In last week's NL MVP rankings, we mulled over the dilemma of Ryan Braun's candidacy, asking whether his offseason drug-testing controversy will ultimately prevent him from winning a second consecutive MVP award.
Matt Kemp is now presenting a different sort of conundrum. After missing two weeks with a hamstring injury, Kemp returned to the Los Angeles Dodgers lineup this week. On Wednesday, however, in just his second game back, he re-aggravated the hamstring while running the bases, and it appears as if he could go on the disabled list yet again.
With his absence, Kemp no longer has the necessary number of plate appearances to be listed among the league leaders in any offensive category. He's currently 13 PAs short of the 157 required to qualify. So can Kemp truly be considered an MVP candidate if he hasn't logged as much time as his peers?
Keeping that in mind, let's look at this week's top five contenders for the NL MVP award.