Brewers in the postseason? Ryan Braun a second MVP?

Aramis Ramirez (left) and Ryan Braun are low-fivin’ the Brewers into playoff contention. (Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)

With only two weeks left in the season, the discussions about MVP and Cy Young awards are beginning to heat up. Recent debates revolve around whether or not Ryan Braun should be allowed to win the MVP after his offseason battle in court on suspicion of using performance enhancing drugs.

While Braun is just sitting back and letting his statistic speak for themselves, the Milwaukee Brewers have found their way back into this playoff hunt. As of Tuesday, they sit two and a half games out of the second wild card spot behind the St. Louis Cardinals and the L.A. Dodgers.

They’re tied with the Pittsburgh Pirates with a record of 74-72, but those two teams seem to be going in different directions.

After a seven-game losing streak in July, the Brewers have won 30 games and lost only 18. And they’ve really been hot over their past 26 games going 20-6.

There are a lot of reasons the Brewers have turned things around in the second half, but one of the most important pieces has been offseason acquisition Aramis Ramirez. Known for being a slow starter, A-Ram hit .272 before the All-Star break with 10 home runs and 52 RBIs. Since then, he’s posted a .332 batting average, hit 14 home runs and driven in 40.

An even more drastic change from the first to second half has come from Rickie Weeks. The second baseman had a horrible start to the season, batting just under .200 before the break with eight home runs and 29 RBIs. In the second half, he’s hit .272, raising his overall average to .231, and he’s added 12 home runs and 30 RBIs.

Until a recent injury, Corey Hart was also a big part of this lineup with his 27 home runs on the season to go along with 77 RBIs and a .278 average.

The bullpen has still been a problem, and the starting pitching hasn’t done anything spectacular. Marco Estrada (3.56), Yovani Gallardo (3.69) and Mike Fiers (3.86) all have posted ERAs under four since the break, but those numbers aren’t anything to get excited about.

But Braun is the man in Milwaukee, and if the Brewers make the playoffs, it’s going to be hard for voters not to give him his second straight MVP award. Forget the offseason issues. For all we know, the guy is clean. Until he comes out and says otherwise, we have to address the situation as if he is clean.

Braun currently holds a .312 average (fifth in the NL) with 40 home runs (first in the NL) and 103 RBIs (second in the NL). With Andrew McCutchen having a disappointing second half and the Pirates fading, the only real competition Braun has at this point is Buster Posey, who has put up crazy numbers the past few months. If the Brewers don’t make the playoffs, I think Posey’s a shoe-in to win it.

But, if by some miracle the Brewers are able to catch the Cardinals for that last wild card spot and finish with a decent record, which many people thought would be impossible after losing Prince Fielder, then, to me, you can’t argue with Braun’s numbers and the Brewers’ second-half success. As much as it will pain many fans, Braun may be the National League Most Valuable Player, and, quite frankly, I would agree.


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  1. Look at what Posey has been doing since Melky has been suspended. His second half numbers are ridiculous. I think everyone agrees that Braun should win, just pointing out that Posey is a legit contender for the award.

  2. Posey? Seriously? All this BS about how Posey plays a harder position. He’s an average defender at best. He’s given up 80 stolen bases this season. If we’re going to look at a catcher that’s deserving, Yadier Molina has almost the same numbers as Posey, and is actually really good defensively.

    And if we’re going to take votes away from Braun because of what he “might” have done (and again, he WON his appeal)….we’re not going to penalize Posey hitting behind Melky Cabrera all season, a guy that DID get suspended for PED. How many extra RBI did Posey get cause the Milk Man was on drugs? Nobody’s talking about that.

    Braun has had a vastly superior season to Posey. Fangraphs has Braun with a 7.5 WAR, and Posey a 7.2 (which includes a bonus for playing catcher). Braun is about to become the second player in MLB history to hit 40 HR, steal 30 bases, and lead the league in RBI (the first was Hank Aaron in 1963).

    Posey? Come on. This isn’t the award for the “best player on a playoff team”. This is the MVP, and Braun’s leading the NL in HR, RBI, SLG, OPS, isolated power, secondary average, total bases and extra base hits. What does Posey lead the league in besides stolen bases allowed? Nothing.

  3. Good responses. And thanks as always.

    I also think Posey is the winner at this point. He’s hitting .390 with 12 home runs, 51 RBIs and a .467 OBP since the break as the Giants have taken over the NL West.

    But the more I think about it, Braun having a huge season only helps his case that he didn’t use any performance enhancing drugs. And I thought a lot of his numbers last year were helped by Prince hitting behind him, but he’s proven he can hit without that protection.

    Like I said, if the Brewers make the postseason Braun should win the award. But Posey is well deserving too.

  4. Posey is a pretty good candidate. Also, while I believe Braun deserves the award, I do think some writers will look the other way, especially the old school purists. In the end, I still think enough will vote for him to get the award.

  5. If Braun was using PEDs last year, chances are pretty darn good he isn’t this year, and he’s having an even better season. To have a better season off PEDs than one on (allegedly) is even more impressive. Unfortunately, the NL has no other legitimate contender besides McCutchen, who has sputtered in the second half instead of dominating. The writers who don’t vote for him based on their assumptions are not being fair to the sport. Innocent until proven guilty, yes? And I’m not a Brewers or Braun fan. Braun deserves to win if he finishes strong and, especially, if the Brewers make the wild card.

  6. no chance. Even if the Brewers make the playoffs and Braun hits .320 with 45 homers and 30 steals. He’ll probably finish 3rd. Some writers will not vote for him at all knowing he got off a 50-game suspension for this season on a technicality.

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