Braves September-October MVPs/LVPs

Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire

Kris Medlen and Martin Prado headline Talking Chop's Atlanta Braves Most-and-Least Valuable Players awards of the month.

So the Braves didn't win the division despite an outstanding 94-68 overall record, but there is nobody out there that can say that the Braves were not a great team this season. I guess this is a little taste of what the Giants must have felt in 1993, because I still remember when the Braves won the division with 90 wins once. We can't say the Braves didn't make the last month(s) interesting though; the Braves' 20-10 record in Sept/Oct. topped even the Nationals' mark of 18-13.

And for the last time this season, we here at the Chop are going to share whom we decided were the most and least valuable players on the Braves that made a month like this happen. As always, it's decided by votes, and we're looking at a variety of factors, and not just the nerdy numbers. So without further ado, the awards.

Most Valuable Player


Martin Prado

#14 / Left Field / Atlanta Braves

6-1

190

R

R

Oct 27, 1983


Credentials: Played in 27 games in which the Braves went 18-9. In 114 plate appearances, Martin hit .325/.375/.461 with a team best .836 OPS, with 33 hits, nine extra-base hits including two home runs, 9 RBI, 11 runs scored, while taking nine walks versus 13 strikeouts. His wOBA of .350 and wRC+ of 120 were both second to Dan Uggla, and he came through in high-leverage situations to the tune of an outstanding +0.405 WPA in the month(s). His WAR of 1.0 was the highest among Braves hitters.

For the second time this season, Martin Prado takes our MVP honors. Mr. Team First was a consistent force all throughout the month, even when the Braves hit some rough droughts here and there. Not mentioned above is the fact that Prado switched between four different positions regularly throughout Sept/Oct, and only twice did he actually play one position for at least five consecutive games. At one stretch, he played seven consecutive games in which he switched positions, mid-game.

If we don't extend Martin Prado this off-season, I might go jump off a bridge.

Most Valuable Pitcher


Kris Medlen

#54 / Pitcher / Atlanta Braves

5-10

190

B

R

Oct 07, 1985


Credentials: Made six starts, in which the Braves won all six games, pitched in team-most 43.0 innings, as well as another complete game. 159 batters hit a feeble .167/.195/.279 against Meds, and managed just 26 total hits out of all those innings. Medlen struck out 46 batters while walking just five, leading to some outstanding rate stats of a 9.63 K/9 (1st), 1.05 BB/9 (1st), and a ridiculous 9.20 K/BB (1st Braves, 2nd NL). His ERA of 1.26 was second amongst starters (to Mike Minor), and his 2.52 FIP, 2.29 SIERA were tops on the team. Medlen's 0.72 WHIP was 2nd by a tenth to Mike Minor. He contributed a godly +1.124 WPA score, and was 2nd in the National League in WAR for pitchers with 1.4.

The reigning August NL Pitcher of the Month was recently named the September/October NL Pitcher of the month, and for the second month in a row, he's Talking Chop's pitching MVP, and well-deserved at that. Despite dominating the National League all through August, it's still somewhat amazing to me that he's performing this good for so long, and it culminated on September 30th, when the Braves won their 23rd consecutive Kris Medlen start, which is now, an official all-time Major League Baseball record.

A very honorable mention goes out to Mike Minor, who had himself an outstanding Sept/Oct month in his own right, and could very well have been worthy to both the NL and TC's pitcher of the month honors, if not for the amazing Kris Medlen. Minor was stingy all month long with hitters scrapping a paltry .126 batting average off of him throughout the month, and had a team-best 0.87 ERA and 0.71 WHIP. His 0.9 WAR on the month was second to Kris Medlen.

David Ross Award for Excellence off the Bench


Jose Constanza

#13 / Center Field / Atlanta Braves

5-9

150

B

L

Sep 01, 1983


Credentials: Played in 21 games and collected 47 plate appearances in which Georgie hit .289/.413/.316 off the bench, collecting 11 hits and scoring four times. Additionally, he took eight walks and swiped three bags. Constanza's .317 wOBA and 97 wRC+ were third on the entire team, throughout the month(s).

What more can we say about Jose Constanza? The guy just kind of shows up randomly whenever there's a need for an outfielder or a pinch-runner, and funky-swings his way into the lineup repeatedly. The reigning International League batting champion played a significant chunk of innings in left field as well as some center, and was even worth 0.4 WAR on the month.

