Resurgent Posey voted NL starting C for ASG

July 2nd, 2021

PHOENIX -- had the toughest offensive year of his career in 2019. He elected not to play in '20, staying home with his newborn twins during the shortened season held amid the COVID-19 pandemic. And he entered the '21 campaign at age 34, potentially nearing the later stages of his career.

However, Posey appears to still have a lot left in the tank. That’s why he’ll be returning to the All-Star Game for the first time in three years.

On Thursday, Posey was named the starting catcher for the National League in the 2021 All-Star Game presented by Mastercard. It’s the seventh All-Star selection of Posey’s career -- his first since 2018 -- and it’ll be the fifth time he’ll start the Midsummer Classic.

“It’s a nice recognition,” Posey said. “I think, thinking back earlier in my career, if I would have been told that I would be starting an All-Star Game at age 34, I’d be pretty happy about that. I’m excited for my [older] kids, they’re almost 10, so this will be one that they’ll really be able to enjoy and hopefully remember. Looking forward to it."

After being named one of the three finalists on the 2021 Google All-Star Ballot, Posey received 58 percent of the vote, dominating the race against St. Louis’ Yadier Molina (25%) and Chicago’s Willson Contreras (18%). The All-Star Game is set for July 13 at Coors Field, and the rest of the rosters will be announced on Sunday at 2:30 p.m. PT on ESPN.

After San Francisco's 5-3 loss at Arizona on Thursday, Posey is batting .333/.420/.559 with 12 homers and 27 RBIs in 55 games. But those numbers haven’t been his only contributions to the Giants, who sit in first place in the National League West.

“I definitely think he’s worthy of being called the best catcher in the National League so far this season,” San Francisco manager Gabe Kapler said. “I would say that he’s been a stabilizing force for us behind the plate, both working with our pitchers and being an excellent receiver, and a good thrower as well. I think he’s having arguably his best offensive season in quite some time.”

Posey underwent right hip surgery in August 2018, which ended his season early. Upon his return in '19, he didn’t swing the bat as well as he had in the past, batting .257/.320/.368 with seven home runs and 38 RBIs in 114 games.

But after a year off, Posey has returned healthy and fresh, and it’s showing. With his next home run, he will have his highest homer total since hitting 14 in 2016. It’s also possible he could get close to his career-high mark of 24, set during his NL MVP Award-winning season in '12.

“I’m not at all surprised by his ability to spray the ball around the field, use right field effectively,” Kapler said. “I think the power resurgence is ... I don’t really want to call it surprising, because we knew he had power. But seeing it show up has been really encouraging. I mean, a lot of that has to do with his body being healthier than it has been in a really long time.”

Posey will be the Giants’ only All-Star starter, as shortstop Brandon Crawford and outfielder Mike Yastrzemski fell short in voting.

Crawford received 17 percent of the vote at shortstop, placing third behind San Diego’s Fernando Tatis Jr. (64%) and Chicago’s Javier Báez (19%). Crawford could still have a chance of heading to Denver as an All-Star reserve, though.

Yastrzemski finished seventh among the nine outfield finalists, receiving six percent of the vote.