No I am not going to talk about the Blue Jays. Nor will I talk about any sort of positive going crazy. Rather instead it is time to give my two cents on the last two awards that were handed out this offseason. Let’s start with the AL MVP…
Justin Verlander deserved it. I predicted that he would win it so no surprises here. Anyway let’s talk about why people thought he shouldn’t have won. Well here is my first and only point: the fact that he pitches every five days gives him less opportunities to show off how good he is. The fact that Verlander does not play every day makes everyone of his starts more important. If Bautista, Granderson, and Ellsbury all played the way they did every five days instead of every day, than we wouldn’t even be having this discussion and Verlander would’ve claimed every single vote possible.
Since I have nothing to complain about in regards to the American League MVP, I will now unleash the beast and state 4 reasons why Matt Kemp should’ve won the NL MVP award.
1. Protection in the lineup: In 2008 when Manny Ramirez was on fire for the Dodgers during August and September, part of the reason he played so well was because of Andre Ethier. Whether Ethier batted before or after Ramirez, Manny got good pitches to hit and, more importantly, good statistics because of the protection he has. This is one of the most recent examples as to how much of an impact having a good hitter before or after you has on a slugger like Kemp and Braun. Ethier is still a good hitter, however not as good as Fielder was this year for Ryan Braun. If Matt Kemp had Fielder behind him, or the 2008 Andrew Ethier, Kemp easily would’ve had a better year and would’ve taken home the MVP.
2. Playing for a non-contending team: I do agree that being on a contending team helps someone’s MVP stock. However, I also think that playing for a non-contending team is even more helpful. The fact that on Opening Day the Dodgers were practically eliminated from playoff contention means that Dodgers players didn’t have to try as hard as they did. When someone as good as Kemp plays for a non-contending team, there is no point in them playing well because they won’t be playing in October. In the end, because Kemp was playing for a non-contending team, it meant that he didn’t have to play as hard as he did.
3. Pitching in the NL West: If you look at the NL Cy Young voting, there are 12 pitchers on the ballot. Out of those twelve, six pitch were in the NL West, while only two pitched in the NL Central. More importantly, those two pitchers in the NL Central were on the Brewers which means that Ryan Braun didn’t face Cy Young candidates as often as Kemp did. This has a big affect on how well someone plays. Matt Kemp faced better pitching throughout the whole season and still managed to beat out Braun in the majority of the important batting categories.
4. Wins. Above. Replacement.: Many baseball writers have said that one of the single most important statistics in determining a players value and MVP stock is their WAR. Matt Kemp’s WAR this season was 8.7, Ryan Braun’s? 7.8. “Wins Above Replacement (WAR) is an attempt by the sabermetric community to summarize a player’s total contributions to their team in one statistic” (according to fangraphs.com: http://bit.ly/ekAQ90) What this states in relation to this year’s NL MVP race is that Matt Kemp was more valuable to his team than Ryan Braun was. What can we take away from this? MATT KEMP HAD MORE VALUE THIS SEASON. END OF STORY. THE MVP IS THE MOST VALUABLE PLAYER AND WAR DICTATES THAT KEMP WAS MORE VALUABLE!
If I was in the Baseball Writers Association of America you can bet that I would have voted for Kemp. There is no doubt that he deserved the NL MVP. However, since he didn’t, we will just have to wait and see what happens next year. Kemp already said that he will try his hardest to be the first player to hit fifty home runs and steal fifty bases. Let’s not forget that last offseason he said he was going to go 40-40 and in the end he went 39-40. Matt Kemp just turned beast mode way up. Let the quest for the first 50-50 player begin.