The National League Most Valuable Player voting results were revealed just now, live, on MLB Network.
Pirates centerfielder Andrew McCutchen was the winner, and deservedly so, but he plays for Pittsburgh.
The top three finishers (or “finalists” as they’re ridiculously called) were announced last week as (in alphabetical order by last name): Paul Goldschmidt, Andrew McCutchen, and Yadier Molina. Full results below.
This is a Milwaukee Brewers blog and, as such, let’s talk about who was honored with votes by the 30 members of the Baseball Writers Association of America who work in cities that are home to one of the NL ballclubs. That’s two voters per city, in case you didn’t know. This is the first time in quite a while (20 years, in fact) that the National League had only 15 teams and therefore only 30 voters.
Ballots allow for the inclusion of 10 names per voter. Votes are then tabulated and scored on a tiered value system where first place votes are worth 14 points with the rest following a reverse order from 9-1 respectively.
So, to brass tax.
With a total score of 43, Milwaukee Brewers centerfielder and 2013 NL Gold Glove award winner Carlos Gomez finished 9th overall in the National League.
Gomez received a total of 15 votes. Here’s how the individual votes breakdown:
1st Place Votes: 0 – 0 points
2nd Place Votes: 0 – 0 points
3rd: 0 – o points
4th: 0 – 0 points
5th: 1 – 6 points (Bill Brink – Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)
6th: 0 – 0 points
7th: 3 – 12 points
8th: 6 – 18 points
9th: 2 – 4 points
10th: 3 – 3 points
For the record, Milwaukee’s own Todd Rosiak and Tom Haudricourt voted the following ballots:
Rosiak: McCutchen, Goldschmidt, Carpenter, Molina, Freeman, Votto, Kershaw, Kimbrel, Bruce, Gomez
Haudricourt: McCutchen, Carpenter, Molina, Freeman, Goldschmidt, Bruce, Votto, Gonzalez, Kimbrel, Werth
Full results, voting breakdown, and voter’s ballots are available at the BBWAA’s official website page: http://bbwaa.com/13-nl-mvp/
Okay. I’m calm.
I ranted hard in this space not that long ago about how I’d feel if Ryan Braun were somehow voted outside of the Top 3 by anyone entrusted with submitting a ballot. (Four out of the 32 writers who voted on the award this year did position Braun fourth, but more on that later.)
In the end, logic and reason appear to have won the day over vengeance and retribution…at least on the surface they did.
The final and official results of the voting for the Most Valuable Player in the National League for the 2012 season found 27 first-place votes for the winner, San Francisco’s Buster Posey. Braun received three first-place votes, 15 second-place votes, 10 third-place votes and four fourth-place votes. That quick math adds up to 32 votes which means Braun did appear on all ballots cast. That’s a good thing for my sanity.
Unfortunately, the writers had a perfect foil to Braun’s candidacy.
Buster Posey led the San Francisco Giants to a NL West Division championship. He performed incredibly well down the stretch in pressure-filled games. He soldiered on after his teammate quite unceremoniously dropped the mantle of “best hitter” on the team when Melky Cabrera was suspended halfway through the season. Posey plays a defensive position which is normally considered more valuable than left field. 2010: Healthy Buster Posey, Giants win World Series. 2011: Injured Buster Posey, Giants miss playoffs. 2012: Healthy Buster Posey, Giants win division (by the time the ballots were due), Posey “wins” batting title.
When the Brewers fell short in their crusade to reach the postseason, it truly was a perfect storm against Braun.
But, like I’ve said many times throughout this off-season, I can understand a vote for Posey. It would have really tanned my hide had Braun not finished at least second. I’m quite pleased, though hardly happy or satisfied, that the majority of voters showed integrity in the ballots.
Do I think that some voters who supported Posey would have voted for Braun instead had these exact same seasons happened two years ago? I do. It would have been a much closer race without everything that happened last off-season. There is no question.
But again, other than trying to understand how you can vote Andrew McCutchen second and Ryan Braun fourth (as Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review did) as an example, I can’t muster the vitriol nor do I feel it necessary to organize an angry mob based on these results.
