Fansided has concluded it’s award season by handing out our annual Player of the Year Awards in each league. This year’s winners? Jacoby Ellsbury in the American League and Matt Kemp in the National.
Has anyone ever had a more quiet run at a Triple Crown than Matt Kemp? Has there ever been a better Rotisserie League campaign than Kemp’s 2011 season? The Dodger slugger was the lone bright spot in a lineup that, save for Andre Ethier‘s early season 23-game hitting streak, had little else going for it. In fact, no other Dodger regular appears in Fansided’s National League Player of the Year Top 30. Kemp led the senior circuit in HRs (39) and RBI (126). He finished 13 points shy of Jose Reyes for the batting title AND added 40 stolen bases finishing second to Atlanta’s Michael Bourn in swipes. Question: Has anyone ever won the Triple Crown AND gone 40-40 at some point during their career? Answer: No. Not even close. Had Kemp (.324/.399/.586) hit one more homer and had thee more hits a month during the year, he would have accomplished both historical feats IN THE SAME SEASON! Yet in seemed the mainstream media didn’t catch on the Kemp’s run until late in the season. Instead, the McCourt divorce drama dictated Dodger headlines all season long.
Where does Kemp rate historically among players that did actually the triple crown? The graph below shows where Kemp’s 8.7 WAR during this, his age 26 season rates among an elite group of Hall of Famers, and it’s better than you might expect:
Source: FanGraphs — Matt Kemp, Mickey Mantle, Joe Medwick
As you can see, Kemp’s age 26 season was on par with Frank Robinson‘s and Mickey Mantle‘s, trailing only Babe Ruth and Ted Williams among recent Triple Crown winners. (This just in: they’re pretty good.)
Kemp is clearly deserving of the NL Player of the Year award and in eight years when Fansided.com votes on it’s players of the decade, at this rate he’ll be in that discussion as well.
As for the AL Player of the Year all you really need to know about Jacoby Ellsbury’s season (.321/.376/.554) is this: because of his outstanding defense (the Red Sox center fielder’s 15.7 UZR was 20 percent better than the next best CF rating) Ellsbury’s 9.4 WAR this year is even higher than Kemp’s. Kemp had the nearly historical season in terms of counting stats. Ellsbury had the better year.
Topics: Andre Ethier, Babe Ruth, Boston Red Sox, Carl Yastrzemski, Frank Robinson, Jacoby Ellsbury, Joe Medwick, Jose Reyes, Los Angeles Dodgers, Matt Kemp, Michael Bourn, Mickey Mantle, Player Of The Year, Ted Williams