Tuesday, September 27, 2011

New York Times' Kepner Gives NL MVP to Matt Kemp

I'm going to excerpt Tyler Kepner's Sunday NYT piece, which gave out the hardware for to both Matt Kemp and Clayton Kershaw:

The voting for the Most Valuable Player awards will be fascinating this year. Strong contenders come from also-ran teams. Playoff-bound contenders have teammates who could spoil their chances. A pitcher is a strong contender for the first time in 20 years. The tricky part for voters is defining the word value.

“I just think they should get rid of the name,” said Davey Lopes, the first-base coach for the Los Angeles Dodgers. “As players — and I know how it was — when we talk about most valuable player, we all didn’t say, ‘Who’s the most valuable player to the team?’ It was, ‘Who’s the best player in the National League?’ That’s the most valuable player. That’s how I see it. Writers, for the most part, don’t see it that way.”

The New York Times does not allow its writers to vote. But Lopes, who naturally supports Dodgers center fielder Matt Kemp, makes a good point. The best player in the league tends to have the most value, no matter the team. Players do not choose their teammates, and the M.V.P. is an individual honor.

Besides, although the Dodgers did not contend, Kemp helped them win many more games than they would have won without him. Just because the Dodgers’ win total will be well below 90 is hardly reason to penalize him. Kemp was clearly the best all-around player in the N.L., considering his performance at the plate — he was in reach of the first triple crown since 1967 — in the field and on the bases.

HONORABLE MENTION Lance Berkman, St. Louis; Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder, Milwaukee; Justin Upton, Arizona; Joey Votto, Cincinnati [...]

N.L. Cy Young Award: Clayton Kershaw, Los Angeles Dodgers

Several pitchers could have won the N.L. award in a different season. But if someone wins the so-called triple crown of pitching, as Kershaw could do this season, the Cy Young belongs to him. Kershaw holds or shares the N.L. lead in wins (20), earned run average (2.27) and strikeouts (242). Eleven others have led in all three categories, and all have won the award. The last to do it was Jake Peavy of San Diego in 2007, and he won unanimously. Kershaw — and Verlander, the runaway A.L. winner and the leader in all three categories — may do it, too.

N.L. HONORABLE MENTION Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee, Philadelphia; Ian Kennedy, Arizona; Tim Lincecum, San Francisco

Let's hope MLB voters are as clear-headed as Kepner.