Ryan Braun has absolutely nothing to be ashamed of. His was a fantastic season, one which should have earned him the Hank Aaron Award, but also one which can be argued he finished appropriately in the vote measuring the subjective description of “value”.
Congratulations to Buster Posey. Congratulations to AL MVP Miguel Cabrera.
That said, 2013 is an entirely new campaign, one which will hopefully see Ryan Braun get even better.
I would also be remiss if I didn’t make mention of the face that Aramis Ramirez received enough votes to finish 9th overall in total points. Ramirez got one fifth-place vote, one sixth-place vote, four seventh-place, six eighths, and one ninth.
Congrats to Aramis Ramirez!
Of note, the Brewers were the only team to have two players finish in the Top 10 of voting.
If you follow me on Twitter this isn’t exactly breaking news. You’ll know that a few days ago, when Brian Kenney analyzed the “finalists” for the Most Valuable Player award in the National League, I tweeted that Kenney stated the metrics support Ryan Braun’s candidacy to repeat as NL MVP.
(Brian Kenney, of course, is the well-respected host of the fantastic show Clubhouse Confidential on MLB Network.)
He does that that he can see voting for Buster Posey or Yadier Molina for MVP, and could even understand a vote for Andrew McCutchen.
But if he actually had to vote, he would go with the guy who was the best power hitter, a plus base-runner, and a plus-defender.
Here are Kenney’s full comments and breakdown:
All that said, I still don’t expect Ryan Braun to be named as MVP tomorrow evening. Humans love narrative, they hate being embarrassed, and they love revenge. In this way, many baseball writers over the years have proven to be about as human as you can get.
Wednesday evening, MLB Network aired a show which laid out the “finalists” for the major awards in baseball as voted on by the Baseball Writers Association of America.
(Click here for my pre-show rant.)
On the show they revealed the “finalists” for the Cy Young, Rookie of the Year, Manager of the Year, and Most Valuable Player awards for each major league.
Five names were rattled off in alphabetical order by surname. Coming in with a “B” and first position was the reigning Most Valuable Player in the National League, Brewers left fielder Ryan Braun.
As I state in my aforementioned pre-show rant, it is assumed that the “finalists” for each award are simply the top vote-getters. If this is indeed the case, it means that some semblance of sanity has shown up in the pens of the baseball scribes of the National League. It means that Ryan Braun is in the top five.
On MLB Network’s broadcast, analyst Harold Reynolds (a former MLB player for the Seattle Mariners) stated that if you simply looked at the numbers that Ryan Braun should win the MVP for a second consecutive season. He also stated, however, that given Braun’s previous off-season along with everything that goes into voters deciding who to cast their vote for, the winner would be San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey.
I can understand that vote. What I wasn’t going to able to understand is if the collective somehow viewed Ryan Braun as outside of the Top 5, let alone the Top 10 (meaning that he received mention on every ballot cast).
Other than Braun and Posey, the “finalists” for NL MVP are: Chase Headley, Andrew McCutchen, and Yadier Molina.
Given that information, is there any doubt that Ryan Braun should finish outside the Top 2? Go ahead and leave a comment with your argument for anybody other than Posey finishing ahead of Braun and I’ll give you the staunch counterargument to your logic.
Bottom line is that while we may feel Braun deserves to win the award outright, that he is still assured a Top 5 finish is something of a surprise given the reasons I laid out in my rant piece.
But now? Now I’m greedy and I want Top 2.
For the sake of posterity, here are the finalists for the other awards including the Top 3in NL Rookie of the Year, which many of us hoped would include Norichika Aoki.
American League: David Price, Justin Verlander, Jered Weaver
National League: R.A. Dickey, Gio Gonzalez, Clayton Kershaw
Manager of the Year:
American League: Bob Melvin (A’s), Buck Showalter (Orioles), Robin Ventura (White Sox)
National League: Dusty Baker (Reds), Bruce Bochy (Giants), Davey Johnson (Nationals)
Rookie of the Year:
American League: Yoenis Cespedes, Yu Darvish, Mike Trout
National League: Todd Frazier, Bryce Harper, Wade Miley
American League: Adrian Beltre, Miguel Cabrera, Robinson Cano, Josh Hamilton, Mike Trout
For the first time in history, the Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA) will be announcing “finalists” for each of their Major League Baseball awards.
