|The NL MVP Award|
Matt Kemp would have a lock on the award, but his Dodgers find themselves amongst mediocrity in the middle of the the NL West at 5 games below .500. Just like a combination lock, Kemp has all of the right numbers to be considered and chosen the NL MVP, but his team's lack of contention cuts his chances by a significant amount. Kemp has the best WAR in the NL at 8.1. He sports a .320 batting average, 102 rbi, 31 home runs, 35 stolen bases, and a .965 OPS. If the dodgers were vying for the playoffs, or at least had a winning record, Kemp would receive enough votes to claim the award, but because the award is most "valuable" and not "best" player, he will most likely not win the award this year.
Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder should each buy Matt Kemp a drink because, most likely, one of these Brewers will take home the MVP award instead of the Dodger's center-fielder. Braun has the second best WAR in the NL at 6.7 to go along with a .333 batting average, 25 home runs, 89 rbi, 31 stolen bases, and a .995 OPS. Braun's numbers alone easily put him in contention to win the MVP, and due to the Brewers success this season,we could see the first Jewish NL MVP since Sandy Koufax in 1963. Braun makes a convincing case for the MVP award, but so does his teammate, Prince Fielder. Fielder is the power in the Brewers potent lineup. This season Fielder has compiled a .293 batting average, 29 home runs, 102 rbi, a 4.0 WAR, and a .947 OPS. Braun's numbers dwarf his teammates', but they do not overshadow them enough to exclude Fielder from the MVP conversation. If Fielder turns on the power in September, he could snatch this award away from Braun.
The only other name being consistently mentioned is Justin Upton. Upton, the right fielder for the Diamondbacks, is the Dbacks best player. The Arizona Diamondbacks have unexpectedly made their way past the World Series champion Giants into first place in the west. Upton's application for the MVP award does not muster up to the likes of Kemp of Braun, except that he is the best player on the best team in the NL west. He has a 3.9 WAR, .294 batting average, 26 home runs, 80 rbi, 20 stolen bases, and a .909 OPS. These numbers are far below those of Braun, Fielder, and Kemp, but combined with the Diamondbacks place in the standings, they do put him in contention for the MVP award. Upton would need to have a jaw dropping September to win the award.