Welcome to the first installment of Award Discussions, a closer look at some of the more interesting individual award races in MLB history. First, let’s examine two Hall-of-Famers who put up these monster numbers one magical season in the ’40s.
So who’s your MVP? Player X… the second baseman who swiped a MLB-best 37 bags, hit .342, and successfully sacrificed himself 17 times (both tops in the NL)? Or Player Y… the outfielder who led the Majors in games played, hits, doubles, and total bases, paced the NL in on-base percentage, and recorded an incredible 1.062 OPS?
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The actual results of the 1949 NL MVP balloting can be found here.
The following is a detailed look at the 2011 National League Most Valuable Player voting:
When Ryan Braun was notified of the NL MVP results, he immediately proceeded to call his mother, his agent, and then Green Bay Packers quarterback and fellow Cali-native Aaron Rodgers, who Braun calls his “best athlete friend.” His message to the leader of the 11-0 Packers was clear: your turn. Rodgers, forever a Wisconsin legend thanks to his Super Bowl XLV MVP performance, has the inside track for the MVP award this season and was happy for his pal. “I’m proud of him,” Rodgers said in an ESPN interview, “he had an incredible season.” Rodgers was also thankful to play in front of the best fans around. “It’s fun to know that he’s going to be in Milwaukee for a long time,” he said. “I’m hopefully going to be here for a long time, and we appreciate the opportunity to play in Wisconsin for sports teams and their fans who really care about their players.” Braun may now have the award, but Rodgers has the title – something Braun craves. “[Rodgers has] accomplished far more in his sport than I have in mine,” stated Braun, “it inspires me to try to get better and ultimately to win a championship of my own for the Milwaukee Brewers.” One day, Milwaukee. One day.
Milwaukee once again has a Most Valuable Player. Ryan Braun received 20 first-place votes to Matt Kemp’s 10 to earn National League MVP honors Tuesday afternoon, becoming the first Brewer to win the award since Robin Yount in 1989. The announcement caps an incredible year for baseball fans in Wisconsin. The Brewers won their first division title in 29 years, set a franchise-record with 96 wins, walked-off to the NLCS in dramatic fashion, and now can say they boast the MVP. Kemp put up some ridiculous numbers, but Braun deserved the award. He led the league in slugging (.597) and OPS (.994), finished second in batting (.332), became only the second Brewer ever to have a 30-30 season (33 homers, 33 steals), plus he drove in 111 runs, scored 109, was an All-Star for the fourth consecutive year, and won his fourth straight Silver Slugger. Brewers’ first baseman Prince Fielder finished third in the balloting. Thank goodness Milwaukee has Ryan Braun inked through 2020, because there isn’t a cooler, classier, or more clutch player in all the land.
Milwaukee’s magical run came to an end with a Game 6 loss to the Cardinals Sunday night. But keep your heads up Brewers fans, the 2011 Brew Crew won the most games in franchise history and the core is coming back: Ryan Braun, Rickie Weeks, Corey Hart, Yovani Gallardo, Zack Greinke, Shaun Marcum, John Axford, etc. will all be around in 2012. As for the humongous pink elephant in the room, Albert Pujols said after the game that he believes Prince Fielder will be a Brewer next season, and he thinks Milwaukee will be back in the NLCS sooner than later.
It’s been a year of milestones for Detroit Tiger’s starting pitcher Justin Verlander. 2011 saw Verlander record his 1,000th strikeout and 100th win. On May 2 he tossed his second career no-hitter, losing his bid for a perfect game with an eighth inning walk, his only blunder on the day. Verlander didn’t give up a hit until the sixth inning of his following outing, compiling 15 2/3 innings of hitless baseball over three starts. The Detroit ace struck out a career-high 14 batters versus the Diamondbacks on June 25. Verlander flirted with no-hitters multiple times later in the season, not allowing a hit through seven innings on both June 14 and July 31.
Verlander’s numbers are off the charts. He leads Major League Baseball in wins (24), innings pitched (251), strikeouts (250), WHIP (0.92), and hits per nine innings (6.2). He leads the American League in ERA (2.40) and win-loss percentage (24-5, .828).
If being named to his fourth All-Star team doesn’t push him over the top, his 7.0 WAR does.
Ladies and gentleman there is no debate, Justin Verlander is the American League Cy Young.
No, that’s not a typo. The Milwaukee Brewers clinched their first division title in 29 years today when they defeated the Marlins 4-1 and the Cubs topped St. Louis 5-1. In an eerily similar scene to 2008, Ryan Braun crushed what turned out to be a game-winning three-run home run in the bottom of the eighth with chants of “MVP” coming from the stands. It was an electric atmosphere in Miller Park with the players anxiously watching the Cubs-Cards game on the big screen right along with fans. What a moment for a squad built from the ground up. Teammates Ryan Braun, Rickie Weeks, Corey Hart, Yovani Gallardo and Prince Fielder have experienced all of the ups and downs together over the years. There is not a fan base or group of players around that deserve a division title more. John Axford locked it down in the ninth to tie a franchise record with 44 saves. With a spectacular full-extension diving catch turned double play and a super clutch three-run bomb, Ryan Braun all but locked up the National League MVP award in my opinion. There’s not much more to be said about the Brewers that hasn’t been said already; and with that, Milwaukee fans can look forward to next Saturday when the NLDS begins. Go Brewers!!! 11 wins away from a World Series title…
Today the Milwaukee Brewers beat the St. Louis Cardinals 4-1 at Busch Stadium to increase their division lead to a season-high 10 1/2 games (with 20 remaining). Ryan Braun continued to improve on his dynamic numbers, furthering his case for the National League Most Valuable Player.
Here are Ryan Braun’s stats along with his rank in the National League. I personally believe that the best numerical way to evaluate a player is OPS, in which Braun ranks first in the NL and second in all of baseball (Jose Bautista).
On-base Plus Slugging (OPS): .999 (1st)
On-base Percentage (OBP): .404 (3rd)
Slugging Percentage (SLG): .595 (1st)
Batting Average (AVG): .335 (1st)
Home Runs (HR): 27 (T-10th)
Runs Batted In (RBI): 95 (5th)
Runs (R): 96 (1st)
Stolen Bases (SB): 31 (7th)
Hits (H): 163 (4th)