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Blog Entry

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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Comments

Since: Jun 21, 2009
Posted on: November 22, 2011 4:23 pm
 

Ryan Braun wins NL MVP

I'm a HUGE Brewer's fan, so I'm admitting my bias up front.  I watched all the Brewer games in September and time and time again, when the Brewers needed a big hit, it was Braun (not Fielder) that provided it.  It was almost uncanny how clutch the guy was.  I didn't get to watch all the Dodger games and "clutch" doesn't show up in the box scores.  For the Kemp sympathizers (and I don't blame you cuz he had one hell of a season), I truly wonder if he did the same thing.  I'm not being sarcastic so please don't flame me.  I'm legitimately asking if the same can be said for Kemp because I didn't get to watch the games.
Kemp and Braun has basically the same stats for September. The only difference is that one played for a divison winner and the other played for an also-ran.

The Brewers won their division by, what, 7 games? Imagine Braun didn't come through in the clutch a few times- so what? The Brewers would still have won the division. There was no playoff race in September- remember, the second-place Cardinals were about 10 games out of 1st place at the beginning of the month. Also, you say it was Braun, not Fielder providing 'clutch' hits, but wasn't Braun in front of Fielder in the order? Maybe with no Fielder driving in runs ealrier in the game there is no 'clutch' situation late in the game for Braun. In other words, with no Fielder, Braun is effectively playing for the equivalent of the LA Dodgers.

That said, it's not like there's a huge disparity between these two. I'd give the advantage to Kemp for playing every day (Braun missed 12 games) and because he's a better defender, which is half the game. Most of the offensive stats are a wash.

Just as an aside, if other people want to complain about Kershaw playing in pitcher-friendly parks then they should be at least consistent and point out that Kemp had this disadvantage and so should be given more credit for what he did than what the stats tell you.



Since: Oct 20, 2010
Posted on: November 22, 2011 4:20 pm
 

Ryan Braun wins NL MVP

Please, before answering my question from before, please note that I also can look up R.I.S.P. stats.  Braun wins this category .351 to .335.  But even if he had lost, I would want to know how "clutch" those RBI's were.  It seemed like if the Brewers were down by 2 in the late innings and Braun came up with runners on base, something special inevitably happened.  EVERYTIME.  That might have been the difference in the voting?  Perhaps Kemp did the same thing too.  I am still legitimately asking that question.



Since: Feb 27, 2007
Posted on: November 22, 2011 4:19 pm
 

Ryan Braun wins NL MVP

Nothing against Braun as he is a great player, but I think Kemp deserved this more.  The Brewers' Prince Fielder finished third, and I think that speaks a lot for how much additional support from other players the Brewers got to win the NL Central.  The Brewers would have still been a good team without Braun - albeit, not a playoff team.  Is there another Dodgers position player in the top ten in voting?  No.  Therefore, Kemp had that much better of a season than the rest of the Dodgers.  The Dodgers did not make the playoffs with Kemp, but they would have been putrid without him.  He was worth more to his team than Braun was to the Brewers.  The writers need to stop penalizing certain players because the team didn't win (i.e., the rest of the team wasn't good enough).



Since: Sep 16, 2006
Posted on: November 22, 2011 4:17 pm
 

Ryan Braun wins NL MVP

Great points about the Braun and the Brewers.  But you also have to consider acknowledge:

a) The Brewers could possibly have made the playoffs without Braun
b) Braun had protection in the lineup - meaning he was probably getting better pitches to hit because of Fielder
c) The Brewers had a much deeper lineup than the Dodgers.  Meaning Braun had more RBI opportunities and should have scored more runs.

Although these aren't on-the-field issues, Kemp had to deal with the soap opera of the of the owners, the beating of the fan, and wondering if he was going to get paid.  Yes he is a professional athlete, but even while having to deal with these distractions, Kemp put up incredible statistics - without the benefit of a solid lineup around him.

Without Braun, the Brewera were still a .500 team or better.  Without Kemp the Dodgers would have battling Houston for the worst record in baseball...

I state all of this as a lifelong Reds fan - no allegiance to either team or player (although I still have a slight disliking of the Dodgers in me from the earlier NL days when they played in the same division).  Braun is an outstanding player, a good role model (as far as athletes go), and most certainly the Brewers MVP.  But this season, Kemp was the best player in the NL...




Since: Feb 8, 2008
Posted on: November 22, 2011 4:16 pm
 

Ryan Braun wins NL MVP

Halladay gets (52) and Kershaw none?  Logic??



Since: Jul 30, 2009
Posted on: November 22, 2011 4:15 pm
 

Ryan Braun wins NL MVP

Didn't matter if Kemp got a homer in most of their games as they were already so far behind.  He had a good season, but Braun had some better numbers in other areas and more stolen bases. 




Since: May 17, 2007
Posted on: November 22, 2011 4:12 pm
 

Ryan Braun wins NL MVP

Seeing Carlos Ruiz, Michael Morse, Pablo Sandoval, Starlin Castro ... even getting votes suggests there is a childish mentality to the whole process. It's clear that some people find this a joke. I believe those people should be told that if they don't have a good reason for voting, then ... just don't.

MVP is a fans award anyway so why insult the fans by voting for Miguel Montero?



Since: Dec 7, 2006
Posted on: November 22, 2011 4:11 pm
 

Ryan Braun wins NL MVP

MVP voting should be very simple: if there were a MLB draft held today, and you had the number 1 pick, and you had to pick a guy based solely on 2011 stats, who would you pick?

Based on that, I could see where one would pick Verlander from the AL. He had an incredible season, no question. Even though he is a pitcher, he can still be a MVP.

In the NL, one can make a case for Braun, Kemp, or Fielder. I would pick Kemp because he won a Gold Glove besides almost winning a Triple Crown. That makes Kemp an all around better player in 2011 than Braun was, and he would be my selection.

The fact that the Dodgers didn’t win anything should not be considered in MVP voting. You can still be valuable on a team that doesn’t win. Baseball is a team game, and it’s not Kemp’s fault that the Dodgers won nothing.

 




Since: Mar 17, 2008
Posted on: November 22, 2011 4:05 pm
 

Ryan Braun wins NL MVP

Kemp was hurt by the fact his team wasn't any good. MVP is for most VALUABLE player, not necessarly the best player, and how can you argue that Braun wasn't the most valuable to his team?  How many games did he win with his bat, either driving in the runs or getting on base and scoring runs. How many high pressure at bats did Braun come through with?  How many high pressure ABs did Kemp even have?

Did Kemp have better stats?  Yes he did.  But did Kemp mean more to his team than Braun?  Nope.  

Stop thinking that the MVP is somehow the Heisman.  Had the Dodgers made the play-offs, Kemp wins the award running away.  But its hard to be the MVP on a 3rd place team.



Since: Oct 20, 2010
Posted on: November 22, 2011 4:01 pm
 

Ryan Braun wins NL MVP

I'm a HUGE Brewer's fan, so I'm admitting my bias up front.  I watched all the Brewer games in September and time and time again, when the Brewers needed a big hit, it was Braun (not Fielder) that provided it.  It was almost uncanny how clutch the guy was.  I didn't get to watch all the Dodger games and "clutch" doesn't show up in the box scores.  For the Kemp sympathizers (and I don't blame you cuz he had one hell of a season), I truly wonder if he did the same thing.  I'm not being sarcastic so please don't flame me.  I'm legitimately asking if the same can be said for Kemp because I didn't get to watch the games.


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