Ryan Braun won the NL MVP even thought Matt Kemp put up better numbers. Over at The American Spectator, I explain why Braun was the more valuable player. The economist’s habit of thinking at the margin shows why:
Kemp clearly had a better 2011. But at the margin, Braun was far more valuable. Without Kemp, the Dodgers would have won 72 games. With him, they won 82. That’s not a big difference at the margin. It’s nice to finish above .500, but there’s no real difference between a 72-win season and an 82-win season. You miss the playoffs either way.
Braun took the Brewers from 88 wins to 96 wins. There is a world of difference between 88 wins and 96 wins. It’s the difference between missing the playoffs and winning the division. Every single win that Braun created was absolutely crucial to the Brewers playing in the postseason instead of watching it from home.
So even though Braun created fewer wins, each of them was extremely valuable. That’s why he’s the MVP.