Before I go any further, allow me to explain why I put “finalists” in quotes. This is because it is widely believed that the “finalists” will simply be the top X number of vote-getters for each of the awards in question.
For example, each voting member of the BBWAA can fill out a ballot with up to 10 names on it for the Most Valuable Player in the league for which said member can vote. Cy Young has five name ballots, while Managers and Rookies of the Year awards are limited to ballots of three names each.
As for how many “finalists” will be announced, X=5 for MVP, and X=3 for Cy Youngs, Managers, and Rookies.
Okay, moving along to the point of this column.
If you heard my appearance on Brewers Weekly last week Thursday on the Brewers flagship radio station AM 620 WTMJ, you’ll know my feelings about this already. (If you missed it, you can find it here: http://wp.me/p1wIvV-98Ka) Regardless, allow me to expound on those feelings a bit further.
There are two voters in each Major League city who vote on these awards. For the National League, this last time, that means that 32 voters can cast a ballot for NL MVP, NL Cy Young, NL Manager of the Year and NL Rookie of the Year.
As stated on the BBWAA’s own website, points are awarded based on votes in the following way:
For all awards, there is a point system that is weighted by the spot on the ballot. For the MVP, a first-place vote is worth 14 points. From second to 10th, the ballot spots are worth 9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 points, respectively. For the Cy Young, the points are 7-4-3-2-1. For the Jackie Robinson Rookie of the Year and Manager of the Year, the points are 5-3-1.
In other words, the highest point total that any player can receive for Most Valuable Player is 448.
I could summarize point totals for a while, but getting on with it…
If the assumptions are correct and the “finalists” for MVP are simply the five players who received the five-highest point totals, I’ll spit nails if Ryan Braun isn’t announced as one of them.
As stated on the BBWAA’s website, here is the criteria to be considered when casting ballots for Most Valuable Player:
There is no clear-cut definition of what Most Valuable means. It is up to the individual voter to decide who was the Most Valuable Player in each league to his team. The MVP need not come from a division winner or other playoff qualifier.
The rules of the voting remain the same as they were written on the first ballot in 1931:
1. Actual value of a player to his team, that is, strength of offense and defense.
2. Number of games played.
3. General character, disposition, loyalty and effort.
4. Former winners are eligible.
5. Members of the committee may vote for more than one member of a team.
You are also urged to give serious consideration to all your selections, from 1 to 10. A 10th-place vote can influence the outcome of an election. You must fill in all 10 places on your ballot. Only regular-season performances are to be taken into consideration.
Keep in mind that all players are eligible for MVP, including pitchers and designated hitters.
As simplistically as I can state the following words, allow me to share with you the following:
There were not five players in the National League more valuable to their 2012 teams in the regular season than Ryan Braun was to the 2012 regular season Milwaukee Brewers.
(I originally hadn’t included “regular season” in either position in the previous, but wanted to do so to remind us all that play in the post-season cannot be included when considering any balloting because ballots must be cast prior to the post-season.)
As I also said during my Brewers Weekly appearance, I can accept (even though disagree with) arguments supporting Buster Posey for MVP. You can even make reasoned arguments for players like Matt Holliday, or Andrew McCutchen for example. You cannot name five players more valuable than Braun, however.
Therefore, should Ryan Braun’s name not be listed among those called out as the five “finalists” for NL MVP this evening, I shall be, as gently as I can relate, put…out.
Furthermore, when full balloting is ultimately revealed we will learn how many votes in each position each player received. This will occur next week Thursday, November 15th when the award winners are revealed. At that time, if I can’t add up Braun’s votes to 32 regardless of where on a ballot he fell, I will be more than a little bit miffed.
Look, I’m not a fool nor am I some naive fanboy blinded by love. I understand that there are likely to be several pompous, arrogant, and oblivious windbags who feel that they are protecting some pristine award from the filth of dirty, dirty cheaters by penalizing Braun for leaked reports of a failed test which was overturned on appeal based on the sample tested being scientifically invalid.
