Blog Entry

On the final day, Braun got my vote

Posted on: November 22, 2011 2:04 pm
Edited on: November 22, 2011 3:40 pm
As I wrote on the final Sunday of the regular season, the National League MVP race was so close that I wouldn't decide until the season was over.

When it was, I picked Ryan Braun over Matt Kemp.

So did the majority of the voters, which is why Braun is this year's NL MVP.

Kemp had an outstanding season. So did Braun.

Braun had a huge impact on the pennant race. Kemp, basically through no fault of his own, did not.

The MVP is an individual award, but baseball is a team game. Everything you do is affected by your teammates.

And in my mind, it's hard (but not impossible) to be the MVP when your teammates aren't good enough to help you contend for a championship.

Would my vote have been different had Kemp won the Triple Crown, as he had a chance to do in the final weeks of the season?

It's possible it would have been. You'll never know, because I'll never know. I never had to make that decision.

I had to decide based on what did happen, and what happened was that Braun's great season helped his team to a championship, while Kemp's great season kept his team from losing more games than it won.

My ballot:

1. Braun.

2. Kemp.

3. Prince Fielder. For the first part of the season, he was even better than Braun. For the whole year, Braun got the edge.

4. Albert Pujols. He started slow (for him), and then he was hurt. But he came back strong, and so did his team.

5. Lance Berkman. Without him, the Cardinals would have been buried early.

6. Roy Halladay. The Phillies were the dominant team in the regular season, and their starting pitching was the reason. The problem was that it was hard to separate out one starter.

7. Justin Upton. Great year, great story, but his home-road split (1.033 OPS at home, .767 on road) held him down.

8. Cliff Lee. Based on June (5-0, 0.21) and August (5-0, 0.45), he was the MVP. For the full season, he just makes the ballot.

9. Joey Votto. Didn't repeat his 2010 season, so he won't repeat as MVP.

10. Carlos Ruiz. His numbers are nowhere near MVP-worthy. I gave him a 10th-place vote because of the impact he has on the Phillies pitching, which was so good that if I could have voted for the rotation as a whole, they would have been the MVP.


Since: Aug 14, 2007
Posted on: November 22, 2011 6:45 pm

On the final day, Braun got my vote

A few points I need to point out in favor of Matt Kemp.

1. Where he plays. Dodger Stadium for 81 games and 8 games in SF and SD. Maybe the top 3 pitchers parks in baseball. Milwaukee is a launching pad.

2. Line-up strength. The RBI he put up with that line-up should have won him the MVP all by itself. I've been a Dodger fan for 34 years. I can't remember anyone winning the RBI title. He also scored the most runs.

3. Glove. Gold.

4. Speed. 2nd in stolen bases in the NL.

5. Power. #1. Again, when is the last time a Dodger led the league in HR's? It doesn't happen.

5. Health. Played every game.

6. More hits. More walks. More runs. More HR's. More RBI's. Better glove.

Where does Braun have him beat?

1. Average. .332 to .324.

2. Winning team. I guess that was enough...?

Since: Nov 9, 2006
Posted on: November 22, 2011 5:56 pm

One day does not make a season ...

Matt Kemp was very deserving of the award.  If Matt Kemp had some protection in the lineup - what would his numbers have looked like?  Granted - Braun also had an exceptional season - and deserves props, too.

You really can't go wrong with Braun - and I don't disagree with Knobler's top 3-4 picks on his ballot.  What I don't get is how he doesn't put Kershaw on the ballot and puts Halladay, Lee and Chooch on the ballot?  JV wins the MVP in the AL - and Kershaw - the NL triple crown winner in the NL doesn't get a vote.  Kershaw had 2 less K's than JV, had a better ERA by .18, and only had 4 less wins on a team that was anemic on offense (with the exception of 1 Matt Kemp).  Kershaw ends up 12th in the vote with virtually the same numbers - go figure.  Show some respect for players with talent on poor performing teams ... just think how bad the Dodgers would have been without them!

Since: Nov 5, 2010
Posted on: November 22, 2011 5:51 pm

On the final day, Braun got my vote

Anybody who ever played the game knows that when you are in a pennant race things get much tougher than when playing for nothing like the Dodgers knowing they had absolutley no chance of even a wild card slot. Kemp had a great year, but he could swing for the fences or attempt to steal a base at any time because nothing was going to hurt his team's chances of making the playoffs or getting home field advantage in the playoffs. Since Braun and Fielder were nearly the Brewer's entire offense, Braun knew every at bat down the stretch would be crucial to his team's success. The pressure he faced (and even professionals feel pressure) was far greater than the pressure on Kemp. The very best like Braun overcome it and perform at a very high level. He deserved the MVP!

Since: Mar 29, 2011
Posted on: November 22, 2011 5:42 pm

On the final day, Braun got my vote

clearly not the peoples choice and clearly all he does is sit out in left feild and wear out the same spot in the turf out. Prince should have been it, but he didnt because we will not be returning. remember this a player who didnt respond to the managers in the past because he didnt get his way. its all about I and in team do you see I..........

