Murder. Rape. Announcing regular season awards during the playoffs. 3 crimes, all of equal importance. Since we enjoy our non-prison lifestyle, here are the winners of the 2011 MLB Mambinos!
National League Most Valuable Player: Ryan Braun
Runners-up: Prince Fielder, Albert Pujols, Matt Kemp (KOBEsh’s pick)
KOBEsh: I’m 27 years old, and I still don’t know what “Most Valuable” means. I hear different arguments from a everyone. I’ve heard that the MVP has to be which player from a playoff or near-playoff team brings the most value. The Simmons-ian argument is “If you had to start your team and win in 2011, who would you pick?”. You could also go with the sabermetric argument and decide which player brings the most wins above a league average replacement player (otherwise known as WAR).
I go with a slightly different and even more crude argument; it’s the “which player would your team be MOST screwed if you didn’t have him?” In other words, if you subtracted that one guy’s skills, leadership and other intangibles from that guy’s team, which guy would leave his team the most devastated?
By my count, there’s no man in the National League who would leave his team in worse shape by going AWOL than Matt Kemp. As I detailed a few weeks ago, he has dragged a team full of overpaid stiffs, injury wracked veterans and inexperienced rookies to a winning record. Somehow he has thrown up numbers that rank in the top 3 in average, slugging, OPS, homers, RBI, runs scored, steals, wins above replacement, intentional walks and total bases despite being surrounded by a band of underachievers, has beens and never was..es. His leadership and incredibly consistent play (both offensively and defensively – don’t forget that last part) have kept this team from losing 95 games.
Prince and the Hebrew Hammer have had incredible years, but if you were to take one of them off of that team, they still would contend for the NL Central title. More importantly, the difference Kemp makes on the defensive end is miles ahead of where both Brewers candidates are.
Pujols is a robot. I am going to cut and paste this section every year, because he rightfully should have a perennial spot in the top five for MVP voting. Upton, similar to Kemp in performance but not necessarily in numbers, has taken an otherwise feeble offense on his back and led them to respectability and an NL West title.
BockKnock: Matt Kemp is the National League Player of the Year. He’s not the MVP. Yeah, the Dodgers would be so much worse without him, but guess what? Being third in the NL West is the same thing as being fifth in the NL West. Both of those teams won’t play in October, and that’s all that matters.
I disagree with the Boss. You can’t assume that the Brew Crew would contend for the Central Division title if they lose Ryan Braun. Losing a middle of the order hitter who is the face of a franchise has effects on the rest of the team that are unmeasurable. It’s kind of like when you plan a college reunion with your buddies, and one of them can’t go. Not only does everyone know the trip won’t be the same, but there will be little reminders of it along the way that everyone doesn’t expect.
American League Most Valuable Player: Curtis Granderson
Runners-Up: Justin Verlander (KOBEsh’s pick), Miguel Cabrera (BockKnock’s pick), Jose Bautista
K: Which player would your team be MOST screwed if you didn’t have him? In the American League, that’s got to be Justin Verlander.