Posey wins Wilson award for catchers

Posey wins Wilson award for catchers

SAN FRANCISCO -- Now others will understand what the Giants realized long ago: Buster Posey is as committed to his defense as he is to his offense, if not more so.

Accustomed to being recognized for his hitting, Posey added variety to his trophy case on Wednesday, when he was given the Wilson Defensive Player of the Year Award, which since 2012 has honored one Major Leaguer at each position based on advanced statistical analysis.

Posey has a .310 lifetime batting average, bolstered by the National League-leading .336 average he recorded in 2012. He's poised to win his third Silver Slugger Award on Thursday as the league's top offensive performer at his position, having earned that distinction in 2012 and 2014.

However, defense is every catcher's top priority, and Posey is no exception, particularly since he has continued to learn the position's nuances since he moved behind the plate from shortstop at Florida State University.

For Posey, less was more defensively in 2015. He started 106 games at catcher, his fewest during any of his four full Major League seasons. By contrast, he started a career-high 42 games at first base. Nevertheless, he made a definite impact as the primary batterymate for the Giants' pitching staff.

On Tuesday it was revealed that Posey led all Major League catchers in the defensive index devised by the Society for American Baseball Research. The index measures various factors -- such as batted-ball, location-based data -- and incorporates information from play-by-play accounts.

Posey scored 10 on this index in 2015. Last season he compiled an 0.3 mark, behind eight other catchers.

His improvement was just as noticeable by non-advanced standards. He hiked his catchers' fielding percentage for the third consecutive season, finishing at .998 after posting figures of .994, .993 and .991 in the previous three years. He also threw out 36 percent of runners trying to steal, compared with 30 percent in each of the preceding three seasons.

Posey also maintained his reputation as an adept "framer," a catcher who's able to occasionally coax extra called strikes from umpires on borderline pitches by moving his glove into the strike zone as he receives the ball.

Posey became the second Giant in two days to earn a defensive-based honor. On Tuesday, shortstop Brandon Crawford won his first Rawlings Gold Glove Award. Posey was a finalist in that competition; the award went to the Cardinals' Yadier Molina.

Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Haft-Baked Ideas, 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.