High-Ball Slugging Puts Posey, Molina in MVP Conversation
Buster Posey and Yadier Molina are both having historically awesome seasons, raking at the plate (Posey has a league-best 172 OPS+, Molina checks in at 141) and vaporizing base runners behind it (Molina has thrown out 47% of would-be thieves, and Posey has erased 30%). That blend of offensive and defensive prowess at a premium position has made both serious NL MVP Award contenders, with Molina tied for second in Baseball-Reference Wins Above Replacement and Posey placing fifth.
Posey or Molina could beat out the likes of Andrew McCutchen, Ryan Braun and David Wright for that hardware thanks in part to the backstops crushing pitches thrown high in the strike zone. Check out Posey and Molina's slugging percentage by pitch location this season:
Posey and Molina rank second and third, respectively, in slugging on pitches thrown high in the zone:
Highest slugging percentage on high pitches among qualified hitters
Pitchers try not to challenge these two with high stuff, throwing Posey and Molina an elevated pitch about 22% of the time (26% MLB average). That's smart, considering any hurler who misses high over the next few days risks getting a shout-out in a Posey or Molina acceptance speech.