PHOENIX, AZ - SEPTEMBER 28: Matt Kemp #27 of the Los Angeles Dodgers hits a two run home run against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the seventh inning of the Major League Baseball game at Chase Field on September 28, 2011 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
It's a bit of an anti-climactic finish for us American League fans, but the SBN Baseball Awards conclude today with the announcement of our National League MVP: Matt Kemp!
As with Jose Bautista, Matt Kemp's selection shouldn't be terribly surprising. One homer away from the all-exclusive 40-40 club, Kemp's return to (and rise above) form mirrors that of Jacoby Ellsbury. One year removed from a terribly disappointing season, Kemp came out on fire and never really looked back. A line of .324/.399/.586 was only minimally damaged by Kemp's defense--fringe-average as usual, but not disastrous as last year. It may not have been a very good year for the Dodgers, but they were certainly reminded that they do, in fact, have a franchise star in Kemp.
Otherwise, it seems like a fairly unremarkable ballot (which is, in itself, a bit remarkable given how these things tend to go). The important names are all up there, with the pitchers taking their usual significant (if perhaps undeserved) hit for not playing every game. Braun and Kemp are nigh-indistinguishable at the top, but when it comes down to it only one could reasonably leave with the award. If this is how the dice fall next week, then there should be few complaints all-around.