At the outset, I’d like to remind people that I saw Matt Kemp play in a spring training game back in February, observed that he was in great shape and hustled his ass off even though he was with a decidedly B-squad Dodgers team that day and that he looked primed for a big season. You know, for the record.
Kemp had a big game near the end of his very big season last night, hitting a two-run homer, smacking three doubles and scoring three times in the Dodgers win over the Giants. For the year that puts Kemp at .326/.403/.582 with 36 homers, 118 RBI and 40 stolen bases. On top of that is great defense in center field. And he’s doing it on a team that has had every reason to mail it in if it wanted to since, oh, May.
And here’s something I didn’t realize until a reader pointed it out to me yesterday: the dude has a chance at the triple crown.
Kemp leads the NL in RBI with 118, which is five ahead of Ryan Howard. He is one home run short of Albert Pujols’ league-leading 37. Batting average may be the toughest, as his .326 is four points behind Ryan Braun’s league-leading .330 and three behind Jose Reyes’ .329, but it’s not impossible to close a four-point gap in six games. Heck, Kemp gained four points on the idle Braun yesterday alone.
In the event Kemp is able to pull this off, he will be the first NL triple crown winner since Joe Medwick did it with the Cardinals in 1937. And of course, the first person in either league since Yaz did it in 1967.
MVP? Is there any doubt?