The Milwaukee Brewers haven’t necessarly played up to their potential this season, coming into today with a record of 71-71, a full four games out of the second National League wild card spot. The Brew Crew have been on fire as of late, however, going 36-26 since they traded away their ace Zack Greinke near the end of July. Supposedly, that was the Brewers way of waiving the white flag on the season, and who could blame them with the way their bullpen was performing for a majority of the season. But the bullpen issues Milwaukee has had have been fixed – well, fixed well enough for them to start winning some games – and the one constant the team has had all season is still there producting. That constant is defending National League MVP Ryan Braun.
Braun – who won the MVP in controversial fashion last year over Matt Kemp - is now in the very same position Kemp was in last season. For all intents and purposes, Kemp was the better player than Braun last season, but Braun’s Brewers reached the playoffs, while Kemp’s Dodgers stayed at home. Many thought, for that reason alone, Braun won the MVP over Kemp, ticking off the SABR nerds and Dodger fans in the process. So it would only makes sense to use the same defense for Braun this year – right?
I believe the National League MVP award is a two horse race between Braun and San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey. It’s kind of eerie how similar the situation is this season as it was last season. Make no mistake about it, Posey is having a terrific season for San Francisco, leading them to what is likely the National League West championship. Yet, I would still take Braun for this year’s most valuable player.
I’m sure the public perception of Braun is still a little shaky after his 50-game suspension was thrown out because of a faulty urine test, but he is still one of the best players in the game of baseball. And if you were one of those people saying Kemp should have been MVP over Braun last year, then you need to say the same thing for Braun this season; especially, if Braun leads an epic comeback for the second wild card spot.
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