Posey earns 4th NL Silver Slugger Award

Giants catcher maintains strong numbers in down year for club

Posey earns 4th NL Silver Slugger Award

SAN FRANCISCO -- The fourth career Silver Slugger Award that Buster Posey received Thursday validated his season-long effort as the National League's top offensive catcher.

Posey earned the honor, which was presented by Louisville Slugger, while enduring the Giants' worst season since their 100-loss campaign in 1985. They finished last in the NL West with a 64-98 record -- the kind of year that makes ballplayers reluctant to work. In fact, Posey could have spurned manager Bruce Bochy's requests for him to play first base on off-days from catching, and nobody would have accused him of loafing.

Instead, Posey appeared in 140 games, marking the sixth year in a row that he reached or exceeded that figure. His perseverance distinguished this Silver Slugger Award recognition from the others.

NL Silver Slugger history

Posey defined his daily objective as trying to sustain "that good, grinding focus" on a daily basis. He accomplished that so well that, after playing his sixth game of the season on April 9, his batting average never dropped below .311 for the rest of the year.

The five-time All-Star batted .320, fifth in the NL, with 12 home runs and 67 RBIs. His .400 on-base percentage ranked second among catchers who totaled at least 250 plate appearances (Austin Barnes of the Dodgers finished at .408).

"Unfortunately, the season got away from us pretty early," said Posey, 30. "So, as best as I could, I tried to keep my focus on a day-in, day-out basis and really just tell myself I didn't want to give away any at-bats. ... We weren't pushing for a playoff spot, but you never know if you're going to pick something up that you can use next year in a crucial spot."

Posey picked up his selectivity. According to Statcast™, he saw 21.9 percent of the pitches thrown to him when he was behind in the count. That ranked second in the Majors, trailing only Cincinnati's Joey Votto (21.6).

"That's not a stat I'm aware of," Posey said, though he welcomed being able to approach Votto's realm in this category.

"Votto's a guy I love to watch," Posey said. "I think the numbers will tell you that he's the best in the game at swinging at strikes. By doing that, he gets himself in a lot of good counts."

Posey's performance bolstered his already impressive body of work. He's among 11 NL catchers to have batted .300 or higher in at least four seasons. He topped the Giants in batting average for the fourth time, more than any catcher with any team in Major League history. He started his third All-Star Game in a row, becoming the first catcher to string together that many since Hall of Famer Mike Piazza (six, 1994-99).

Posey also continued to establish his presence on team leaderboards. He became the first Giant to record at least 150 hits in six consecutive seasons since Will Clark (1987-92). His lifetime batting average rests at .308, trailing only Barry Bonds (.312) and just ahead of Hall of Famer Orlando Cepeda (.3078 to Posey's .3083). Posey also climbed into eighth on the all-time San Francisco-era list with 1,163 hits and into 10th with 224 doubles.

Chris Haft has covered the Giants since 2005, and for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.