Ive always been of the opinion that MVP is an individual award that should be given to the BEST player in the league. But theres still a very large % of the voters who see it as an award for player who had a fantastic season, who also helped their team (who probably wouldve been out of it) get into the playoffs.
I personally think the MVP should go to the very best player, regardless of team situation. A great player on a bad team cant always put the team on his back and take them to the playoffs, so its a bit unfair to dock that player for being the only big talent on his team. And to me, the "Most Valuable" player is the BEST player. It doesnt matter if them play with a bunch of stars, or by themselves. I think the award was originally intended to be that, but the term "Valuable" got twisted into an interpretation to mean that his team has to be screwed if he wasnt there.
All that being said, because the AP believes greatly in the player coming from a winning team, and a situation where his team would suffer greatly without him, I think Buster Posey wins this MVP award by pretty convincing fashion.
The voters have been following baseball very closely all season long. As someone that has done the same, I know for a fact that Andrew McCutchen has been spotty. He went until May 8th before he hit a HR, but stole about 14 bases. then he turned on the power big time, and ended up hitting 24 HR from mid May through July, but stopped stealing entirely. (I have both McCutchen and Posey in my keeper fantasy league, so ive been watching them game by game all year).
Since the break he ceased to provide that superstar punch to his lineup, and the Pirates have free fallen from a contender, who had the same record as the Giants, to now a team thats 1 game under .500. He has maintained his high avg, but it came from almost 2 months now of empty 2 for 4 games. Since the break you could argue that the Pirates MVP has been Pedro Alvarez.
I think that if you recognize the difficulty of being a catcher, coming off a major injury, handling a great pitching staff, and throwing out runners, etc. His overall resume for the 2012 season is the most impressive.
McCutchen and Braun will split up the votes from the select group of voters who dont care that their teams wont make the playoffs, so neither one will be able to get enough 1st place votes to supplant Posey, who will probably be majority favorite. Braun is going to be heavily penalized as it is, just for his situation.