So today Ryan Braun was named the NL MVP. It came as a complete shock to me for a few reasons. Maybe while I was living in LA, I just heard too much hype on why he was a slam dunk choice for the award, but the more I thought about it the more I didn’t see why Braun had the “better” season. Yes, the Brewers made it to the playoffs and won a lot, but since Kemp played with literally nobody else helping him on offense it made Kemp’s year that much more impressive. Make no mistake Andre Ethier and James Loney are no Prince Fielder or Corey Hart. Some might argue Ethier is good, but despite some of his numbers early on, he had a crappy year. I watched more Dodgers games last season than I’d like to admit, but honestly unless Kershaw was on the mound, the only thing worth watching in thier games was Matt Kemp’s atbats. I suffered through half hour periods of other players batting basically to watch Kemp bat. He finished with the NL lead in homers (39), RBI (126), and was third in BA (.324) in one of the closest attempts at the triple crown in years. To put Kemp in a little better perspective; his team scored a 644 total runs on the season, and he accounted for nearly 20% of his team’s offense even though pitchers were pitching around him all season long (trust me I saw how few pitches he had to hit, and it was Bonds-esque). Oh yeah, and once on base Kemp did another thing better than Braun, which was steal bases. Kemp had 40 thefts to Braun’s 33. Was it Kemp’s fault the rest of his team wasn’t able to score more runs for them to win more games? He came through every time he could and then some. You know what else was impressive in Kemp’s stats that I came across, is he has five walk off hits, and three were homers. Braun had three walk off hits this year, and only one was a homer.
Putting the all the offensive numbers aside that clearly point to Kemp over Braun, doesn’t playing a harder position much better than the other guy playing a weaker position give you an upper hand in voting? I go back to the rookie of the year race last year, and how Buster Posey won the award over Jason Heyward. Heyward had slightly better numbers and had played more games, but Posey won the award because many cited he played the tougher position. Is Braun an above average outfielder with a great arm? Yes, but he plays left field, the spot usually designated for the worst outfielder on the team. Matt Kemp plays center field at a gold glove level. Sure I get it winning means something, but after I took a closer look at it today, I don’t understand how the BWAA made thier choice. Maybe they hate McCourt as much as Dodgers fans, and decided they couldn’t have the Cy young winner and the MVP under his watch. Anyways, congrats Braun you are a great player, but didn’t deserve the award this year in my eyes. At least Kemp can sleep well on his nice pile of cash money!
November 22nd, 2011 at 5:32 pm
I’ll admit to be surprised when I heard this news as well.
I’m not sure when we got to the point where an MVP or Cy Young Award winner has to be on a competitive team. Felix Hernandez won it last year on a team that didn’t sniff the playoffs.
Your post inspired me to look up their numbers, which are pretty damn similar.
.597 SLG (led league)
39 HR (led league)
126 RBI (led league)
Kemp also led the league in runs scored.
Braun got 20 first place votes as opposed to Kemp’s 10.
Not to sure how to explain it other than maybe the writers thought they were voting for Shawn Kemp.
November 22nd, 2011 at 9:17 pm
Yeah, and it’s not like Kemp had a Pujols/Jordan thing going with the MVP for the last few years, like when the voters were tired of giving the award to the same person every year and pick someone different. They flat out didn’t pick the obvious “best” player. I just heard Tim Kurjken (sp.) say Kemp’s season was better, but he still voted for Braun. Makes no sense to me, but he did say the Supersonics should be happy they signed Kemp long term!
November 22nd, 2011 at 8:33 pm
The fact that Prince Fielder came in third only further contradicts the idea of Braun being the most valuable player. Without Braun, the Brewers are probably still a playoff team. Without Kemp, the Dodgers probably would have been out of business. People didn’t notice since they faded from the playoff race so early, but he carried them to 82 wins on the year.
I know as much about WAR as I do QB Ratings, but Kemp was a 10.0 this year, compared to just 7.7 for Braun. Even Jose Bautista and AL MVP Justing Verlander were only 8.5 wins above replacement players.
November 22nd, 2011 at 9:20 pm
Great point! If you have two offensive guys on the same team deserving of the award, neither should get it since alone they probably aren’t as valuable to the team. The stats keep stacking up in favor of Kemp. I couldn’t tell you how to calculate WAR either, but I know 10 is about 9.5 higher than almost all of the A’s players last year…
November 29th, 2011 at 10:07 pm
Wow, you know what Dubs? I was so concerned with one and two that I didn’t even realize he was three.
November 23rd, 2011 at 8:03 am
If there was more definition as to what “valuable” is supposed to mean there wouldn’t be controversy annually. I can only assume sports leagues enjoy this bar room back and forth as to who should have won, who did win, etc. I think even for the winners the best approach to take really is “I was just happy to be mentioned” because every single person has their own idea what “valuable” means, and rightly so. It is an intangible we’ll be forever chasing because no one really wants to give guidelines for voting. Could they if they wanted to? Too much “fun” discussing the results! Sounds like the BCS, huh?
November 23rd, 2011 at 8:43 am
The old adage applies here …….. “beauty lies is in the eye of the beholder ” . No one ever said that the members of the BBWAA …. were ever that bright to begin with !
Throw up all the stats you want but with these guys (baseball writers) it’s not so much subjectivity but objectivity .
November 29th, 2011 at 10:04 pm
“I watched more Dodgers games last season than I’d like to admit”
Trust me, I’m a Cubs fan, it happens.
I think that the fact that Braun’s team tanked like that at the end should have leveled the playing field and only made the writers more inclined to give it to Kemp upon closer review.
And if it’s Me vs. Brewers Fan in a drinking contest, somebody’s crawling back to Milwaukee with a bleeding asshole wondering where it all went wrong.
November 30th, 2011 at 9:01 pm
It is a beauty contest…I guess the team has to win it for the player himself! Taught at Midwest City High when Matt was there…Great kid! He deserved it…
If the teams were reversed do you all think he woukld have won it? YYYEEESSS!!! That is why the award has a tarnished image (same as the heisman)…He would have been the second Oklahoman since THE MICK to win it i think! Thanks for supporting Matt! By the way…he was a SUPER basketball player too!!!