But I would like to be able to believe that penalizing Braun won’t interfere in their own professionalism to their craft and their responsibility to vote results on the field and circumstances that certainly occurred instead of things based on fallible reports from a season ago.
Let’s wait and see together as we learn all about Braun’s fate over the next eight days.
With the second “half” of the baseball season finally getting underway tomorrow, many columnists hand out awards for the first half. You can call it “lazy” or “overdone” or “cliche” if you want to, but I was asked who I would give out first half awards to both league-wide and for the Brewers so I decided to write it up.
I will name recipients of awards for the American League, National League, and Milwaukee Brewers in each of the following categories:
- Cy Young
- Rookie of the Half
I fully realize that some of these will be obvious selections, but I’ll name them all the same.
I know that I primarily write about the National League and specifically the Brewers, but I do have a dog in the AL fight each year. If you know me personally or follow along on the Twitter account (@BrewerNation) you probably know which team it is.
That little disclaimer just means that I do follow all of baseball and not just the Brewers.
Okay, on to “bidness”…
MVP – Paul Konerko
I realize that the chic pick is Mike Trout of the The Angels Angels of Anaheim, and there are great arguments to that end. The Angels starting winning when he was called up, he’s a catalyst, a game-changer on both sides of the ball, and really has sparked a team that sat double-digit games behind the Texas Rangers in the AL West very quickly this year.
But Konerko, the face of the Chicago White Sox franchise, is carrying his team in a way nobody at the age of 36 is supposed to be able to do anymore.
Posting at or near career-best paces in several offensive categories, Konerko has led his team to a 47-38 record, good for a three-game lead in the AL Central over the surprising Cleveland Indians.
He’ll truly be deserving of the award if he can help the White Sox maintain that lead throughout the balance of the year, especially seeing as how it appears that Detroit is about to make a run and they only sit 3.5 games back.
But for now, for the first “half”, Konerko gets my vote not only because of the standings of the team, and his individual numbers, but his leadership is making a major difference for a squad being led by rookie manager Robin Ventura.
One key example? The White Sox do a lot of infield practice, something that rarely happens at all let alone consistently any more with big league clubs during the season. If Konerko had played the “veteran” card and told Ventura to stick it, it would have greatly impacted the clubhouse unity and morale. Konerko bought in, his teammates no doubt saw that the 36-year-old veteran bought in, and they started busting ass too.
That’d be one of the “intangibles” you read about so many people disregarding these days.
Cy Young – Justin Verlander
I don’t think this pick needs as much explanation as the Konerko one maybe did, but I’ll justify it thusly…
Verlander is still the pitcher I feel gives his team the best chance to win every time he’s on the mound.
His record is…something that won’t be considered here.
Something that need noticing, however, are that he leads the Majors in starts of eight or more innings. That not only means he’s pitching well enough to stay in the game, but it means that the Detroit bullpen gets many nights mostly off. Limiting innings of your bullpen has been a factor in the success of many teams over the years. Verlander already has five complete games, more than any other full season of his career.
His K% is solid, his WHIP is a pretty spectacular 0.95, he leads MLB in WAR for pitchers, he’s got the highest WPA of all starters (second to only the Orioles closer), he’s all over the Top 10s of different statistical pitching categories.
To put it simply, I’ll reiterate what I said earlier. He’s got the best chance to help his team win when he toes the rubber.
Rookie of the Half – Mike Trout
All those things I said above when commenting on Konerko over Trout for MVP? Yeah, they earn Trout this distinction pretty easily.
He’s a dynamo and appears, at least very early on, to have the potential to be one of those special players that you’re going to want to see play live just so you can say you did.
This guy was highly-touted for a reason and he’s exceeding even the most glowing projections for himself to this point. He’ll likely cool off some during the second half, but chances are that he’ll still be plenty valuable when it’s all said and done in October.
MVP – Andrew McCutchen
This came down to the fact that McCutchen’s Pittsburgh Pirates are leading Joey Votto’s Cincinnati Reds in the NL Central Division.
