Milwaukee Brewers left fielder Ryan Braun is the 2011 National League Most Valuable Player. Braun dominated the voting after much speculation that Matt Kemp of the Los Angeles Dodgers would win it. Braun finished with 20 first place votes for a total of 388 points to Kemp’s 10 votes, 332 points.
Braun is the third player in franchise history to win the award. He joins reliever Rollie Fingers who won in 1981 and Robin Yount who won in 1982 as a shortstop and 1989 as a center fielder.
In 150 games this season Braun had 109 runs, 187 hits, 336 total bases, 33 home runs, 111 runs batted in, 58 walks (career-high), 33 stolen bases (career-high), .332 batting average (career-high), .397 on base percentage (career-high) and .597 slugging percentage. With those ridiculous numbers and a team that broke several franchise records, most importantly the 96 wins, there was no way Braun was going to be denied MVP.
I understand the argument that Kemp almost won the triple crown for the first time in 44 years but let’s be honest, he did it for a team that was only three games above .500. Braun was under pressure to perform every game because Milwaukee was hunting their first division crown since ’82. If Braun did not execute on a daily basis there’s a good chance the Brewers don’t make it to the playoffs, let alone all the way to an NLCS berth.
Braun is signed in Milwaukee through the 2020 season and that is a very good thing for Brewer fans. His numbers may not always be as good as they were this season but if you look at his career statistics it seems we can expect similar results in the future. Which means this may not be the last time fans celebrate an MVP award in the next eight seasons. Hopefully next time a World Series celebration can accompany it.