Ryan Braun Should Maybe Win The NL MVP Again
Not that it’s going to happen. After the BBWAA found the egg all over their faces following Bruan’s positive test for testosterone followed by the well, nope, maybe not, there is no way he’ll pick up enough votes. Especially with Andrew McCutchen playing his dreadlocks off in Pittsburgh, their end of the season swoon be damned, and Buster Posey being the anti-Braun by playing his team into the postseason following Melky Cabrera’s PED suspension. (Posey, over the last 41 games, is hitting .371/.458/.636 at a time when a catcher is supposed to be getting tired.)
Not that Ryan Braun hasn’t been deserving of consideration. After stealing three bases against the Pirates last night, which, given the Pirates 10% caught stealing rate this season was closer to picking up a gift bag following the Grammys, Braun has 27 SB on the year. Braun ranks 13th in the National League in stolen bases which isn’t that impressive until you realize that he’s hit 40 home runs (1st), has scored 95 runs (2nd), driven in 103 (2nd), hit .313 (7th), has a .387 OBP (8th), slugged .602 (1st), has a wRC+ of 163 (1st) and a 7.4 fWAR (t1st). Which is all pretty damn impressive. Should Braun steal 3 more bases, he’ll post the first back-to-back 30/30 season since Alfonso Soriano in 2005 and ‘06. As always, take fielding numbers with a grain of salt, but he’s generally been regarded as an above-average left fielder, too.
Braun has also been amazingly consistent, never posting an OPS below .941 for a month or an OPS above 1.009. This could come back to hurt Braun’s case because while Posey has stepped it up to another level in the second half, Braun has been the same hitter all year, whether the Brewers have won or not.
Voters love a good narrative and when they’re given an option to select McCutchen for playing the Pirates back to respectability or Buster Posey giving the Giants the West despite the Melkman’s refusal to follow the rules, I can’t imagine the votes not going their way. But people should wake up and recognize the fact that with Pujols gone, Ryan Braun is best hitter in the National League.