Both had an uh-may-zing first “half” at the plate. If you compare their stat lines, they look like this:
McCutchen: .362/.414/.625, 309 AB, 112 H, 58 R, 17 doubles, 5 triples, 18 HR, 60 RBI, 14 SB, 28 BB, 185 OPS+
Votto: .348/.471/.617, 287 AB, 100 H, 50 R, 35 doubles, 0 triples, 14 HR, 48 RBI, 5 SB, 64 BB, 186 OPS+
Those are pretty darn evenly-matched players. McCutchen plays the more valuable defensive position (though he’s hardly elite in the outfield) and he has much less help than Votto does.
Lastly, while the Pirates were in first place even later last year (it finally fell apart for them on July 25th), this year has a much different feel to it. McCutchen’s elevated play is a massive part of that change.
Cy Young – R.A. Dickey
There are several worthy candidates for this award. Several have better numbers in various categories, but the fact that a knuckleballer is even in this conversation is awesome to me.
I know that Dickey didn’t pitch spectacularly in two of his final three starts prior to the break but even with those 11 earned runs in 13 innings, he finished the half with a 2.40 ERA (it was 2.00 flat before that hiccup of a stretch).
He’s doing things that nobody in this younger demographic of baseball fans has seen a knuckleballer do. That’s awesome, and worthy of adulation.
Rookie of the Half – Bryce Harper
With apologies to Norichika Aoki who has posted strikingly similar numbers to Harper in several categories, this is a 19-year-old phenom doing this at the highest level of his sport. Is there a significant slump on the horizon? Perhaps but regardless of that, this is an award for the first half.
Harper has done more than enough to earn this award, and it’s merely amplified that he’s doing it at 19. Aoki is a 30-year-old former multiple-time batting champion of the Japanese league. He’s got a touch more experience even if he’s excelling in a new country and league.
The Washington Nationals outfielder has posted a .282/.354/.472 slash line and posted an OPS+ of 123 to this point. Yes he needs to improve his patience at the plate and some of his ratios, but he’s got a lot of room and time to keep getting better.
My favorite reason to give Harper this award? He plays the game so hard each and every day. He’s got a passion, drive, and commitment to chasing excellence on the baseball field. He’s enjoyable to watch.
To preemptively state the obvious, if you need extensive explanations about why I chose these players for these respective awards, then you haven’t been paying very close attention to the team this year. That’s okay, but it’s also confusing that you’d be here reading this in the first place, if I’m being honest.
Then again, you are reading it so here are the who and the how come…
MVP – Ryan Braun
As a player that could be included in discussions regarding league MVP, he’s an easy — if obvious — choice here. Braun has been amazing this season, posting numbers in several offensive categories that are better than last year…when he actually did win the league MVP Award for the full season.
The main difference? Team success. Many people say that shouldn’t make a difference, but it does to me and to plenty of other people including Braun himself.
Cy Young – Zack Greinke
With an honorable mention needing to go to Mike Fiers here for what he’s done in just seven starts, this award belongs to Zack Greinke. He’s answered the bell from Round 1 this year and has posted the strongest numbers on the team over the larger sample size.
Believe me, Fiers got serious consideration from me because of just how good he’s been able to be since his promotion, but he didn’t do it enough.
There’s a lot going on with Greinke right now, including his being on the precipice of tying a MLB record, but his first half was the best on the team.
Rookie of the Half – Norichika Aoki
Remember a little while ago when I said that Aoki has posted some similar numbers to Bryce Harper? Well, he has. And while not enough to overtake Harper as my league-wide award recipient, it’s plenty to be recognized as the top rookie on the team so far in 2012.
Aoki came with an incredible pedigree when the Brewers signed him away from his team in Japan. (Those accolades can be found on the blog if you’re interested.) The question was how Aoki would adapt to the play and pitchers of Major League Baseball.
After primarily coming off the bench to begin the year and struggling while doing so, Ron Roenicke had a talk with Aoki about his preparation and his play has been much improved since.
At this rate, he’ll be in the league’s ROTY discussion in September, and run away and hide with the Brewers’ team accolade.
Congratulations to all the award recipients! Here’s to a second “half” that rivals the first for all of them…except McCutchen, of course, because the Brewers are chasing them in the division so a drop off in his production would help the Brewers out.