Over at the Sporting News, David Whitley is talking Ryan Braun up as an MVP candidate:
…. His stats after Sunday: 40 homers, 103 RBI, a .312 batting average and a couple million skeptics. There’s still suspicion, so much that last year’s MVP might not even finish in the top five this season. But at this point, what more can Braun do? He was cleared by the system. The whole thing was supposed to be confidential to begin with, but Braun’s name was leaked.
That was the first step in a good name going bad. The only way to get it back was to play like the Braun of old. Players may lie, but numbers don’t. Braun not only sounds like an innocent man, he’s hitting like one.
First of all, I’m just wondering when somebody’s gonna start talking about Buster Posey’s MVP claim. You know what, I’ll get back to that in a minute. With all due respect to Braun’s productivity, how in God’s name can any sportswriter sit there and champion a man who just failed a drug test with what was characterized as an “insane high” level of testosterone; after all of the sanctimonious posturing and protecting the children these writers have been guilty of these last ten years, after all the negative, smear campaigns against these guys? Now they’re gonna just
forget about it because he’s a nice guy? Are they kidding somebody?
They drummed Barry Bonds (only one of the five best baseball players of all time) out of baseball because he failed a PED test and the results were leaked… how is this any different? Why, because Bonds was a dick? Bullshit. If they give Braun the award, their hypocrisy will have reached a new low. For crying out loud, there was even talk about taking away Braun’s MVP award at one point. Now, because he’s hit 40 home runs for a team that has the seventh best record in the NL (74-72), he’s gonna win it again? And you know what, forget about the writers. They’ve already revealed themselves as the pandering, march in lock step, keepers of the flame over this last, disgraceful decade. No, it’s the editors, the television producers, and, of course, the members of baseball’s management and ownership that have really shamed themselves. After cowardly allowing players like Bonds, McGwire, Palmiero and Sosa to be blackballed, smeared, shamed and painted as villians for so long, they have set themselves up to face this kind of controversy, and controversial it will be if Braun wins it again.
I don’t give a rat’s ass if he won his appeal. If you run Bonds out of town on a rail, if you talk about erasing him from the record books; you simply cannot vote for Ryan Braun for MVP ever again. I’m sorry, but you can’t have it both ways. And anyway, look, if he was such an obvious choice, a no questions asked, you can’t deny it superstar, like Bonds was those last four seasons, fine. What are you gonna do, ignore reality?
But the Giants are sitting here with an everyday catcher who’s gonna finish with 25 home runs, 100 RBI, a .300/.400/.500 .900+ OPS, who’s probably gonna lead the league in wins above replacement, and has just come back from a career-ending injury last season AND has led his team to the brink of a runaway NL West title (84-63, 8.5 game lead with 16 game left). I mean, come on?
It’s no contest. McCutcheon and Braun and Posey all have about six and half WAR, all three have great numbers; but Posey’s been doing it the whole second half, runnning out a staggering .392/.466/.656 1.121 OPS since the All Star break, while averaging an RBI per game as a catcher. That 1.121 post All Star OPS in .147 points better than the number two guy, and did I mention that he’s a catcher? He’s the one that supposed to be breaking down. Instead, he’s surging, carrying his team leading the NL in hits (what?!?) Apparently, after the season-ending suspension of Melky Cabrera –only the league leader in hits and multi hit games– Posey decided that he would lead the league in hits in the second half.
No, I’m sorry, but Ryan Braun is not the MVP. Buster Posey has been the most valuable player in the NL this season, period.
UPDATE: Well, yeah, I am bitter. I’m bitter about the treatment of Bonds, I’m bitter about the hypocrisy that’s ruining our country over the “War on Drugs” and I’m bitter about the SF Giants being virtually ignored by the MSM.
That said, I wrote about Melky’s sad and stupid positive test before, and I guess I left it out of this piece because it has nothing to do with it.
Braun’s numbers are inflated by his home park, and Posey’s are deflated by his.
Here are their road numbers side by side:
Braun .313/.381/.556 .937 OPS 15 2B 16 HR 45 RBI
Posey .323/.394/.569 .963 OPS 18 2B 16 HR 59 RBI
Again, Posey is the best hitter in the league since the All Star break, and it’s not even close:
Braun .323/.385/.604 .990 OPS 16 2B 16 HR 43 RBI
Posey .388/.466/.650 1.116 OPS 20 2B 12 HR 50 RBI
Sure. Braun’s gonna hit 40 home runs. 24 of them came at Miller Park, a great place to hit. Posey’s got 6 home runs at AT&T Park, an absolute graveyard for home runs. Side by side, Posey’s had a better year away from home, a more accurate representation of his true abilities, and he’s had a better second half, pretty much carrying his team to the brink of an NL West title.