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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: Aug 20, 2008
Posted on: November 22, 2011 7:29 pm

Ryan Braun wins NL MVP

The MVP, CY thing has me confused.  Kemp hits in a pitchers park, Braun in a good hitters park.  Braun has fielder hitting behind him, Kemp could have had you or I hitting behind him for as bad as LA's lineup was.  Clearly, all things considered, Kemp should have the MVP for this year.  However, much like Kershaw I cant really say it's a bad decision so congrats to Braun.

Since: Dec 7, 2006
Posted on: November 22, 2011 7:20 pm

Ryan Braun wins NL MVP

But again, I don’t feel an MVP vote should be based at all on the team you are playing for. Nobody reading this feels that if Ryan Braun were on the Dodgers instead of Matt Kemp, they would have won the NL West.

See, with this line of thinking, the Pirates will never have an MVP. A guy could hit .400 and not be an MVP, because the team he played for is lousy. The value of a player should be based on how much one would want that player on his team, and not based on that team’s performance overall.

And the fact that Kemp had no clutch at bats in September while Braun did, is not Kemp’s fault, and he should not be considered less valuable because of it. My opinion anyway.

Since: Sep 13, 2011
Posted on: November 22, 2011 7:15 pm

Ryan Braun wins NL MVP

Bottom line is Kemp was better, but his team was worse, not his fault.  Players on contenders will always get the nod.  That said, I'm cool with Braun for the award.  He definitely had the best season of anyone who played in the NL playoffs.

Since: Jan 7, 2009
Posted on: November 22, 2011 7:03 pm

Ryan Braun wins NL MVP

While Kemp had a tremendous season, Braun WAS the MVP of the league. As we all know, Kemp almost hit fot the triple crown. And that's great. But you should also remember that Braun hit for a better average, and was just behind Kemp in HR's and RBI's. Braun also led Kemp in Slugging Percentage as well as OPS.
But the thing that I think is most important, is that Kemp played for a team that was really bad. Meaning that Braun was in a pennant race all the way through September. Pressure games and more importantly, pressure at bats. At bats that had real meaning in this pennant race. And in those at bats, Braun came through with flying colors. Clutch hits, clutch HR's and clutch RBI's in a pennant race is much more impressive than getting all of those with NO pressure on.
The Award is The Most Valuable Player. Without Braun, the Brewers do not make the playoffs. Without Kemp, The Dodgers would just be a different kind of really bad. The voters got it right.

Since: Feb 8, 2009
Posted on: November 22, 2011 7:01 pm

Ryan Braun wins NL MVP

Yes way to go voters you got one of the MVP votes right. I guess .500 isn't bad.

Since: Nov 22, 2011
Posted on: November 22, 2011 6:51 pm

Ryan Braun wins NL MVP

At Balrog: I conceded Kemp's year was statistically superior to Braun's.  I still feel that Kemp is inconsistant year-to-year.  Also, Kemp was in the cliche "contract year" which players always seem to find motivation in.  We'll see what his numbers look like next year now that he has all of that money locked up.  I will agree to disagree on who you would rather have for the remainder of their career.  Braun has show considerably more gaudy career numbers thus far.    That said, we'll see how his numbers look and how he adjusts without the presence of Fielder next year (at this point I have to assume Fielder is going to Anaheim or another big market team that will give over $20MM/year over a long period of time.  After all, the reprehensible Scott Boras is his agent).

Since: Dec 5, 2010
Posted on: November 22, 2011 6:49 pm

Ryan Braun wins NL MVP

but keep in mind the debate about MVP is "this year".  MVP is not, or should not, be based on prior years
i agree 100%.

Since: Jan 7, 2009
Posted on: November 22, 2011 6:46 pm

Ryan Braun wins NL MVP

It always surprising to me how people are so sure someone was wronged in the MVP voting. Kemp had a great year. Almost a triple crown kind of year. But lets remember that Braun was just a smidge behind in two catagories. Braun was also the league leader in slugging pct. and OPS.
There is one other thing that nobody mentions. Kemp, while great, played on a team that didn't even sniff a good record, let alone a playoff race. Where Braun was in a tight race right until the end. Kemp didn't have the pressure that Braun had, by a longshot. Pressure at bats in September.
So in my humble opinion, the right person won the MVP.

Since: Jan 19, 2009
Posted on: November 22, 2011 6:28 pm

Ryan Braun wins NL MVP

Are you old enough to drive? I hope you're not old enough to vote. I can't believe how stupid your comment was. Please quit being a Rays fan and a baseball fan!

Since: May 17, 2008
Posted on: November 22, 2011 6:24 pm

Ryan Braun wins NL MVP

@heathbot75 -- not a bad post, but keep in mind the debate about MVP is "this year".  MVP is not, or should not, be based on prior years.  That said, no doubt Braun is a very good hitter.  For me though, I see Braun as a guy, 5 years in, at or near his ceiling  while Kemp seems to be continually improving (with a definate regression last year and break through this year).  If I am drafting, I take Kemp for the upside and superior defense at a premium position, CF but I certainly would not mind having Braun on my team either.  My arguments for Kemp winning the MVP are not meant to knock Braun's year at all -- I just think, this year at least, Kemp was better.

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