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And my NL MVP goes to ...
November 15, 2012 - Andy Heintz
While the AL MVP race may be closest race ever, the NL MVP race will be close or a different reason. Parity. There are so many worthy candidates this year that voters may go a lot of different ways. It will be interesting to see how things shake up. There are several players who deserve recognition but did not make my top three and those athletes include Jay Bruce, Yadier Molina, Adam LaRoche and Chase Headley. Here are my top three NL MVP candidates for the 2012 season.
3. Andrew McCutchen
Early in the season, the Pirates were winning and McCutchen was a clear-cut favorite along with Joey Votto of the Cincinnati Reds. Votto wound up missing three months of the season and the Pirates ended up falling way back in the standings, but McCutchen still had a brilliant season in all phases. He was second in the NL in batting average at .327 and runs scored at 107 and was a 20-20 man with 31 home runs and 20 stolen bases. And getting 96 RBIs from the top of the order also is impressive. Anytime a guy with McCutchen’s speed has a slugging percentage nearly the .600 mark, you know he had a pretty dominant season. The OPS also was .987 and his on base percentage was among the league leaders at .400.
2. Ryan Braun
After an offseason of doubt that saw Braun nearly suspended for performance-enhancing drugs people will speculate from now on if the reigning MVP is in fact doping. He may have gotten off on a technicality as well so the doubt still looms. However, he had another MVP season with 41 home runs and 112 RBIs – both NL highs – as well as 30 stolen bases and 108 runs scored. His batting average of .319 was among the league leaders and he got on base with a high percentage. I can’t give him the MVP because I still have doubt about doping and because he did not lead his team to the playoffs as all these numbers did what garner a third-place finish in the division.
1. Buster Posey
Mark me down as being one of the biggest Buster Posey fans in the world. I am not a fan of the Giants and most of their players but not many players in the league handle themselves with more class than Posey, and he is a fantastic baseball player to boot. He led the major leagues in batting average at .336, finished with 24 home runs and 103 RBIs and is one of the best at his position defensively in the game. He had the highest on base percentage among eligible hitters in the league at .408 and his slugging percentage was .549 and OPS hit .957. He also was the only one of the top candidates to strikeout less than 100 times and he also mashed 39 doubles. I wouldn’t be stunned if Braun repeated but to me nobody was more valuable to their team than Posey. You want more proof? In the last three seasons, the Giants have won two World Series titles. The one season they did not win it, Posey was lost for the season with an injury.
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