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Ryan Braun wins NL MVP

Posted on: November 22, 2011 2:01 pm
Edited on: November 22, 2011 8:24 pm

By Matt Snyder

Brewers left fielder Ryan Braun has won the National League Most Valuable Player award, garnering 20 of the 32 first-place votes. This marks the first time a Brewers player has ever won the NL MVP. Previous Brewers winners -- Robin Yount (1982, 1989) and Rollie Fingers (1981) -- came when the ballclub was a member of the American League.

Braun, 28, hit .332/.397/.597 with 33 home runs, 111 RBI, 109 runs scored and 33 stolen bases. He led the NL in slugging percentage and OPS. He also helped lead his team to a 96-66 record, an NL Central championship and a trip to the NLCS for the first time in franchise history.

"This really is a dream," Braun said. "This is beyond my wildest dreams to be in this position at this point in my career."

Most Valuable Player
Braun beat out a pretty solid field of sluggers in the Senior Circuit, with Matt Kemp of the Dodgers finishing second.

Kemp's case was very strong, and this felt like a two-horse race for the entire month of September. Kemp challenged for the triple crown (leading the league in batting average, home runs and RBI). He led the NL with 39 home runs and 126 RBI, but finished third in batting average at a .324 clip. He also stole 40 bases, won a Gold Glove and led the NL in total bases.

"Matt's one of the best players in the game. No question about it. The season he had will go down as one of the greatest in Dodgers history," said Braun. "If he had won the MVP I certainly couldn't have argued with him winning. He had a phenomenal year."

Alas, the Dodgers weren't in contention all season, finishing third place in the NL West at 82-79. Ultimately, the difference in team performance seems to be what propelled Braun over Kemp.

"If you honestly assess both of our seasons individually I think his numbers are probably better than mine, and I just feel fortunate to have been on the better team," Braun said. "It's an individual award, but it's a result of being part of a special team, a special organization."

Here are the top 10 finishers, with voting points in parentheses:

1. Braun (388)
2. Kemp (332)
3. Prince Fielder (229)
4. Justin Upton (214)
5. Albert Pujols (166)
6. Joey Votto (135)
7. Lance Berkman (118)
8. Troy Tulowitzki (69)
9. Roy Halladay (52)
10. Ryan Howard (39)

The following players, in order of vote totals, also received votes: Jose Reyes, Clayton Kershaw, Shane Victorino, Ian Kennedy, Cliff Lee, Hunter Pence, Pablo Sandoval, John Axford, Michael Morse, Carlos Beltran, Miguel Montero, Yadier Molina, Starlin Castro, Craig Kimbrel, Carlos Ruiz, Mike Stanton.

It's worth noting that this was the 11th season Pujols has finished in the top 10 of MVP voting -- and he's only been in the league for 11 years. He's won MVP three times and finished in the top five 10 of those 11 years.

Kemp took home 10 first-place votes, with Fielder and Upton getting one each. Braun had the rest. Only Braun, Kemp and Fielder received second-place votes.

Braun is locked up with Milwaukee through the 2020 season, as he signed a five-year extension in April. The 2011 MVP award will join the 2007 Rookie of the Year in Braun's trophy case.

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Since: Oct 25, 2011
Posted on: November 22, 2011 3:22 pm

Ryan Braun wins NL MVP

Congratulations for Ryan Braun for his great season and winning the award, but i think Kemp was robbed and we all knew he wouldn't get it after Kershaw won Cy Young because they wouldn't give Cy Young and MVP to players from a team that wasn't in contention for the second half. Braun was great for the brew crew but Kemp carried the Dodgers and without him, they wouldn't even be above .500, pretty much winning only on every 5th day when Kershaw pitches. Without Kemp, the Dodgers would be looking pretty similiar to the Colts without Peyton, not to that extent... but pretty close.

Since: May 26, 2011
Posted on: November 22, 2011 3:20 pm

Ryan Braun wins NL MVP

One other point.  Some people are giving Cy Young winners and losers as examples.  Totally different set of criteria.  Cy Young is clearly to the best pitcher, regardless of team performance.  MVP says players from non-playoff teams can be considered, but it doesn't say that team performance should not be a factor.

