Ryan Braun had a magnificent season. He led the NL in OPS and slugging percentage and led the Brew crew to a postseason birth. He batted .332 with over 100 RBIs, over 100 runs scored, and 33 stolen bases. Not bad. Not bad at all.
Matt Kemp, of the Los Angeles Dodgers, led the NL in home runs and RBI, while also batting .324. For most of the year, he was in contention for the hitters triple crown. Many people believe that Kemp had the better statistical season, which brings up the argument: why didn’t Kemp win?
The general consensus is that Kemp’s candidacy was hurt by his teams overall lack of success. The Dodgers were third place in the AL West, and didn’t play in a meaningful game past July.
The counter argument to this is simple: The aforementioned reasons should be exactly why Kemp should have brought home the goods. He had no protection in his lineup, whereas teams HAD to pitch to Ryan Braun, who had Prince Fielder wielding a big bat behind him. Who “protected” Matt Kemp? James Loney (.339 on base percentage).
Think about it, the Dodgers sucked. Take away Kemp’s 39 home runs, 126 runs batted in, 40 stolen bases, 33 doubles – where does the production come from in this lineup? Braun was a stud, no doubt, but Kemp WAS the Dodger lineup!
It’s true that maybe Clayton Kershaw cannibalized Kemp a little bit with his own candidacy, but Kershaw finished 11th in voting- not high enough to snatch any important votes away from Kemp. Prince Fielder finished third in MVP voting! So, the Brewers had two of the top three players in the NL on their team? They gave equal weight to Braun (who gets to hit with Fielder behind him) and Prince (who gets to have Braun on base when he comes to the dish). That doesn’t seem fair to me.
Another flaw in the MVP voting? Clayton Kershaw won the NL pitchers triple crown and finished BEHIND Roy Halladay. What?! Justin Verlander accomplished the same feat in the AL and WON the award, yet Kershaw finished 11th. Something is askew here.
Overall, the 2011 MLB MVP voting will go down in history as one of the most interesting.
Thanks, everyone. Happy Thanksgiving!
My Thanksgiving Picks….
Lions stun Packers, 27-24. Matt Stafford tosses three touchdowns, two to Calvin Johnson, and the Packers “fall” to 10-1.
The Dolphins extend their winning streak to four games agains the Cowboys. Reggie Bush returns a punt for a touchdown and it’s a happy day in South Beach.
HAPPY THANKSGIVING, everyone!