On Thursday, MLB Network revealed its eighteen Silver Slugger Award recipients, honoring the players who made significant offensive contributions in 2012. Buster Posey was the sole Giant gracing the list, having led National League hitters with a .336 average and 172 OPS+ in 148 games and 610 PA.
While the metrics for evaluating Silver Slugger-worthy catchers are ultimately left to the discretion of the voters, it’s generally thought that players are measured by the standard rulers of home runs, runs batted in, batting average, on-base percentage, and slugging percentage. This season, Buster was the clear frontrunner of the National League, leading catchers with a batting line of .336/.408/.549 and 103 RBI.
In a decade, only two award-winning backstops have surpassed Posey’s SLG: Brian McCann at .572 in 2006, and Javy Lopez at .687 in 2003. Lopez also posted more home runs (43) and RBI (109) in 2003, and continues to hold the record in home runs by a SS-winning catcher. In conjunction with McCann’s 2006 performance, Posey’s 24 home runs rank dead last in the past decade. However, no catcher has managed to record a higher average or on-base percentage since Mike Piazza, who batted .362/.431/.638 with 40 home runs and 124 RBI in 1997.
Prior to Posey’s nomination, Barry Bonds was the last player to represent San Francisco in the Silver Slugger competition, earning twelve distinctions from 1990 to 2004. Posey remains the only Giants catcher to receive the award.