Since: Aug 29, 2006
Posted on: November 22, 2011 3:19 pm

Ryan Braun wins NL MVP

Cy Young award and MVP are two completely different things.  Cy Young award is for the best pitcher, period.  Regardless of how good their team is.  Hank Aaron Award is similar, but for the best hitter.  Kemp will probably win this award.  MVP is for the player most valuable to his team.  It's hard to argue that someone whose team missed the playoffs was more valuable to his team than another player with similar stats whose team made the playoffs.  Clutch hitting comes into play too.  If I remember correctly, Braun played very well down the stretch, helping the Brewers make the playoffs.  I'm not going to argue against his being named MVP.  The only knock on him in the MVP race was that he had Prince Fielder's help in the lineup, but I don't think that's a big enough knock for him not to win it.  I can't think of anyone more deserving in the NL.

Since: May 26, 2011
Posted on: November 22, 2011 3:16 pm

Ryan Braun wins NL MVP

This whole thing is like a publicity dream.  No one is arguing which one deserves the award more.  (Although they are trying to).  They are really arguing what the award means.  Except that that can't be known because the award criteria are (by definition) made up, and therefore somewhat arbitrary.  Perfectly reasonable to say that the MVP should be for the "best player."  But it is also perfectly reasonable to say it should go to the player "most responsible for getting his team to the playoffs."  The award criteria doesn't restrict or insist on either.  So there is no wrong answer, and therefore it is pointless to call each other wrong. 

Funny part is that this happens almost every year.

Since: Oct 17, 2007
Posted on: November 22, 2011 3:16 pm

Ryan Braun wins NL MVP

l said CAIN8 ... Kemp had guys like Sands, Miles, Barajas, ETC hitting behind him all year .. imagine the numbers he would put up if he had ANY protection whatsoever ..

Since: Dec 29, 2008
Posted on: November 22, 2011 3:15 pm

Ryan Braun wins NL MVP

Im sure these voters get a guideline with certain criteria to consider.  I would love to see it, and if they dont then they certainly should.  The inconsistency is very bad, guys win on bad teams sometimes and this year wasnt one of them.  Props to Kemp though he did have a fantastic year.  An argument can be made for both sides but without seeing some kind of criteria or guideline then its hard to say.

Since: Nov 22, 2011
Posted on: November 22, 2011 3:13 pm

Ryan Braun wins NL MVP

Someone needs to make much clearer to the public what counts for this award.
If criteria remain unclear, we can debate forever what it means. This selection
does imply team performance overwhelms individual performance - - because
there is no debate on who wins on the latter, and it's not Ryan Braun. 
But we don't even know to whom the player is supposed to be most valuable  --
the game, league, the team?  Got some work to do, MLB!  

Since: Aug 19, 2006
Posted on: November 22, 2011 3:10 pm

Ryan Braun wins NL MVP

Has anyone mentioned tha Braun had a Prince hitting behind him and Kemp had jesters?

Since: Mar 29, 2009
Posted on: November 22, 2011 3:10 pm

Ryan Braun wins NL MVP

These voters are clearly inconsistent year to year. "It doesn't matter if your team stinks, its how you perform." ex: Felix Hernandez and even Kershaw. "Braun deserves it because his team made the playoffs."
I am fine with one or the other but please at least be consistent. All the voters should have to submit their votes along with their names because the whole thing seems like a sham. Kemp nearly goes 40-40 and just missed the triple crown and he doesn't win it? Playing the field at an elite level has to account for something too. And Miggy should of won it in the AL.

Since: May 17, 2008
Posted on: November 22, 2011 3:08 pm

Ryan Braun wins NL MVP

Braun had a better situation and all but its hard to punish him for that. 
But that is exactly why the team result should not matter -- the voters are, apparently, "punishing" Kemp for being a better player on a worse team than Braun.  I am not arguing that you punish Braun for being in the "better situation", I am really arguing that you not consider it I guess.  I'd prefer team record be left out of the conversation entirely and look only at the individual's offense AND defense.  But, if you are going to talk about one team finishing with a better record than the other, then you do have to take the entire team into account and MVP really becomes an MVT award.

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