Milwaukee Brewers slugger Ryan Braun definitely has the numbers this season to be named the 2012 National League Most Valuable Player, but the fact his team missed the playoffs and his controversial failed drug test will certainly hurt him. However, there is still one person in particular that believes Braun is deserving of the award and that man is TBS’ John Smoltz.
Braun finished the season with a .319 batting average, 41 home runs (NL best), 112 runs batted in, 108 runs, 36 doubles, three triples, and 30 stolen bases with a 6.8 wins above replacement. Any other year Braun would be unanimously chosen as the league’s MVP, but this season is very different.
With the failed drug test from last year weighing on the writer’s minds, it is hard to say who will vote for him and who will not. Smoltz believes Braun should receive the honor due to the outstanding numbers he produced this season.
“The guy who has had the MVP year, by sheer numbers, is Ryan Braun,” Smoltz said. “He’s backed up last year’s year. There was some confusion in the off-season on what took place, and he backed it up.”
San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey and St. Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina have both had a phenomenal year offensively, as well as, defensively behind the plate calling games. Not to mention, Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder Andrew McCutchen also put up some decent numbers.
“It is going to be a close [NL] MVP race,” Smoltz said. “It’s going to be one that splits a lot of votes, which is going to hurt a lot of players. But the position of catcher has to be thought of as a little bit different than an everyday player because it has been so difficult to have those positions and produce the numbers Yadier Molina (has). I know Posey has played some first base. It kind of skews it a little bit.
“But as of today, I think the guy who has had the most phenomenal year statistically would be Ryan Braun,” Smoltz said. “But I could see anyone of those other guys nosing him out.”
Smoltz believes one of the catchers could beat out Braun because both the Giants and the Cardinals clinched a postseason berth. This is a very realistic reason for someone to be named MVP ahead of Braun considering the playoffs is what it is all about and the voters definitely take it into consideration.
Whoever does end up winning the NL MVP will be most deserving of the honor because in a race as close as this there is no wrong selection for the award.
Michael is a MLB and NBA Featured Writer for Rant Sports, but covers topics for various teams in baseball, basketball, and football. Make sure to follow Michael on Twitter @MichaelTerrill and on Facebook.