Buster Posey comes back from injury to win NL MVP

San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey, who came back from a devastating injury in 2011 to help his team win the National League West title this season, was elected the league’s Most Valuable Player in balloting by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America that was announced on the MLB Network.

Posey, 25, was listed first on 27 ballots, second on four and third on one of the 32 ballots submitted by two writers representing each league city to score 422 points, based on a tabulation system rewarding 14 points for first place, nine for second, eight for third and on down to one for 10th.

Posey was declared the NL batting champion with a .336 average, joining two-time winner Ernie Lombardi as the only catchers in the league’s history to win batting titles. Posey, who missed most of the 2011 season due to a fractured bone and torn ligaments in his left ankle as the result of a collision at the plate May 25, drove in 103 runs, hit 24 home runs and caught Matt Cain’s perfect game June 13 in his MVP season.

Milwaukee Brewers left fielder Ryan Braun (.319, 41 HR, 112 RBI, 105 R), the 2011 winner, received three first-place votes and was the runner-up with 285 points. The other two-first place votes went to St. Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina (.315, 22 HR, 76 RBI), who totaled 241 points and finished fourth overall, behind Pittsburgh Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen (.327, 31 HR, 96 RBI, 194 H), who had 245 points. Posey, Braun and McCutchen were the only players named on every ballot. In all, 35 players gained mention.

Rounding out the top 10 were San Diego Padres third baseman Chase Headley (.286, 31 HR, 115 RBI), New York Mets third baseman David Wright (.306, 21 HR, 93 RBI), Washington Nationals first baseman Adam LaRoche (.271, 33 HR, 100 RBI), Atlanta Braves relief pitcher Craig Kimbrel (3-1, 1.01 ERA, 42 SV), Brewers third baseman Aramis Ramirez (.300, 27 HR,105 RBI) and Cincinnati Reds right fielder Jay Bruce (.252, 34 HR, 99 RBI).

The election marked the eighth time a catcher has won in the NL. Roy Campanella was a three-time winner (1951, ’53 and ’55) and Johnny Bench won twice (1970 and ’72). The other winning catchers were Lombardi in 1938 and Gabby Hartnett in 1935. Catchers have also won MVP Awards eight times in the American League, most recently by another batting champion, Joe Mauer, in 2009.

It is the 13th time a Giants player has been honored and the first since Barry Bonds won for a seventh time in 2004. Five of Bonds’ MVPs were earned while he played for the Giants in 1993 and from 2000 through ’04 (he also won twice with the Pirates in 1990 and ‘92). Carl Hubbell (1933 and ’36) and Willie Mays (1954 and ’65) each won the award twice. Other Giants winners were Willie McCovey in 1969, Kevin Mitchell in 1989 and Jeff Kent in 2000.

Posey won the NL Jackie Robinson Rookie of the Year Award in 2010 and became the 14th former winner to be elected MVP, joining Mays, McCovey, Bench, Braun, Ryan Howard, Albert Pujols, Jeff Bagwell, Andre Dawson, Dick Allen, Pete Rose, Orlando Cepeda, Frank Robinson and Don Newcombe. There have been eight dual winners in the AL, most recently Detroit Tigers pitcher Justin Verlander last year.

Braun’s second-place finish marked the eighth time a player in the NL finished second in the balloting the year after winning the MVP Award. Pujols is the only player to do it twice, in 2010 and ’06. The others were Terry Pendleton in 1992, Bonds in 1991, Stan Musial in 1949, Dizzy Dean in 1935 and Chuck Klein in 1933. It has happened seven times in the American League – Jason Giambi in 2001, Don Mattingly in 1986, Yogi Berra in 1956, Joe DiMaggio in 1948, Ted Williams in 1947, Hal Newhouser in 1946 and Jimmie Foxx in 1939.

The voting (14-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 scoring system):

2012 NL MVP

Player, Team1st2nd3rd4th5th6th7th8th9th10thPoints
Buster Posey, Giants2741422
Ryan Braun, Brewers315104285
Andrew McCutchen, Pirates6131111245
Yadier Molina, Cardinals2681311241
Chase Headley, Padres197551127
David Wright,Mets74134386
Adam LaRoche, Nationals6525186
Craig Kimbrel, Braves135223173
Aramis Ramirez, Brewers1146147
Jay Bruce, Reds2132146
Matt Holliday, Cardinals11223234
Aroldis Chapman, Reds1113220
Brandon Phillips, Reds211118
Joey Votto, Reds111516
R.A. Dickey, Mets122116
Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers31115
Ian Desmond, Nationals122115
Michael Bourn, Braves1212
Allen Craig, Cardinals2210
Gio Gonzalez, Nationals118
Alfonso Soriano, Cubs1118
Kris Medlen, Braves28
Martin Prado, Braves218
Ryan Zimmerman, Nationals117
Giancarlo Stanton, Marlins117
Carlos Beltran, Cardinals16
Aaron Hill, Diamondbacks126
Carlos Ruiz, Phillies114
Jason Heyward, Braves124
Johnny Cueto, Reds12
Bryce Harper, Nationals12
Chipper Jones, Braves11
Miguel Montero, Diamondbacks11
Angel Pagan, Giants11
Hunter Pence, Giants11

View ballots on a separate page