Last week I gave you my take on the AL MVP race giving Granderson a very slight over Jose Bautista. Now it’s time to look at the race in the National League. With still over a month left to play, much can change, but here’s the outlook now.
- Ryan Braun: With 25 home runs and 28 steals, Braun is a near lock for a 30-30 season on a division winning team. Hitting .328 with an OBP around .400, this guy has had a tremendous year all around. His 90 runs scored lead the National League, and 85 RBI to go with it ain’t too shabby. He’s become the face of the Brewers franchise and is deserving of his first MVP award. Bonus points for being one of the few great Jewish players in the game today… Reminds me of the awesome Shawn Green poster I had in my college dorm back in Clemson… Good stuff.
- Matt Kemp: Certainly the MVP for my fantasy baseball team, Matt Kemp has had a stellar season, but I still have to give him a very close runner up to Ryan Braun for the NL MVP. The Dodgers are a solid 10 games below .500, and with numbers about the same as Braun, it’s hard to give the award to a different outfielder on a losing team. That said, Kemp has had the career year many expected hitting .321 with 29 home runs and 33 stolen bases so far. 95 RBI and 79 runs scored add to the impressive resume as does the OBP in the .390s. The resume is the same, if not negligibly better than Ryan Braun’s, but on a weak team, he barely gets edged. He also loses points for having been with Rihanna who shatters ear drums across with country with the her “music.” That should justify my Ryan Braun MVP right there.
- Prince Fielder: The other great slugger on the Milwaukee Brewers, Prince Fielder has had himself a banner season. In a year where the Brewers moved some top prospects for Zack Greinke and a dream of playing in the World Series, they have two legitimate MVP candidates. Fielder sports a OBP of .413 and is on pace for 35 home runs with 124 RBI 2ith 28HR and 100 RBI already. The lack of speed and defensive prowess puts him squarely behind Braun and Kemp, especially with approximately the same home run power, but Prince Fielder is deserving of a 3rd place vote for his contributions on a 78-53 Brewers team.
- Justin Upton: This post wouldn’t be complete without some kudos to a former #1 overall draft pick coming into his own. 25HR and 19SB (although 7 caught stealings), a batting average around .300 (.298), and a .370 OBP are impressive, but what really makes Upton’s season so great is the way he’s put the Arizona Diamondbacks on his back and kept them in a division race for the NL West. The D-backs lead the Giants by 1.5gms despite Justin Upton being the only notable player on the roster. Obviously, Arizona has gotten contributions from other players namely pitchers Dan Hudson and former Yankee Ian Kennedy and all-star catcher Miguel Montero, but Justin Upton has been the star on what is shockingly, a potentially playoff bound team.
Roy “Doc” Halladay’s numbers are amazing and worthy of mention, however with Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels putting up similar numbers in the same Phillies rotation it’s hard to say they rely heavily on Doc. At this point, I give it to Ryan Braun because his contributions to a playoff team, however there is still time for Matt Kemp to catch him, especially if the Brewers somehow miss the playoffs, but at this point I’d say the race is really between Ryan Braun (LF-MIL) and Matt Kemp (CF-LAD).
Who do you think is the most deserving NL MVP at this point? Be sure to share your thoughts in the comments or with me on twitter @Ryan_Kantor.