Welcome to the ESPN Wisconsin Roundtable, where our panel of on-air experts discuss the hot sports topics of the moment. Feel free to chime in with your thoughts via the Facebook portal at the bottom of the page. If you’d like to suggest a topic for a future debate, send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
This week’s question: Will Brewers leftfielder Ryan Braun win the National League MVP award?
Lance Davis, ESPN Milwaukee program director
Braun won't win the MVP because the voters don't want him to win it. It's not fair, but the offseason controversy will swing the vote. Braun's numbers were good enough to win, but it won't happen. I'd vote for Braun as MVP.
Steve Haywood, ESPN Milwaukee
The MVP award this year it will go to Buster Posey, not just because he helped the Giants win the NL West over the loaded Dodgers, but also because he came off injury, played catcher and picked up the pace after Melky Cabrera’s suspension. Even through Braun put up similar numbers, the Brewers were third in their division and Braun had his off-season factors, too.
Homer, “Homer and Thunder”
Braun has absolutely no chance to win MVP. He should be the MVP, but some writers feel like they got duped last season, so they can't look at the voting logically. Last season should have nothing to do with this season, but it will. I can't defend the logic, but I know it exists.
Tom Lea, ESPN Wisconsin
If the Brewers didn’t have Ryan Braun this year they’d have had no chance to make the playoffs and wouldn’t have finished with a winning record. Then again, they didn’t make the playoffs and that’s why I think it’s going to Buster Posey.
Posey not only helped his team to the postseason, but he helped the Giants win their second World Series title in three seasons. (Voting is completed before the postseason begins). This award usually goes to the player on the better team (see 2011). Sure, Ryan Braun had great numbers. I understand. But I also understand how this award tends to be awarded.
If it’s called “most valuable,” how can you argue about a team that won it all with it’s best player contributing? Buster Posey deserves it just as much as Ryan Braun does.
Dan Needles, “The D-List”
I don't think Ryan Braun will win the NL MVP award. I think he will finish third behind Buster Posey and Andrew McCutcheon. I think there is an obvious "blowback" from what happened last offseason, and I think that has already been shown in the voting for the Hank Aaron award and the Gold Glove award.
Gabe Neitzel, ESPN Wisconsin
There is no way Braun will win the MVP. There are too many things working against him this season. First of all, the Brewers missed out on the playoffs. If last year taught us anything, that is a huge factor. Matt Kemp probably had better numbers when it was all said and done, but because the Dodgers missed out on the post season last year, Braun won.
Braun has better numbers than Buster Posey this season, but because the Giants were a playoff team, Braun won't win. If that wasn't enough of an uphill battle, there is still the whole PED cloud over Braun. There have been multiple ESPN baseball guys who have said this year that they know some people won't even put Braun on the ballot. While Braun should probably be second behind Posey in the voting, he may finish outside the top three.
Mitch “Thunder” Nelles, “Homer and Thunder”
No. There's still an agenda by d-bag sports writers who think they are bigger than the sport. So Ryan has no shot.
Drew Olson, “The D-List”
I don’t have a vote for MVP this year. (My ballot was for Cy Young). If I did have an MVP ballot, it would go to Braun. That’s not a “hometown” call. I think he was the best player in the league. While I think at least a portion of the voters will use Braun’s off-season drug testing woes as justification for moving him down the ballot, I think that is as wrong as last year, when voters penalized Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp for playing on a team that didn’t make the playoffs. I said last year that Kemp deserved the award an he got jobbed by the electorate. This year, Braun deserves it and he’s going to get jobbed, too. Maybe things in life really do even out.
Jim Rutledge, “The Jump Around”
Braun may have deserved it more this year than he did last year, but this year his team was on the outside looking in at the playoffs meanwhile my projected winner, Buster Posey, had a great season on a great team. The numbers lean toward Braun except when you factor in that Posey spent the season at a much more taxing defensive position, catcher, than Braun, outfield.
Matt Salmon, “The D-List” and “The Saturday Ticket”
I think it will be Posey because of his great year, a wide open race and the closest competition is Braun, who won't get first-place votes due to his offseason saga. I think Braun will have the most second-place votes, which will help if 1st place votes are split amongst Posey and others.
Jason Wilde, ESPN Wisconsin
Braun won’t win, but he should. When you think about the way the Brewers rallied from their disappointing start to be in the playoff conversation, when you consider that his numbers were almost exactly the same as they were when he won the MVP and were almost exactly the same as when he was supposedly -- according to MLB -- using perfromance-enhancers.
2011: 150 games, 629 plate appearances, 563 at bats, 109 runs, 187 hits, 38 doubles, 6 triples, 33 home runs, 111 RBI, 33 stolen bases, .332 BA,.397 OBP, .597 SLG, .994 OPS.
2012: 154 games, 677 plate appearances, 598 at bats, 108 runs, 191 hits, 36 doubles, 3 triples, 41 home runs, 112 RBI, 30 stolen bases, .319 BA, .391 OBP, .595 SLG, .987 OPS.