Craig Kimbrel Award for Most Valuable Reliever NOT Named Craig Kimbrel

Okay, we all get it, Craig. Yes, we ALL see that you're striking out the world, with your 17.76 K/9 rate. Yes, and we see that you're hardly walking anyone with that 12.50 K/BB ratio. Yes, we see your minuscule 0.10 FIP and 0.44 SIERA, and that your ERA is freaking zero, again. We're all aware of your 0.9 WAR, that you saved all ten of your save appearances, and that you're simply amazing. But it's time we here at the Chop give you a little bit of a break and share some of the love


Luis Avilan

#43 / Pitcher / Atlanta Braves

6-2

220

L

L

Jul 19, 1989


Credentials: Appeared 13 times, and pitched in 13.1 innings, more than any Braves reliever in Sept/Oct. 45 batters hit just .133/.133/.222, and Avilan struck out 12 men, while walking zero point zero. His rate stats were excellent with a 8.10 K/9, 0.00 BB/9 (12.00 K/BB), 1.35 ERA, 2.27 FIP, 1.91 SIERA and a team-best 0.45 WHIP. His 0.3 WAR out of the bullpen was second among relievers.

Raise your hand if you knew who "Luis Avilan" was before the start of 2012? Put your hand down if you're CBtits. Often forgotten in the sexy glamorous world of high-adrenaline relief pitching are the purported garbage men, and we here at Talking Chop want to recognize one of the relievers, not because his name isn't "Jonny Venters" or "Eric O'Flaherty," but because throughout the month, Luis Avilan had done a damn good job, pitching in relief.

The Venezuelan 23-year old who skipped AAA en route to the Braves bullpen has sure, pitched in mostly "garbage" situations, while either down by over four or up by four or more, but has looked impressive in doing so. His rate stats speak for themselves, and the fact that he is left-handed and throws a mid-90s fastball, means the Braves have a very good luxury in Avilan for the playoffs and the future.

Least Valuable Pitcher


Paul Maholm

#17 / Pitcher / Atlanta Braves

6-2

220

L

L

Jun 25, 1982


This is truly a definition of a tough-luck draw for Maholm this month. Maholm pitched in six games in the month(s), and chewed up 32.0 innings in the process. The Braves went 3-3 in those starts. Maholm wasn't truly LVP bad, but he wasn't great either. His .264/.326/.411 slash and his 4.78 ERA said he was a bit too hittable throughout the month, but even his 3.29 FIP indicates that he was a little unlucky too.

"Competing" with Maholm in Sept/Oct. was none other than the oft-discussed Tommy Hanson, who didn't particularly have the greatest month(s), either. Hanson's biggest problem throughout the month(s) was that he was giving up home runs as if they were tax-deductible, but aside from the taters, he actually was way more Hanson-esque than we've seen from him all year. His rate stats were back up to more recognizable numbers of a 9.55 K/9, and really shaved down his walks to a 2.73 BB/9. Overall, hitters weren't tagging Hanson has hard in the month(s), going .256/.314/.527 with that slugging being a result of all the solo shots forfeited.

As I said, it's a tough draw, because neither guy was really at all that bad; WAR liked Maholm (0.7) way more than Hanson (0.1), but as it stands, the majority of us here, reluctantly, voted for Maholm.

Least Valuable Player


Reed Johnson (Looks like Brian Cashman)

#11 / Center Field / Atlanta Braves

5-10

180

R

R

Dec 08, 1976


Reed Johnson was brought in by the Braves to fill in the vacancy left by the injury to Matt Diaz. Reed Johnson hit .314 in August, which was seen as good. Unfortunately, Reed Johnson hit next to nothing in Sept/Oct, except eight singles, two doubles, and the Pirates' Michael McKendry. Overall, he hit .208/.240/.250, while striking out eleven times and walking just twice. He hurt the Braves to a -0.304 WPA, and was dead last on the team with a -0.4 WAR.

Monthly breakdown:

April

May

June

July

August

Sep/Oct

MVPlayer

Michael
Bourn

Martin
Prado

Jason
Heyward

Chipper
Jones

Jason
Heyward

Martin
Prado

MVPitcher

Brandon
Beachy

Brandon
Beachy

Tim
Hudson

Ben
Sheets

Kris
Medlen

Kris
Medlen

MVRoss

David
Ross

Nobody

David
Ross

Juan
Francisco

David
Ross

Jose
Constanza

MVKimbrel

Jonny
Venters

Craig
Kimbrel

Craig
Kimbrel

CK/Cristhian
Martinez

Craig
Kimbrel

CK/Luis
Avilan

LVPlayer

Jack
Wilson

Eric
Hinske

Brian
McCann

Dan
Uggla

Brian
McCann

Reed
Johnson

LVPitcher

Jair
Jurrjens

Mike
Minor

Mike
Minor

Jair
Jurrjens

Ben
Sheets

Paul
Maholm

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