NL MVP Rankings: Matt Kemp, David Wright on Top, but What About Ryan Braun?

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NL MVP Rankings: Matt Kemp, David Wright on Top, but What About Ryan Braun?
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Will the stain of offseason drug-testing controversy kill Ryan Braun's MVP chances?

If you were hoping for some change among the top five National League MVP candidates, this isn't the week for it. (Check out this week's NL Rookie of the Year rankings for some major shuffling.) 

As much as I wanted to (hey, I like change too), I just couldn't come up with a good reason to tinker too much with the candidates or rankings from last week. So—spoiler alert—everything is holding pretty steady. 

But I think we do have an interesting dilemma in the National League right now, one that was made more obvious to me when putting together my NL All-Star predictions yesterday. 

What are we to do about Ryan Braun? His numbers most definitely warrant consideration.

Yet I believe that there's no way Braun will repeat as NL MVP because the suspicion of PED use still hovers over him. Even if his suspension was successfully appealed as the condition of his test sample was questioned, he did test positive for high levels of testosterone. 

But maybe the best argument in Braun's favor is his performance this season. If he's putting up big numbers under heavy scrutiny, perhaps that shows he shouldn't be penalized in the court of public opinion. I'll leave that to you to continue discussing in the comments.

Meanwhile, commenter Dylan Toron posted a suggestion in last week's NL Cy Young Award rankings that I liked so much that I'm going to implement it here. We're going to include an "Honorable Mention" contender, as well. Some weeks, maybe we'll have more than one. 

OK, let's get on with this week's top five contenders for NL MVP.

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