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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.


Comments

Since: May 17, 2008
Posted on: November 22, 2011 3:36 pm
 

On the final day, Braun got my vote

TheMillerMan, You are the one who fails.  Calling it an Awful vote completely takes away your credibility.  100% Gone.  Thanks for playing.  By the way, if your concluding point is going to be bas on Wins Over Replacements, why don't you consider that the ONLY reason Kemp's WOR was better was because he was awarded EXTRA points not based on what he did, but BASED ON BEING A CENTERFIELDER. 

Getting "extra points" for being a CF in the WAR calculation only supports Kemps claim to MVP.  The MVP is not the "best hitter" award but "most valuable player" award.  Being a "player" includes, in my book, defense and Kemp is now a two-time Gold Glove CF, a premium position, while Braun is, at best, an average LF defensively.  Kemp led Braun in every offensive category except Avg (.332 - .324) and SLG% (.597 - .586) -- thats H, HR, Runs, RBI, Steals and OBP PLUS he is the better defender all contributing to the higher WAR rating which tries to calculate what player is more valuable to their team than another is to his team.  Kemp should have won the MVP (no way the Dodgers finish 44-27 to go 3 above .500 without Kemp, while the Brewers can still make the playoffs without Braun considering they have Fielder hitting behind him).



Since: May 17, 2008
Posted on: November 22, 2011 3:31 pm
 

On the final day, Braun got my vote

I think it's more of a crime that Kemp won the gold glove.  For such a fast guy he has terrible range and was downright mediocre in the field this year. 
Not sure who you were watching, but 345 putouts and 11 outfield assists is hardly "mediocre".  Name me a better defensive CF in the NL this year?



Since: Nov 9, 2006
Posted on: November 22, 2011 3:27 pm
 

On the final day, Braun got my vote

TheMillerMan, You are the one who fails.  Calling it an Awful vote completely takes away your credibility.  100% Gone.  Thanks for playing.  By the way, if your concluding point is going to be bas on Wins Over Replacements, why don't you consider that the ONLY reason Kemp's WOR was better was because he was awarded EXTRA points not based on what he did, but BASED ON BEING A CENTERFIELDER. 



Since: Sep 28, 2010
Posted on: November 22, 2011 3:24 pm
 

On the final day, Braun got my vote

I picked the AL & NL Cy Young and the NL MVP before the season started! Too bad I picked the Braves, Rockies, and Red Sox to go to the playoffs.



Since: Jan 15, 2009
Posted on: November 22, 2011 3:22 pm
 

On the final day, Braun got my vote

I think it's more of a crime that Kemp won the gold glove.  For such a fast guy he has terrible range and was downright mediocre in the field this year. 



Since: Mar 2, 2008
Posted on: November 22, 2011 3:13 pm
 

On the final day, Braun got my vote

Knobler your vote for Braun is almost as ridiculous as that picture of you. Yikes bro, get to the barber.




Since: Apr 9, 2008
Posted on: November 22, 2011 3:08 pm
 

On the final day, Braun got my vote

so, according to knobler, everything you do is affected by your teammates.  Based on this, doesn't the fact that Kemp had even, if not slightly better #'s than Braun, coupled with the fact that his teammates were worse, make him the more logical choice?  Also, the guy won the gold glove.  Since half of the game is played on defense, why does this not factor in with the voters?  I find it funny that the voters can give the Cy Young to a guy who won 13 games last year over someone who won 20, but then give the lame-ass excuse that "it's all about winning games" when it comes to the MVP voting.   



Since: Dec 29, 2006
Posted on: November 22, 2011 3:05 pm
 

On the final day, Braun got my vote

Let's face facts. The BBWA has shown itself to be two-faced, contradictory, and generally assinine in their selections to most categories over the last three years. It started with Greinke and the new fangled sabremetrics. I mean if Verlander is MVP, You can make an argument for Halliday being MVP. Wait, he didn't win the Cy Young. But why would you have to win the Cy Young to be MVP? In Cy Young, wins and losses have no meaning at all anymore. Now the writers will tell you Braun because heplayed on a winner. You could just as well argue Braun wasn't the difference for Milw. anymore than Fielder was. The coudn't of won without either one of them. If the Dodgers were bad with Kemp, they wouldhave been putrid without him.  Who was probably more important for putting fannies in the seats? I suspect Kemp, as he was pretty valuable in that aspect of the game. If you win because you played on a winner, then it is about time to change the name of the reward like the Cy Young award needs to be changed. The best all-time era belongs to Walsh, but the best ERA/WHIP belongs to Addie Joss. Cy Young isn't close. He was just the winningest pitcher and we have seen that wins and loses don't count anymore. Braun is an ok selection. Kemp would have been an ok selection. Not nearly as bad as the travesty of 1942. But that only proved/proves that the BBWA are the worst arbitrators in too many instances. I mean, maybe we need a computer program like the BCS. Not. But I would be happier with the players having a vote also. Of course that would be heresy as the KNIGHTS of the KEYBOARD hae shown themselves to be the smartest on the planet.  



Since: Apr 24, 2007
Posted on: November 22, 2011 2:56 pm
 

On the final day, Braun got my vote

Kudos to Knobler for his willingness to be transparent.  Of course, whomever he picked there'd be some sort of backlash.  (Not sure why people are railing on one dude for his vote considering that almost 2/3 of the voters chose Braun.  Sounds like these folks should vent more on a voting system they don't agree with rather than single voters.)  Braun seems to me a fine choice.  MVP usually goes to a player on a team that reaches the postseason.  This holds mostly true for all major sports.  There are exceptions, of course, for players on bad teams when they have exceptionally good seasons -- ones that are over and above the rest of the field.  Kemp had an awesome year by all accounts.  I agree that it wasn't that much better to vault him into first place.  And judging by his new contract, he should be in this discussion again.  He will eventually get his if he keeps it up.



Since: Oct 29, 2007
Posted on: November 22, 2011 2:44 pm
 

On the final day, Braun got my vote

Wow, what a horrendous justification for an awful vote. What a ridiculously inane point: "It's hard to be the MVP when your teammates aren't good enough to help you contend for a championship". In typical misguided writer fashion, you then contradict yourself by saying "the MVP is an individual award". Well which is it? It's the Most Valuable Player. Not Most Valuable Player on a playoff team. Matt Kemp provided more value to his team than any other player in the National League, and it's not close. Beyond his awesome offensive stats, he plays decent defense at a premium position compared to the historically awful defense of Braun at one of the lowest impact positions on the field. This is the problem with these awards, there are too many terrible writers who vote based on the traditional stats instead of taking into account what actually makes players valuable to their teams. It's irrelevant to Matt Kemp's value what Jamey Caroll's value was. But you punish him because of his supporting cast while Braun gets the benefit of his teammates while providing inferior value to his team. 

FanGraphs WAR:

Matt Kemp - 8.7
Ryan Braun - 7.8
Chuck Knobler - Fail. 


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