With 36 home runs, 118 RBI and a .326 batting average, added to 109 runs scored and 40 stolen bases, and this is the resumé of Dodgers Center Fielder Matt Kemp. If these numbers do not scream MVP, I am not sure what does.
Obviously, numbers alone do not qualify a player to be named MVP. In recent times, a candidate's team has to make the playoffs for him to even be considered. Albert Pujols in 2008 and Ryan Howard in 2006 have been the only exceptions to this rule in recent memory. Many will use this point to try to disqualify Kemp from consideration, however, there is one point many people seem to skip over when thinking about this award.
MVP stands for Most valuable player. To make the argument that Kemp is not more valuable to the Dodgers than Pujols is to the Cardinals, or Ryan Braun or Prince Fielder are to the Brewers would be ridiculous and plain stupid. At this point, the Dodgers sit at 78-77 and Kemp is the reason for that. If you took Matt out of the Dodgers' lineup, it would look as follows:
1. SS Dee Gordon
2. 2B Aaron Miles
3. RF Andre Ethier
4. 3B Casey Blake
5. 1B James Loney
6. C Rod Barajas
Who's your pick for NL MVP
7. LF Juan Rivera
8. CF Tony Gwynn
I would be scared to see what the Dodgers' record would be with that lineup, but I would assume they would be somewhere around the 60 win mark. In a season where the pitching behind Clayton Kershaw and Chad Billingsley, it has been suspect to say the least, and Kemp has been the bright spot. When he comes to the plate, Dodger Stadium is ready to erupt.
Everybody in the stadium knows that if something big is going to happen, it is going to come from Kemp.
Realistically, Matt is the only option. It cannot go to Fielder or Braun. It simply does not make sense. If either one of those guys was on another team, the Brewers would still be one of the better teams in baseball.
How can a player be the most valuable in baseball if you have to make an argument to call him the most valuable player on his own team.
Albert Pujols should not win the award, either. While he has had a great season and a monster second half, the MVP award needs to go to a player who has produced at a high level over the course of the season. Matt Holliday and Chris Carpenter kept the Cardinals afloat when Pujols was struggling. On top of that, the Cardinals are 8-7 in games without Pujols this year. The Cards are still a winning team without Pujols.
Matt Kemp has not missed a game all season and the Dodgers are barely above .500. As stated earlier, the Dodgers would be absolutely terrible without Kemp.
All in all, it is easy to see the Matt deserves the MVP. I believe Ryan Braun will take home the honor, and while it is extremely difficult to fault that decision, Kemp has done more for his team and makes an extremely strong case for this award.