2012 MLB Award Winners—National League MVP

Here are my top five finishers for the National League Most Valuable Player along with who I picked in the preseason.

1. Buster Posey, C—San Francisco Giants

Not only did Posey have to handle a pitching staff that was the key to his club’s success, he had to function as the centerpiece of the Giants’ offensive attack and he was doing it a year after he’d sustained a devastating ankle injury in a collision at home plate.

Where would the Giants have been without him? The concept that he could’ve sat behind the plate in a rocking chair and nurtured that pitching staff based on its greatness is ludicrous. Barry Zito gets by with trickery; Tim Lincecum was dealing with extended adversity on the mound for the first time; and they lost their closer Brian Wilson—the one constant was Posey.

Statistically at the plate, he led the National League in batting (.336); led the majors in OPS+ (172); had 24 homers, 39 doubles and an OBP of .406.

2. Andrew McCutchen, CF—Pittsburgh Pirates

If the award was handed out at mid-season, McCutchen would’ve won. As much of a linchpin to the Giants as Posey was, McCutchen was more of a key to the Pirates’ woeful offense. McCutchen had a .327/.400/.553 slash line with 31 homers, a league-leading 194 hits, 20 stolen bases and good defense in center field.

3. Yadier Molina, C—St. Louis Cardinals

Molina has become an offensive force to go along with his all-world defense. Posting a 48% caught stealing rate and completely shutting down the opposition’s running game is written in ink before the season, but he also had a .315/.373/.501 slash line with 22 homers, along with 12 stolen bases in 15 tries.

4. Ryan Braun, LF—Milwaukee Brewers

I almost wish Braun had been head-and-shoulders above the other competitors to see if there would be enough fallout from his failed PED test after winning the award in 2011, and then the deft stickhandling the Players Association did to overturn his suspension.

Braun wound up leading the league with 41 homers and OPS at .987. He also stole 30 bases and has become a respectable glove in left field.

Had he been the clear MVP, he wouldn’t have won it.

5. Michael Bourn, CF—Atlanta Braves

Bourn’s defense was superlative, he stole 42 bases and had a career high 9 homers. The main reason he’s ahead of other candidates Chase Headley, Clayton Kershaw, and David Wright is that his team made the playoffs. Otherwise all have cases for the 5th spot.

My preseason pick for the NL MVP was Troy Tulowitzki.

Yah.

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  1. #1 by William G on November 12, 2012 - 3:00 pm

    Braun WAS clearly better than the rest, and an examination of the statistics shows it. Selecting Posey as the NL MVP is debatable. Putting Braun behind Andrew McCutchen is laughable.

    Braun led the NL in home runs, slugging, extra base hits, runs, and total bases. He was second in hits, RBI, and slugging, and 3rd in batting average. The only guy to finish in the top three in every major offensive category.

    As for Posey…he led in average and OBP. That’s it. Braun beat him in every other category, some by a laughable amount. He hit 17 more home runs than Posey, scored 30 more runs, had 29 more stolen bases, and 65 more total bases. And when you start using “adjusted” anything as basis for your argument, you lose. You start throwing in theoretical numbers as if they are fact. “Adjusted OPS” in plain English is “this is what your numbers would look like if you hadn’t hit in such a pitcher friendly park half of the season”. As I stated on another blog, I don’t suppose that this adjusted OPS takes into consideration the augmentation of Posey’s average from hitting in a larger park, does it? There’s still three outfielders, yet in a “pitcher’s park”, there’s more ground to cover. It is not at all a stretch to hypothesize that Posey’s average benefits to the same degree that his home run figures suffer.

    And what about AT&T Park? Adjusted OPS seems to hint that Posey would hit more home runs if he played his home games in another park. By that same rationale, Ryan Braun would hit fewer home runs if he played at AT&T, right? That’s what is happening. Braun via OPS + is being penalized for playing his home games at Miller Park.

    Ryan Braun has 66 official plate appearances at AT&T Park, and 6 home runs. While that’s a small sample size, a comparison can be made. Buster Posey had 7 home runs in 245 at bats at AT&T in 2012. One home run every 35 at bats. Braun, when he has played at AT&T, has hit it out once every 11 at bats. In other words, Buster, the “MVP”, managed to hit one more home run than Braun has at AT&T in 179 fewer at bats.

    I could go on, but this whole debate tires me. Ryan Braun is clearly the NL MVP, and the BBWAA, suddenly the “moral voice” of MLB, is going to screw him out of the award.

    • #2 by admin on November 12, 2012 - 4:35 pm

      I hate to contribute to you being “tired”, but you obviously have an unstated agenda in support of Braun, whatever that may be—Brewers fan; Braun fan; something else. Since that’s the case, it should be disclosed. Your argument is silly and cherrypicked as you make statements that have no basis statistically or otherwise because you haven’t bothered to do research to back them up.
      So Posey benefited in some way from playing in a pitchers’ park? Fine. Show some proof other than a random, baseless assertion to support your case. It’s not hard to do nowadays by examining the types of hits Posey accrued based on the pitcher friendly dimensions of his home park, but you don’t do that. If it’s “not a stretch” then where are the facts to back it up?
      You provide nothing. The entire point of OPS+ is to give a guideline of what the hitter might provide if he were in a negligible ballpark. It’s not the final arbiter, nor is WAR, leading the league in home runs, defensive contribution, or other factors. The MVP is an accumulation of everything.
      Comparing how many home runs Posey hit at home and how many Braun hit in AT&T Park is ridiculous without examining which pitchers they were hit against. I’m not doing your work for you, and if you’re looking to make a case, you have to have some foundation for it other than “this” and “that”. Comparing their home run percentage at the Giants’ home park is in the same vein as disparaging OPS+, but you do it on the opposite end to support Braun and denigrate Posey and it’s absurd.
      You also conveniently ignore that Posey was a catcher playing for a team whose pitching is the key to their success and was the main bat in a popgun lineup, while Braun was an outfielder playing for a team that was a non-contender for the first 4 1/2 months of the season before a hot streak got them back into the conversation. Without Braun, the Brewers finish around 77-80 wins; without Posey, the Giants don’t make the playoffs.
      Perhaps in the eyes of a Brewers fan with an axe to grind against reality, Braun is the MVP, but in this case he’s not. He’s fourth behind Posey, McCutchen and Molina.

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