Over the course of the club’s 42 years of existence, the Milwaukee Brewers have become one of the most successful organizations in developing young prospects through their minor league system. Prince Fielder, Rickie Weeks, Corey Hart, Jonathan Lucroy and John Axford are all quintessential models of drafting excellence in Milwaukee.
However, there is one player who stands out more so than any other prospect in the franchise’s framework: Ryan Braun.
Upon making his Major League debut back in 2007, Milwaukee’s most admired left-fielder has gone on to accomplish many noteworthy achievements, some of which have gone relatively unnoticed until recently. In fact, his rookie year alone (which would not start until nearly two months into the season) would bring about much national attention. Finishing his rookie campaign batting .324 with 34 HR and 97 RBI, Braun was named the NL Rookie of the Year.
In his next three seasons with the club (2008-2010), Braun averaged 31 HR, 107 RBI, a .303 BA and a .535 SLG. His outstanding production was enough for management to sign him to a $105 million contract extension that would make him a Brewer through 2020.
Fast forward to this season, where Braun finished just decimal points behind the Mets’ Jose Reyes for the NL batting title, with a .332 BA. He would also go on to complete his 2011 regular season with 33 HR and 111 RBI and a career-high 33 stolen bases—no doubt an MVP résumé.
He, along with Fielder, has led Milwaukee to just their second postseason appearance since 1982 and the club’s first ever NLCS appearance in impressive fashion. Through six postseason games, Braun has slugged his way to a .500 BA (11-for-22) with two home runs, five doubles, seven runs scored, eight RBI and is slugging 1.000.
Yet, somehow there’s still a debate as to who will be named the NL MVP at season’s end.
Should Braun continue to deliver the way he’s been able to so far in these playoffs, there’s no disputing he should be named NL MVP at the end of this season. It’s really that simple.