MVB Most Valuable Bison

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It was just announced that Ryan Braun has won the NL MVP Award. He garnered 20 out of 32 possible first place votes. Matt Kemp finished second with 10 first place votes, and Prince

Fielder was third. Clayton Kershaw, the NL Cy Young Award winner, was 12th in voting.

Player, Team1st2nd3rd4th5th6th7th8th9th10thPoints
Ryan Braun, Milwaukee Brewers2012388
Matt Kemp, Los Angeles Dodgers10166332
Prince Fielder, Milwaukee Brewers141191321229
Justin Upton, Arizona Diamondbacks181163111214
Albert Pujols, St. Louis Cardinals1611642166
Joey Votto, Cincinnati Reds43283341135
Lance Berkman, St. Louis Cardinals12637243118
Troy Tulowitzki, Colorado Rockies3485469
Roy Halladay, Philadelphia Phillies11162352
Ryan Howard, Philadelphia Phillies13111339
Jose Reyes, New York Mets1134331
Clayton Kershaw, Los Angeles Dodgers1125229
Shane Victorino, Philadelphia Phillies33318
Ian Kennedy, Arizona Diamondbacks12116
Cliff Lee, Philadelphia Phillies21112
Hunter Pence, Astros/Phillies11110
Pablo Sandoval, San Francisco Giants117
John Axford, Milwaukee Brewers127
Michael Morse, Washington Nationals115
Carlos Beltran, N.Y. Mets/S.F. Giants13
Miguel Montero, Arizona D-backs12
Yadier Molina, St. Louis Cardinals22
Starlin Castro, Chicago Cubs11
Craig Kimbrel, Atlanta Braves11
Carlos Ruiz, Philadelphia Phillies11
Mike Stanton, Florida Marlins11

Of course I disagree with the outcome, and I will outline the reasons why Matt Kemp rightfully deserved the MVP over Braun.

If it were not for Matt Kemp and his incredible performace in 2011, the Dodgers would have been most likely mired in last place in the NL West. Some may argue that the MVP award should be handed to a player from a winning team or one who clinched a playoff berth. I feel that Matt Kemp should be named the NL MVP regardless of where the Dodgers finished in the standings, and his superior season trancended the situation in which he played in and in some ways made it even harder for him to accomplish what he did.

The Major League Baseball Most Valuable Player Award is an annual award bestowed upon one player who excelled above and beyond in both the National and American Leagues. The first MVP Award was presented in 1931 by the Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA). The recipients are awarded the Kenesaw Mountain Landis award which was named to honor the first commisioner of the MLB. It is up to the judgment of the writers to decide what “most valuable” means. It is clear to me that Matt Kemp exemplified the definition of Most Valuable Player in 2011. His season was one of the most incredible of any Dodger or any player both past and present, and he should be rewarded as such. Yes, the Dodgers were awful in the first-half of the season, and they had literally no chance to make the playoffs. Yet Matt Kemp’s excellence at the plate and in the field cannot be overlooked.

valuable [ˈvæljʊəbəl]

adj

1. Having considerable monetary or material value for
use or exchange

2. Of great importance, use, or service

3. Having admirable or esteemed qualities or
characteristics

Matt Kemp is of great importance, use, and service. The Dodgers unequivically had both the best pitcher and best player in the League and perhaps in all of baseball with Clayton Kershaw and Matt Kemp. Clayton received his well-deserved Cy Young Award last Thursday, and completely dominated the rest of the candidates much like his domination on the mound. The voters looked past the Dodgers mediocrity in the standings and gave young Kersh his first of many Cy Youngs. Matt Kemp shouldn’t be passed over because of the Dodgers shortcomings either. In fact, his level of performance in the midst of all the losing was actually very difficult to achieve. It’s easy to see how Braun or Upton rode the wave of winning on each of their teams. Matt Kemp shined when the Dodgers were double digits out of first place, and continued his onslaught despite bullpen meltdowns and uselessness surrounding him like the awfulness of Juan Uribe, Eugenio Velez, and Dioner Navarro among others.

The other contenders for the MVP don’t even pale in comparison when we see what Bison has achieved this year. Let’s take a closer look at some of the front-runners. Justin Upton had a career year with the D-Backs and ended up with 105 RBIs, 171 hits, 31  homeruns, and a .369 OBP. Manager of the Year Kirk Gibson and Upton helped the D-Backs win the NL West, but Upton’s numbers still don’t touch Kemp’s. Albert Pujols and the St. Louis Cardinals had a fairytale of a season by coming back from the brink and winning it all. Yet his .299 average, 37 homeruns, and 99 RBIs were still a decline for him from previous seasons. Ryan Braun led the League with a .332 batting average along with a .597 slugging percentage and .994 OPS. He perhaps is Kemp’s closest competitor, but still doesn’t reach Kemp’s magnificence.

Matt Kemp hit .324 with a league leading 39 homeruns (2 ahead of Pujols and 6 ahead of Braun ) 126 RBIs (27 ahead of Pujols and 15 ahead of Braun ), 115 runs scored (6 ahead of Braun), total bases with 353, WAR 8.7 according to Fangraphs.com (Braun was at 7.8), second in the league in stolen bases with 40 (7 ahead of Braun), .986 OPS (Braun was slightly ahead at .994), .586 slugging percentage (Braun slightly ahead at .597), 195 hits (8 more than Braun), and 11 outfield assists (Braun had 8). Braun also plays a much less dfficult left field to Kemp’s center field position for which he won a Gold Glove award for and was the NL starting center fielder representative in the All-Star game.

Kemp also extended his consecutive games played streak to 365 after playing in all of the Dodgers 161 games. Braun played in 150 games respectively. Sure, the Brewers were a much better team than the Dodgers last season. Would the Brewers had been as successful without Braun? They still had Prince Fielder, pitchers like Greinke, Wolf, and John Axford out of the pen. Aside from Clayton Kershaw and an injured Andre Ethier, Matt Kemp was essentially the sole run producer on the team. If not for his production, the Dodgers would certainly not have finished with a winning record.

Matt Kemp has admirable and esteemed qualities and characteristics. After signing his new contract last Friday he said:

“I have truly been embraced
by the L.A. fans, they’ve made Los Angeles home for me. It’s a
great feeling to know I’m going to be here for the next eight years, but my goal
is to be a Dodger for life – this is where I aim to be until I
retire.”

Matt Kemp has considerable monetary worth. This was clearly reflected with his recent contract extension for 8 years and $160 million. And he’s worth every penny.

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