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Archive for September 12th, 2011

In what has likely been the most dismal season in the 128-year history of the Dodgers’ franchise (some older Brooklyn residents might dispute that assertion), there have been a few stars shining out in Hollywood. Amid the dark clouds of financial distress, fan violence, and dwindling attendance, the Dodgers’ have managed to maintain respectability on the field thanks in large part to three men who could be in line for off-season recognition.

Although it seems as if the Cy Young is already being engraved with Roy Halladay’s name on it, Clayton Kershaw remains within striking distance of claiming the award. In fact, Kershaw actually enjoys a slight advantage over the Phillies’ ace in traditional statistics like wins, innings pitched and ERA in addition to striking out an extra batter per game. Although Halladay rates better in ERA+ and both calculations of WAR, the difference isn’t insurmountable, nor likely meaningful enough to resonate with what is still more of an “old school” voting bloc.

Clayton Kershaw vs. Other Cy Young Contenders

Player Tm IP W L SO ERA ERA+ OPSa+  BWAR fWAR
Clayton Kershaw LAD 213.2 18 5 231 2.36 156 59 6.0 6.6
Roy Halladay PHI 210.2 17 5 204 2.44 159 62 6.5 7.7
Cliff Lee PHI 210.2 16 7 211 2.44 159 66 6.3 6.2
Cole Hamels PHI 194 14 7 171 2.60 149 57 5.4 5.0
Ian Kennedy ARI 202 19 4 178 2.90 135 82 4.9 4.2

Source: Baseball-reference.com and fangraphs.com

Matt Kemp has an outside chance at finishing the year as a 40/40 man and incredibly remains in the running for a triple crown. Normally, a player pursuing either accomplishment, not to mention both, would garner daily national attention, but because of all the distractions surrounding the Dodgers, the center fielder’s potentially historic season has gone largely unnoticed. In addition to ranking among the leaders in most traditional statistical categories, Kemp is also a darling of the sabermetric crowd. His average WAR (bWAR+fWAR/2) easily ranks as the best in the National League, while his OPS+ and wOBA are not far off the pace. All things considered, Kemp has been the best player in the National League, but too many will discount his MVP credentials because the Dodgers have never been in the pennant race. Unfortunately, that sentiment is likely to cost him any chance at winning the award even though there isn’t a player in the league who has provided more value to his team.

Matt Kemp vs. Other MVP Contenders

Player Tm PO PA HR RBI BA OBP SLG OPS+ wOBA bWAR fWAR
Matt Kemp LAD CF 618 32 107 .317 .396 .561 165 .409 8.6 7.1
Ryan Braun MIL LF 573 27 96 .331 .398 .579 163 .427 6.8 6.5
Joey Votto CIN 1B 644 28 94 .320 .427 .553 165 .419 6.6 7.0
T. Tulowitzki COL SS 596 30 105 .306 .376 .552 135 .394 5.8 6.6
Justin Upton ARI RF 622 30 86 .299 .379 .551 150 .400 4.7 7.0

Source: Baseball-reference.com and fangraphs.com

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