Calcaterra wrote this morning about how Matt Kemp’s run at the Triple Crown has somehow flown under the radar and should make him the NL MVP favorite assuming voters don’t penalize him for having bad (non-Clayton Kershaw) teammates.
I’m in complete agreement, but wanted to note that Kemp also fares extremely well in less traditional numbers like Wins Above Replacement (WAR), which attempts to quantify his overall contributions to the Dodgers offensively and defensively.
First of all, Kemp leads baseball in WAR (the Baseball-Reference.com version) this season:
MATT KEMP 9.6
Jose Bautista 8.5
Justin Verlander 8.5
Clayton Kershaw 7.4
Cliff Lee 7.3
Ryan Braun 7.2
Jacoby Ellsbury 7.1
Roy Halladay 7.0
Beyond that, Kemp has a chance to become the first player to reach 10.0 Wins Above Replacement in a season since Barry Bonds had 12.4 WAR in 2004. In fact, Albert Pujols (2008, 2009) and Alex Rodriguez (2007) are the only players to top 9.0 WAR since then.
Incidentally, from 2001-2004 Bonds had the following WAR totals: 12.5, 12.2, 10.3, 12.4.
Welp, that didn’t last long. Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia is going back on the injured list with more knee issues. If it matters the Sox say it’s not a big deal and they expect him back sooner rather than later, but they also said that his post-2017 knee surgery was just a “cleanup” at first and that basically cost him a year. So.
Pedroia has played in six games and is 2-for-20 with a walk.
I don’t think it’s hyperbole to say that Pedroia’s career may be nearing an end. Sure, he’s under contract for two more years after this season, but he’s also in a unfortunate spiral that so many players experience in their mid-to-late 30s.
Running a website like this makes it all the clearer, actually. When you search a player’s name in our CMS, you get every post in which he appears in reverse chronological order. Just about every long-tenured player ends with about six posts in which he is alternately placed on and activated from the disabled/injured list. Then an offseason link to a big feature in which he’s written about as being “at a crossroads” followed by something vague about “resuming baseball activities” and then, inevitably, the retirement announcement. I can’t count the number of guys whose careers I can tick off in that way by browsing the guts of this site.
I hope that’s not the case for Pedroia. I hope that there’s a “Pedroia wins Comeback Player of the Year” post in the future. Or at the very least a silly “Miller’s Crossing” reference in an “And that Happened” in which I say “the old man’s still an artist with the Thompson” after he peppers the ball around in some 3-for-4, two-double game. I want that stuff to happen.
It’s just that, if you watch this game long enough, you realize how unlikely that is once a player starts to break down.