Brew Crew MVP
This is the time of year when the discussion begins regarding who is the most valuable player in both the American and National leagues. Itís hardly ever an open-and-shut case, and the fans of those players in the running will argue their pick's merits til the Cubs win a playoff game. Itís not uncommon for two of the final group of players in that discussion to be on the same team. It is unusual, however, if two of those in the MVP talks are members of our very own Milwaukee Brewers.
Since May 2007, when Ryan Braun took over as the Brewers' everyday third baseman, he and Prince Fielder have combined to be arguably the best 3rd/4th hitters in the big leagues. In fact, I believe a look at the stats would end the argument. The duo has combined for more than 350 home runs and well over 1,000 RBIs. Please, to save me some research, let me know if you know of an equal or better combo over the same time frame.
The best pair of teammates isnít the point of my blog, anyway. Iím also not here to talk about the National League MVP, because we would have to include Justin Upton of the Arizona Diamondbacks and Matt Kemp of the Los Angeles Dodgers. Kemp ranks among the top three in each of the Triple Crown offensive categories (batting average, home runs and RBIs). In fact, if this discussion were about the league MVP, it would be hard to argue with those voting for Kemp. I personally believe the fact that Braun/Prince helped the Crew to their first division title in almost 30 years swings the vote to one of them, but Iím sure I would have seen it differently in 1989.
Prince Fielder ranks first in the major leagues with 160, soon to be 162 games played. He also sits tied for second in RBIs with 115 and third in home runs with 35. He's also in the top-five in on-base percentage, OPS (on base + slugging percentage), slugging, total bases and extra-base hits -- all numbers worthy of an MVP vote.
Ryan Braun is trying to become Milwaukeeís first batting champion and currently trails Jose Reyes by a .00003 of a point. Itís that close. He also leads the National League in slugging, OPS, and total bases. Mr. Braun also finds himself in the top-five in runs, RBIs, hits, doubles, OBP, extra-base hits and batting average with runners in scoring position.
Because he bats in front of Prince, Braun has the luxury of seeing a few more good pitches, whereas Prince has the non-luxury of hitting in front of Casey McGeehee for most of the year. Both players have had clutch hits and Iím sure both could be looked at as legitimate team leaders. Iím confident that if one of these guys wins the award, the other will be the first one singing their praises because the truth is one is as deserving as the other.
Who gets your vote for team or league MVP and why? Also, bonus points for the first one to tell me, WITHOUT LOOKING IT UP, who was the Milwaukee Brewers 2010 team MVP? HintÖhe was also the RBI leaderÖ