When Ryan Braun was named as the National League's 2011 MVP, it was kind of stunning.
Most, like myself, assumed that Justin Verlander would be named NL MVP, even though he pitches in the American League.
After all, The Verlander has won just about every other major award, save for this year's Pulitzer.
Seriously, though, it looked as if Matt Kemp was a lock to win it this year. It just goes to show that no matter how much the BBWAA likes to talk about how the MVP Award is for the best player, regardless of whether said player's team makes the playoffs, it's still all about if their team makes the playoffs.
Clearly, though, Ryan Braun had an outstanding year.
He not only did it on a team where he is "second fiddle" to Prince Fielder and his gaudy numbers, but he did it with a body more befitting of a cross country runner than a power hitting left fielder.
That being said, here's a list celebrating some of the best "skinny sluggers" off all time.
Height: 6'6", Weight: 205
Granted, the taller you are, the thinner you appear.
Unless, of course, you're CC Sabathia—who's listed at 290 pounds—he's 6'7" tall, and unless he grows a few more inches, you can bet he won't appear any thinner after Thanksgiving.
Sexson was long and lean, and showed some great power, with his best season coming in 2001 with the Milwaukee Brewers when he slugged 45 home runs.
Height: 6'3", Weight: 185
When you watch B.J. Upton play, you're not surprised when he burns around the basepaths.
He certainly has the build and body type for speed.
Although he hasn't quite lived up to his power potential—just yet—he's more than capable of hitting a tape-measure moon-shot. He hit 24 long balls in 2007.
Height: 6'1", Weight: 210
The 2011 National MVP Ryan Braun, aka the "Hebrew Hammer," is kind of deceptive in his size.
When you look at his height/weight, it reads like a defensive back.
Yet, when you watch him play, he seems almost reed-thin.
How much of his apparent slightness of frame is due to playing alongside former 300-pounder Prince Fielder is difficult to determine.
Plus, of his 200-plus pounds, how much of that is beard and hair? We may never know.
Regardless, this is one of those "skinny" dudes that can absolutely mash.
Height: 6'4", Weight: 220
Much like the aforementioned Braun, Pence's size is deceptive.
Granted, he weighs 10 pounds more than Braun, but he's also three inches taller.
Pence is one of those guys that fans love because nothing he does is ever pretty, but the end result is usually pretty awesome.
The former Houston Astro has hit 22 or more home runs for four straight seasons.
Height: 6'1", Weight: 180
George Foster was a key clog in the "Big Red Machine" of the 1970s.
During the Reds' heyday, he provided most of the power.
During his MVP year of 1977, Foster knocked out 52 home runs.
Remember, this was a good 15 years before steroids would aid Brady Anderson and others in producing over-inflated power numbers.
The skinny on the skinny Foster was this—dude could straight-up launch some long balls.
Plain and simple.
Height: 6'1", Weight: 195
Much as Sabathia's listed weight of 290 seems to be ridiculously light, Soriano's 195 seems a tad lofty.
At times, it seems as if Soriano could hide behind his bat—literally—if need be.
Regardless of appearance, Soriano is a slugger that combines speed and pop.
In 2006, he knocked out 46 home runs and stole 41 bases to join the elusive 40/40 club while with the Washington Nationals.
Height: 6'6", Weight: 190
Whoa, now that's skinny.
Heck, I weigh 10 pounds more than Strawberry's playing weight of 190.
I'm half a foot shorter, too.
Granted, I like beer.
Strawberry may have liked beer, too. But it's well chronicled that he loved other substances—if you know what I mean, and I think you do.
No matter, Strawberry could rake.
He hit 335 home runs over his career, and topped out with 39 back in 1988—he also hit 39 in '87.
Height: 6', Weight: 165
Robin Yount was quite thin during his heyday, at 165 pounds.
He was an electric, five-tool player, capable of playing multiple key defensive positions—from short stop to center field, etc.
Yount also packed some offensive punch, too, as he hit 29 home runs during his 1982 MVP campaign.
He'd earn another MVP Award in '89, and, more importantly, he was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1999.
Height: 6', Weight: 180
No, "Hammerin' Hank" certainly wasn't the skinniest of sluggers, but he wasn't a hulking mass a la a Frank Howard, either.
Slight of stature with unbelievable pop, Hank is easily No. 1 on the "skinny slugger" list.
And, in my opinion, his 755 career home runs are still the mark to beat.
Sure, Barry Bonds is the "new" all-time leader, but, hey, he was only thin for half of his career.