Milwaukee Brewers left field Ryan Braun was voted by the Baseball Writer’s Associate of America to be the 2011 National League Most Valuable Player last season. Braun has followed that up with another phenomenal season this year. The 2011 and 2012 seasons are comparable enough in which he rightfully deserves the MVP award once again.
Braun batted .332 with 33 home runs, 111 runs batted in, 109 runs, 38 doubles, six triples, and 33 stolen bases with a 7.7 wins above replacement last year. More importantly, the Brewers had a franchise-best 96 wins and won their first ever National League Central Division crown. Milwaukee ended up making it all the way to the NLCS where they were two games away from a World Series berth.
Braun’s numbers were fantastic but the fact the Brewers won their division is a huge reason why he won the MVP award over Los Angeles Dodgers center fielder Matt Kemp. The writers not only want to vote for the best statistical player in the league but how that player affected their team’s ability to win.
In 2012, Braun batted .319 with 41 home runs (league best), 112 runs batted in, 108 runs, 36 doubles, three triples, and 30 stolen bases with a 6.8 wins above replacement. As you can see, these numbers are incredibly similar to those of his 2011 MVP statistics. Since these numbers are all-around better than any other player in the league there is no question Braun should be awarded the Kenesaw Mountain Landis Memorial Baseball Award for the second year in a row.
Most people believe Braun does not deserve the award considering all of the controversy surrounding him at the end of last year. There are two solid points that can be made about that thought process.
The first point is that the writers and the public were not supposed to have any knowledge of his failed test. If no one knew about it, no one would believe it considering the majority of his numbers this season are actually better than last years.
The second point is that this all this took place during 2011. That means it happened last year, which means it has nothing to do with this season. The MVP award does not take into consideration what the player did in his previous years, only what he accomplished during the current season.
Not to mention, the writers should note that Braun did this under incredible scrutiny and was still able to shake off the heckling and perform at a high level in all 162 games this season. The pressure he was under to deliver game in and game out without Prince Fielder providing him protection in the lineup. Also, Braun was a big reason why the Brewers were able to dig themselves out of a deep hole in late August and almost clinch a postseason berth at the end of the regular season.
If the MVP is supposed to go to the best player in the league then it should rightfully go to Braun.
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.