SIX STATS you might not know about… Ryan Braun’s 2011 N.L. MVP award
“SIX STATS…” is a bonus feature of Sports Stats ‘on Tapp’ and is published every Friday.
With all the excitement about the Packers unbeaten season and the Wisconsin Badgers football team’s journey to the postseason, haven’t had an appropriate tribute to Ryan Braun‘s National League MVP honor. Here’s a look at some of the stats behind the honor.
1. Braun and Prince Fielder became the first teammates since 2000 to finish in the top 3 in the National League MVP balloting (Jeff Kent and Barry Bonds of the San Francisco Giants finished 1-2 in the 2000 NL MVP Award.) Twenty-three sets of teammates have finished in the Top 3 of A.L. or N.L. MVP balloting since 1970. The last American League duo was New York’s Mark Teixeira and Derek Jeter who finished 2-3 in 2009.
2. This was the first year in Major League history that the two winners of the MVP awards were former Rookie of the Year recipients. Braun was N.L. ROY in 2007; Justin Verlander was A.L. ROY in 2006.
3. As noted above, Braun was N.L. ROY in 2007. The A.L. ROY that year was Boston’s Dustin Pedroia. Braun won the N.L. MVP this year, Pedroia was A.L. MVP in 2008. This is the first time in baseball history that two Rookie of the Years from the same year have both gone on to win an MVP award.
4. Braun became the 22nd player in baseball history to win a Rookie of the Year award and a league MVP honor. Of the 22 players who have accomplished this feat, nine are currently in baseball’s Hall of Fame: Jackie Robinson, Willie Mays, Frank Robinson, Orlando Cepeda, Billy Williams, Rod Carew, Johnny Bench, Andre Dawson and Cal Ripken, Jr. Of those 22 players, 14 of them won their MVP award within five years of winning their ROY honor. Both Braun and Verlander joined that group this year.
5. Since 2007 when Braun began his major league career, he has received votes for the league MVP each of the five years of his five-year MLB career. The only other players to have received MVP votes in each of the past five years are: Ryan Howard, Albert Pujols, Miguel Cabrera and Adrian Gonzalez.
6. Braun became the fourth Brewers player to finish in the Top 5 of the league MVP in two or more seasons. Can you name the other three players? Braun finished in the Top 5 of the league MVP in 2008 and 2011; Fielder finished in the Top 5 in 2007, 2009 and 2011; Robin Yount in 1982 and 1989 (he won the award both years) and Cecil Cooper, who finished in the Top 5 in 1980, 1982 and 1983.
Where does Albert Pujols rank among baseball’s all-time greatest hitters?
Sports Stats ‘on Tapp’ is a biweekly blog that is published every Wednesday and Friday with a bonus “SIX STATS…” posting every Friday.
With his three HRs in Game Three of the World Series, St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols continues to build an impressive resume that will likely get him into baseball’s Hall of Fame five years after his retirement. He has won three National League MVP awards (and finished second in the balloting three times), was the N.L. Rookie of the Year in 2001, and has been selected to nine N.L. All-Star teams.
But here’s the question: Where does Pujols rank among baseball’s all-time greatest hitters? Consider… a .328 career batting average, 445 homers and 100 or more RBIs in ten of his 11 seasons. Great credentials and numbers!
Let me offer the following criteria to analyze Pujols and how he compares with the other great hitters in the game’s history. My definition of a great hitter would include a player who hits for a high average, someone who hits for power, and a hitter with a great eye at the plate. To quantify what I just said, let’s look at how many hitters have accomplished the following in a season (Why the following criteria? It’s my blog!):
* Hit .300 or better
* Hit 30 or more home runs
* Walk 100 or more times
* Strike out less than 100 times.
With these numbers as a definition of a player who had a “great hitter” season, we see that only 28 players have had one or more “great hitter” seasons in major league history. In fact, this year only one player met the above criteria: Miguel Cabrera of the Detroit Tigers. Cabrera hit .344, slugged 30 home runs, walked 108 times and struck out 89 times.
Following are the players in baseball history who had one or more seasons where they batted over .300, hit 30 or more HRs, walked 100 or more times, and had less than 100 strikeouts.
‘Great Hitter’ Seasons, Player
11….. Babe Ruth
9….. Lou Gehrig, Barry Bonds
8….. Ted Williams
5….. Jimmie Foxx, Frank Thomas
4….. Mel Ott, Mickey Mantle
3….. Stan Musial, Gary Sheffield, Albert Pujols
2….. Ralph Kiner, Jason Giambi, Todd Helton
1….. Hack Wilson, Hank Greenberg, Duke Snider, Norm Cash, Willie McCovey, Carl Yastrzemski, Reggie Smith, George Brett, Dwight Evans, Jeff Bagwell, Chipper Jones, Brian Giles, Luis Gonzales
There’s no doubt that Pujols is one of the game’s greatest players and is definitely one of its great hitters. Exactly where does he rank among the greatest hitters? You be the judge! In fact, send me your ranking of your three greatest hitters in major league history. We’ll see how the voting plays out.