Is Ryan Braun the NL MVP?


Wow, that could've been the most boring Fanpost ever.

Several months ago, a group of bloggers came together to create a weekly blogpoll for MVP, Cy Young and Rookie of the Year. I'm pretty sure that's defunct now (haven't heard about it in a while, at least), but it forced me to really think about how to pick an MVP. As a result, I have a spreadsheet sitting on my desktop. I put in the raw numbers and it gives me the following output:

The Snow Index:(TB+(BB*.864)+(SB-(2*CS)))/(AB+BB)

If you're curious about how I developed that or want to see what people at Baseball Think Factory said about it years ago, here's the explanation from back when I thought I knew everything. Certainly, people who are smarter than me have come up with better stats. But this one is mine, which means it's the one I use when I've got time to kill and no one is here to attempt to publicly tear it to shreds.

From there, I tinker with the numbers a bit by adding bonuses or penalties for the following:

Playing for a winning team, or a playoff team: I added .0075 to a hitter's Snow Index for teams at or above .500, and .015 for playing on a team that would make the playoffs if the season ended today.

Playing a premium defensive position: For this purpose, I give catchers a .02 bonus and second basemen, shortstops and center fielders a .01 bonus. In the AL, I subtract .02 from the score of designated hitters.

Plate appearances per game: This doesn't always get thrown into the MVP conversation, but a guy who plays enough to rack up 4.5 PA/G is more valuable than a guy who produces at the same rate but only comes up 3.5 times per game. For these purposes, I give .02 points to batters who hit more than 4.2 times per game, +.01 for over 4, -.01 for under 3.6 and -.02 for under 3.2.

Since I'm usually drawn to a spreadsheet when I've got time to kill, today I dumped 50 top NL players into the spreadsheet to see how close Ryan Braun is to being MVP:

1. Albert Pujols, STL .689
2. Lance Berkman, HOU .673
3. Matt Holliday, COL .664
4. Ryan Ludwick, STL .635
5. Ryan Braun, MIL .630
6. Chase Utley, PHI .628
7. Hanley Ramirez, FLA .622
8. Pat Burrell, PHI .616
9. David Wright, NYM .612
10. Chipper Jones, ATL .610

Other Brewers making the top 50:
15. Mike Cameron, .582
20. Prince Fielder, .573
26. Corey Hart, .551
32. J.J. Hardy, .533

So what do you think? Where does Ryan Braun belong on this list? Are you bored enough on this off day to make a better list?