Ryan Braun (surprisingly?) finishes 2nd in NL MVP voting | Disciples of Uecker

Disciples of Uecker

We'd like to go to the Playoffs, that would be cool.

In 2012, Ryan Braun was first in the NL in OPS. First in total bases. First in home runs. First in slugging. First in ISO. First in WPA/LI. First in wOBA. Tied for first in wRC+.

And second in the National League Most Valuable Player voting.

Of course, there may be extenuating circumstances. About 11 months ago, news about Braun’s failed drug test leaked before the appeal process was completed. The ensuing circus lasted for the rest of the winter and while Braun won his appeal, many thought he got away with something. Perhaps it played a role in the voting. Maybe it didn’t.

The result of Braun’s winter of discontent was a year of everyone talking about how there was no way Braun would be able to repeat as NL MVP. It appears most Brewers fans were resigned to this before the results were announced.

This is purely subjective, but there are very few people that could have handled the entire situation the way Braun did. He had the…confidence, let’s say…to block everything out, basically say “Haters Gonna Hate” and not only duplicate his MVP performance from a year ago, but actually improve on those numbers.

We generally don’t like to use the “pressure” argument in MVP races here, but no one in baseball had more pressure to perform well — maybe even better than he did last year — than Braun. Forget that 2011 could have been a career year. Or that with Prince Fielder gone, he was the main (and early in the season, the only) offensive threat in the Brewers’ lineup. Any time Braun would slump, the PED questions were going to come up. Braun’s solution? Simply don’t slump.

All of this is not to say he was the clear choice as MVP this year. Buster Posey was a legitimate candidate. Brewers fans shouldn’t assume every vote for Posey was one to spite Braun. It’s entirely possible many saw Posey and Braun as being tied, and the Giants’ postseason berth is what broke the tie — basically how the Braun-Matt Kemp tie was broken last year.

The fact that Braun was even named a “finalist” for the award — cluing everyone in that he was among the top five vote-getters — was a bit of a surprise, given how much the blackballing was anticipated. In the end, Braun was named on every ballot, and appeared no lower than 4th. His four fourth-place votes came from Rob Biertempfel (Pittsburgh chapter of the BBWAA), Hirokazu Higuchi (Los Angeles), Clark Spencer (Miami) and Gordon Wittenmyer (Chicago). Braun’s only first-place votes came from Milwaukee’s own Tom Haudricourt and Todd Rosiak, along with Doug Padilla (Chicago).

Braun had what may become the best season of his career and only has a Silver Slugger to show for it, but there’s no shame in finishing second in an MVP race. At the very least, there were enough NL voters that either didn’t care about what happened last winter, or were rational enough to come to the conclusion that what happened last season should have no bearing on voting for this season. Braun didn’t come away with the award, but it looks like by and large we were spared the moralizing and finger-pointing.

UPDATE: A breakdown of how Braun’s votes fell:

1st Place:
Tom Haudricourt, Milwaukee
Todd Rosiak, Milwaukee
Doug Padilla, Chicago

2nd Place:
Andrew Baggarly, San Francisco
Bill Brink, Pittsburgh
Amanda Comak, Washington
Jon Heyman, Atlanta
Ryan Lawrence, Philadelphia
Zachary Levine, Houston
Hal McCoy, Cincinnati
Bob Nightengale, Arizona
Nick Piecoro, Arizona
Ken Rosenthal, Washington
Henry Schulman, San Francisco
Joel Sherman, Houston
Jayson Stark, Philadelphia
Joe Strauss, St. Louis
Tom Verducci, Atlanta

3rd Place:
Rick Hummel, St. Louis
John Maffei, San Diego
Andy McCullough, New York
Scott Miller, San Diego
Troy Renck, Colorado
Tracy Ringolsby, Colorado
Juan C. Rodriguez, Miami
C. Trent Rosencrans, Cincinnati
Adam Rubin, New York
Mark Saxon, Los Angeles

4th Place:
Rob Biertempfel, Pittsburgh
Hirokazu Higuchi, Los Angeles
Clark Spencer, Miami
Gordon Wittenmyer, Chicago

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Tell us what do you think.

  1. Beep says: November 16, 2012

    Posey was a worthy and deserving candidate so congrats to him, but it did give the BBWAA an easy out to vote Braun 2nd.
    What will be more interesting next year is if Braun can put up big numbers for a 3rd year while helping the Brewers to the playoffs, coupled with no other player in the NL putting up as big of numbers. Then it will be interesting to see the writers have to actually decide if they’re going to hold last winter’s circus against Braun.

  2. Chris K in Sheboygan says: November 16, 2012

    4th place votes obviously punishing Braun with PEDs guilt. I get Posey winning, I don’t get any votes of McCutchen or Molina ahead of Braun. Though St. Louis home cooked votes I can understand.
    If Posey doesn’t have the second half he did, which I believe I read somewhere being one for the record books, it leads to wonder how this MVP vote turns out. I think you can argue Posey truly is the MVP not via numbers, but via his impact he has should he not be the Giants catcher. It was my argument for Cabrera vs Trout. Miggy clearly has a bigger impact for his team. Anyway, Braun is such a great, complete, consistent player, I think he’s always going to be in the MVP voting for the next 4-6years.

  3. cob says: November 16, 2012

    Heres what I don’t get in regards to the awards, how did he not win the Hank Aaron award?

    I get that Posey has a legitimate argument for the MVP, I really wouldn’t care if either one of them won it. But how on earth did Posey win the Hank Aaron award, that is just puzzling to me.
    Braun is clearly the best hitter in the NL, I don’t understand how Posey won this award and no one seems to think anything is off with him winning it.

    • Isaac says: December 11, 2012

      Because the Hank Aaron award is voted partially on by fans, and if the all-star game showed us anything, San Fran can stuff the ballot box just as well as Yankees fans.


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