Since: Aug 1, 2007
Posted on: November 22, 2011 5:02 pm

On the final day, Braun got my vote

Don't let the BBWAA fool you.  They feel like they rule the world with some great authority they have been giving to hand out these awards and elect people into the HOF.  That authority is greatly misplaced and that has been proven time and time again (i.e. the guy who didn't vote Ricky Henderson into the HOF on the first ballet).  Although this is an individual award - the success of your team weighs heavily on the decision.  If Matt Kemp was in the pennant race or at least a division race I have no doubt in my mind the vote would have been different (closer at the very least).  Every at bat mattered for Ryan Braun down the stretch and not a single one mattered for Matt Kemp.  That alone changes the magnitude of the stats involved.  The fact they were so close the edge goes to Braun and that is why he is your MVP.

Please look at the ballet () - this alone shows you how inaccurate the BBWAA really is.  I am going to use the other Brewer for my example (could use Justin Upton as well).  Prince Fielder's MVP voting numbers are enough to tell me that the BBWAA is no longer capable of voting on such awards.  I would like to see the justification on why he received a 10th place vote, 2 - 8th place votes, and 3 - 6th place votes.  I am not saying Prince is the MVP, but he clearly was a top 5 player in the NL hands down and no questions asked.  On what merit would you put him 10th?  I am going to list all 3 stat lines - it shows Braun &/or Kemp were the choice for the winner, but Prince isn't 10 places off of them.  He also was the only player in the majors to play all 162.  I also want to bring up an arguement for Prince that the Kemp followers are using - protection.  If you are saying Kemp didn't have protection please look at Prince Fielder's protection in the Brewer lineup - Casey McGehee.  He batted .223 for the regular season and was so bad the Brewers had move him out of that spot (Rickie Weeks did spend sometime there as well before being hurt).  That is less protection than Kemp had all year.

.332  .397  .597  .994   33   111   109    58
.324  .399  .586  .986   39   126   115    74
.299  .415  .566  .981   38   120   95     107

Braun or Kemp are worthy for this award and both of them had MVP years.  The problem in this case is leaving it up to the BBWAA to vote on the award.

Since: Jan 3, 2008
Posted on: November 22, 2011 4:21 pm

On the final day, Braun got my vote

I'll preface this by saying I am a Brewer fan. I could argue for Prince, Braun, or Kemp. All woul dhave been good selections. For me, Braun would get my nod strictly for the timely hits he delivered all season and in the playoffs (although it is supposed to be a regular season award, I know). I think if Braun doesn't have the playoffs he had, which is stuck in voters minds, Kemp wins. I'm happy for Braun though. Solid player who took a lot less money than he could have and signed a long term deal with my team. Can't complain. Kemp could have easily won this though as he had a crazy year. I feel as though West Coast players (other than Bonds) get penalized sometime for being in an off timezone. I can admit, I saw probably 12 Dodger games this year myself being in the midwest. let alone a game starting at 10 or 11 on the east coast. I couldn't argue for 1 over the other besides the big game moments when it counted for Braun. unfortunately for Kemp and Dodger fans, they didn't have many of those and it cost them. Should it have? Thats up for debate. Regardless, its over, and Braun won so congrats. Also think Bautista should have won AL MVP. But we all know how that went.

Since: Jan 15, 2008
Posted on: November 22, 2011 3:50 pm

On the final day, Braun got my vote

I was suprised that Braun won.  Kemp was the better all around player IMO but to his misfortune, he was on a subpar team which I'm sure swayed votes away from him.

Since: Mar 15, 2008
Posted on: November 22, 2011 3:46 pm

On the final day, Braun got my vote

Danny Knob Gobbler strikes again.

Since: May 17, 2008
Posted on: November 22, 2011 3:45 pm

On the final day, Braun got my vote

Would my vote have been different had Kemp won the Triple Crown, as he had a chance to do in the final weeks of the season?

It's possible it would have been.
Kemp had 602 AB...Knobler's vote MAY have changed if Kemp wins the Triple Crown.  The difference between .324 and .334 (and a triple crown) over 602 AB is 6 hits (actually6.068 -- 6 hits and Kemp's average is .33389) and for Knobler that and that alone MIGHT have been enough to vote for Kemp?  Really, 6 hits over 161 games?  Why, would those 6 hits have put the Dodgers in a pennant race?  Not likely.  Well I guess Kemp potentially got ripped off by Braun missing 12 games (which could have lowerd, or raised, his BA), Reyes skipping out early to avoid possibly lowering his average and the Dodgers playing 161 instead of a 162 games all of which would have at least given Kemp a chance to close the .008 or .009 gap  and win the triple crown.

Since: Mar 15, 2008
Posted on: November 22, 2011 3:45 pm

On the final day, Braun got my vote

It wasn't a terrible decision but I can't help but feel a little mad. They said Braun had more impact because his team went to the playoffs but he bats every day with Prince Fielder in the lineup, and Kemp came so close to the triple crown, maybe even quadruple crown. Disappointed but hopefully he'll get another chance next year, congrats to Ryan Braun, Brewers, and Brewers fans.

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