In my book, the 2012 NL MVP race is between Buster Posey and Ryan Braun, particularly if the Brewers reach the postseason. But, I want to tell you, the Padres' Chase Headley deserves some top 10 attention.
There is a large part of baseball fandom who only knows of Headley as a trade target of the Tigers, Yankees, Cubs, and a number of other teams in the off-season and again at the trade deadline. But the Padres were smart and hung on to the 28-year old third baseman who may prove to be a significant building block in San Diego's future.
Let me give you some perspective on Headley's season.
Here's a Headley Nine to Know:
- Headley leads the NL with 104 RBI
- Headley has a 5.1 WAR, the same as Justin Heyward
- His 5.1 offensive War is fourth best in the NL behind Andrew McCutchen (7.2), Buster Posey (6.6), and Ryan Braun (5.3).
- Headley is eighth in the NL with 268 total bases
- He is ninth in the NL with 28 homers (tied with McCutchen).
- Headley is fourth in the NL in walks with 75.
- His 104 runs created is good for fifth in the NL
- Headley is fourth in the NL with 235 times on base
- He has a .284 batting average, .858 OPS and a +7 fielding Rtot
In his four seasons as a regular for the Padres, including an injury-hampered 2011, Headly has never had a season close to this.
You can see that Headley already has more RBI this season than he has had in the two prior seasons combined.
So what's the difference in Headley this season?
- In 2011, the switch-hitting Headley, against righties, hit .264 with 4 homers and 30 RBI.
- In 2011, the switch-hitting Headley, against lefties, hit .352 with 0 homers and 14 RBI.
- In 2012, the switch-hitting Headley, against righties, has hit .297 with 18 homers and 62 RBI.
- In 2012, the switch-hitting Headley, against lefties, has hit .264 with 10 homers and 42 RBI.
Take a look at difference in Headley between 2011 and 201 on just one pitch.
Here's Headley in 2011 vs. the fastball:
In 2011, against the fastball Headley hit .260 with a .320 slugging percentage and a .660 OPS. He hit no homers, but struck out 43 times against the fastball in 169 at bats.
Here's Headley in 2012 vs. the fastball:
In 2012, against the fastball Headley has hit .354 with a .621 slugging percentage and a 1.091 OPS. He has hit 12 homers, and struck out 40 times against the fastball in 198 at bats.
Now, granted Miguel Cabrera, who remains within striking distance of the AL Triple Crown, is the best hitting third baseman in the game. However, since the All-Star break the overall leaders in home runs are Cabrera and Headley with 20, but no one has more RBI (62) than Chase Headley, MVP...the most valuable Padre.