Sport Court: National League MVP

Phat Nguyen; Justin Franiak; Joe Pugliese, Sports Editor; Assistant Sports Editor; Staff Writer

NL MVP:   My pick for National League MVP is Ryan Braun of the Milwaukee Brewers.  There are several other candidates that deserve consideration, but ultimately I believe Braun is the clear winner.  Braun is well on his way to not only a 30hr-30sb season – which has only happened 54 times in all of baseball history by only 34 different players – but a.300BA/30HR/30SB/100RBI season is very rare in to see as it is the ultimate show of speed, power and consistency.  Braun is the top dog in the national league with a .333 average  batting average, and he leads the league in slugging with .579 and OPS with .974.  He has batted 31 homeruns, 103 RBIs and 31 stolen bases which are all in the top ten for the Nl.  Braun also has a 6.9 Wins Above Replacement (WAR), which measures how many more wins a player produces for his team versus the average player for his position. Braun measures 2nd in the Nl, only behind Dodgers player Matt Kemp who has an 8.6 WAR.  The reason I am not giving the award to Kemp, even though he has put up great numbers and is leading in WAR, is that he his team not contending for a playoff bid. The fact that he is on a team that is 14 games out and three games under .500.  Kemp is also producing a .300BA/30HR/30SB/100RBI season.  The numbers between Kemp and Braun are eerily similar, though Kemp has more homeruns, RBIs and SB with 33, 111 and 40 respectively.  But an MVP on a non-playoff team is hard to make a case for unless the numbers are astronomical.  The old expression in sports is “we can lose with you or without you.”  If Kemp is receiving serious consideration, you have to put players like Jose Reyes, Joey Votto and Albert Pujols in the mix.  Reyes had great numbers before his injuries and is second in the league in hitting and triples. However, the record season he was on pace for is just going to be a great season plagued by injury.  Votto is in a similar position as Kemp, where he has great numbers but is on a team thirteen games out of the playoffs.  Note the only other players I would put in the running are Prince Fielder and Justin Upton.  Fielder, Braun’s teammate, is a candidate by leading the league in games played and is in the top five in home runs and Runs Batted In. However, his batting average more than forty points lower than Braun’s and he doesn’t have nearly the same impact on the field and on the bases as Braun.  Upton is making a very strong case playing in Arizona and leading the surprise team of the year to first place.  Upton only leads the league in doubles and has no outstanding statistics that would make him MVP worthy, but when you look at his team and where they are there are only two players that stand out: Upton and Ian Kennedy.  If we consider pitchers like Kennedy then we have to put Cliff Lee and Craig Kimbrel in the discussion, neither of whom are having a season like Justin Verlander in the AL so I would not seriously consider them.  Ultimately I give MVP to Braun, with Matt Kemp finishing 2nd and Justin Upton coming in 3rd in the race.


This year’s Al MVP race has so many good front runners this year, but I truly believe a pitcher might be the best guy for that argument. With all respect to the great everyday players like Curtis Granderson, Jose Bautista, and those three guys from Boston, I think that Justin Verlander should win the AL MVP over all of them. Verlander is having his best season ever and is leading his red hot Detroit Tigers in first place. If you love stats as much as I do, when you look WAR, or wins above replacement, Verlander is hovering around a solid 8.0 mark according to Jose Bautista actually leads the AL right now in WAR with an 8.6 and has a league leading 42 homeruns, but his team is 15.5 games back and is heading straight to the golf course instead of the postseason. Lots of voters will argue Curtis Granderson, but even I could hit 40 homeruns in Yankee Stadium on that short porch. I’m not discrediting the guy, I mean he’s having a great season, but I just don’t think he wins the MVP. Yankees fans will always argue for Cano, but his numbers just don’t add up this year. Even though he is tied for the league lead in RBI’s, he’s only hitting .306 and which is good, but not good enough to score an MVP award. My close second place to Verlander is Adrian Gonzalez. Gonzalez is hitting .337 with 26 homeruns and 111 RBI’s and his team is still in the race for first and the playoffs. Gonzo has a few teammates in the running with him too. Both Dustin Pedroia and Jacoby Ellsbury should get thrown into the mix as well. Respectively they are hitting .309 and .319 and Pedroia has one of the best WAR ratings in the league at 6.7. Usually the MVP goes to an everyday player because voters look for a guy who plays a lot of games on offense and defense, but I think this year is different. Verlander has a league leading 23 wins with just 5 losses.  His ERA is the lowest it’s been in his career at 2.36.  He is almost at his career high in strikeouts and also leads the league with them, at 238.  Verlander also possesses intangibles that make his teammates better. When Doug Fister was traded to the Tigers this year he had a 3-12 record with a 3.33 ERA, granted he was on the Mariners. Since coming over from Seattle, Fister has a record of 6-1 and his ERA is 2.12. Fister has been let loose this season because of the man starting in front of him, Verlander. These two combine for what in my opinion is the best 1-2 in baseball right now. Realistically year, the Tiger’s a .500 team without their ace and are giving up nearly 5 runs a game. Verlander is steam rolling to the playoffs this year and that’s why I think he deserves the MVP.