’s biggest stages in the summer of 2004, starting with a performance at the Perfect Game National Showcase at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla., the third week of June. Identified in his PG scouting report from that event as “one of the very top pitchers in the 2005 class,” Posey threw “an effortless 90-92 mph (fastball) with a sharp, deep slider, a power curveball, and an effective fading changeup.”

He was then selected to play in the 2004 PG/Aflac All-American Classic at Cal Ripken Stadium in Aberdeen, Md., in early August for an East Team that also included fellow big-leaguers McCutchen, Justin Upton, Cameron Maybin and Chris Volstad. Ike Davis – the game’s MVP – Jeremy Hellickson and Austin Jackson were among the future big-leaguers on the West Team roster.

Posey was a 50th round pick by the Angels coming out of high school in 2005 and opted to honor the commitment he had made to Coach Mike Martin Sr. at Florida State University. It was at FSU where Posey’s future dramatically altered.

After being named a Freshman All-American shortstop at FSU in 2006, Martin Sr. on the advice of his son and assistant coach, Mike Martin Jr., made the decision to convert the strong-armed right-hander and middle-infielder into a catcher. Posey said at the time he couldn’t remember ever having played catcher even as a little-leaguer but he took to the position change without so much as a hiccup.

Even after the switch, Posey continued to be the Seminoles’ closer during his junior season, still flashing a 93-94 mph fastball with a “plus” slider and changeup.

Copyright 1995-2018 by Perfect Game. All rights reserved. No portion of this information may be reprinted or reproduced without the written consent of Perfect Game.