Buster Posey is turning back the clock to his 2012 MVP season.
Posey hit a two-run homer in his first at-bat since returning from the injury list with a bruised left thumb on Monday night. It was the latest sign the seven-time All-Star has been able to replicate the success of the 2012 season that made him a star.
The 34-year-old has a slash line of .333/.426/.557 this season, nine years after producing a .336/.408/.549. line. Despite the averages being eerily similar, Posey (13 HR, 60 RBIs in 61 games) is not on track to match his 24 home runs and 103 RBI output from 2012.
Defensively, he’s still showing the catching form that won him back-to-back Wilson Defensive Player of the Year in 2015 and 2016.
Normally, catchers have the shortest shelf life of any position in baseball. Blocked pitches and foul balls — not to mention, crouching for nine innings straight — take a toll. Posey, however, is showing no signs of ill effects on either side of the ball.
The career revitalization could stem from opting out of the 2020 season to take care of his adopted newborn daughters, with his body is reaping the benefits.
“I think a lot of [Posey’s success] has to do with his body being healthier than it has been in a really long time and I think that’s due to two things,” Giants manager Gabe Kapler explained, per the Mercury News. “First, his involvement in his own schedule and planning out his usage patterns and two, having the year off to recover and have that hip fully healthy, it’s definitely seeing him move well in the batter’s box and those things have been influential in helping his power.”
Kapler, Posey, and trainer Dave Groeschner will meet before a series to talk about Posey’s load management. They usually target day games that follow night games as rest days. When Posey is given the day off at catcher, he will not be used as a pinch-hitter or first baseman— which did not use to be the case.
Whatever the secret is, it sure is working for Posey. He will look to carry momentum into the second half of the season, where the body starts to break down, especially for catchers.