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For Ryan Braun, Pay Back is a Bitch – No NL MVP in 2012

Mike Cardano Senior Fantasy Analyst September 25, 2012 7:53AM EDT

Braun won't be celebrating this time around...

Can Ryan Braun win a second consecutive NL MVP? The leading candidates are Andrew McCutchen, Buster Posey and Braun in one of the closest three way races in recent memory.

The Pittsburgh Pirates have faded to under .500 at 75-78 and are now 5 ½ games out of an NL Wild Card spot with just nine games left to play. While that may not be McCutchen’s fault, that hurts his candidacy quite a bit because it’s not like he was a great player on a bad team. The Pirates were a good team most of the season and then faded.

For my money, what Buster Posey has done pacing the San Francisco Giants, particularly since Melky Cabrera was sent to PED jail, may be the most impressive. Throw in the fact that he’s has to deal with the rigors of the catching position and that makes it all that more impressive. The fact that he trails the others in home runs and runs scored can also be attributed in part to the catching position. Consider the fact that both McCutchen and Braun have 559 at bats and Posey has just 503 as catchers just can’t play in every single game because of the stresses of the position.

Then there’s Braun… Last year’s controversial MVP leads in HR’s, RBI and SB’s. He’s just three off the pace for the lead in RS and just percentage points away in BA. Can they give the MVP to a guy known to have taken PED’s last season and gotten away with it on a technicality? Does taking steroids last season help your body going forward in any way? Is he still juicing? Even if it’s assumed that he’s not, do they just not give it to him this time because they couldn’t take it away from him last time even though they wanted too?

Based on the pure numbers Braun is having the best season, but the only way Braun can win is if the Milwaukee Brewers make a miraculous push and win a Wild Card spot. Consider the fact that they are tied with the Los Angeles Dodgers 3 ½-games out with nine games to play and that scenario isn’t the most realistic of outcomes.

In the end, sports writers will go out of their way not to give it to Braun unless they absolutely have to based on the last week of play. Buster Posey will likely be this year’s NL MVP.

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