Posey hopes to add to postseason hardware

Life has been pretty good to San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey.

The 25-year-old just won his second World Series title in three years, has been named the National League's Comeback Player of the Year and most recently picked up a Silver Slugger Award. Now, he could add an MVP to his resume on Thursday when the Baseball Writers' Association of America names its winner.

Posey is one of five finalists, along with last year's winner Ryan Braun of Milwaukee, Padres third baseman Chase Headley, Pirates outfielder Andrew McCutchen and Cardinals backstop Yadier Molina.

But, it is the former Rookie of the Year Posey who appears to be the front runner.

Posey returned this season after playing just 45 games in 2011 because of a fractured fibula and torn ligaments in his left ankle after a gruesome home- plate collision.

He returned with a vengeance, though, and earned his first All-Star selection, while winning a batting title. He hit .336 with a career-best 24 home runs and 103 runs batted in, adding career highs of 39 doubles, 78 runs scored, a .408 on-base percentage and a .549 slugging percentage.

He ranked among NL leaders in on-base percentage (second), slugging percentage (fourth), RBIs (sixth), multi-hit games (52, tied for sixth), total bases (291, tied for seventh), hits (178, tied for eighth), doubles (tied for eighth) and walks (10th).

Posey also did most of his damage when it mattered most, as he hit .385 with 23 doubles, 14 homers and 60 RBIs in 71 games after the All-Star break.

The 2010 NL Rookie of the Year, Posey is trying to become the Giants' first MVP since Barry Bonds won four in a row from 2001-04.

Posey's main competition could come from another catcher in Molina, who shined this past season. Already an all-world defender, Molina excelled at the plate, batting .315 with 22 home runs and 76 RBIs.

Coming off an MVP season in 2011, Braun made his fifth consecutive All-Star team while leading the NL with 41 home runs, 356 total bases and a .987 OPS. The 28-year-old batted .319 with 36 doubles, 112 RBIs and 30 stolen bases.

McCutchen, the Players Choice as the NL's Outstanding Player, appeared to be a lock to win this award at one point for the Pirates. But, the team collapsed down the stretch and endured their 20th straight losing season, essentially taking him out of the mix. Still, McCutchen was the lone bright spot for the Bucs, as he established career highs in homers (31) and RBIs (96); led the league in hits with 194; and finished second to Posey in the batting race, with a .327 average.

Headley, meanwhile, also enjoyed a career-year, as he led the National League with 115 RBIs to go with 31 home runs. Overall, he hit .286 with 173 hits in 161 games.

The American League MVP will also be named on Thursday.