Team: Los Angeles Dodgers
2011 Stats: .324 AVG, 39 HR, 126 RBI, 40 SB
After a second-place finish in the 2011 NL MVP race, Dodgers center fielder Matt Kemp was clearly the best player the NL West had to offer last season.
Had the Sept. 8 Dodgers vs. Nationals game not been cancelled and the Dodgers allowed to play out their full 162-game schedule, Kemp might have even joined the illustrious 40-40 club.
During the late-November press conference in which the Dodgers announced their eight-year, $160 million contract extension, Kemp responded to the tough news of his No. 2 MVP finish with resiliency and determination: "I'm going to go 50-50 next year. I'm telling you, y'all created a monster... I'm serious."
Pitchers beware, Kemp has done everything but sign a contract that guarantees a gigantic 2012 season on the heels of his incredible 2011 campaign.
To put it succinctly, Kemp led the league in home runs, RBI and runs scored (115) in 2011. He finished second in slugging percentage and OPS with .586 and .986 percentages, respectively. His stolen base mark of 40 steals was also second-best in 2011 while his batting average of .324 was third-best in the league.
If Kemp walks the walk after talking the talk this 2011 offseason and has an even better 2012 than his 2011, there is no question he will be the NL West's best player once again, if not the best player in all of Major League Baseball.