An Open Letter to The Baseball Writers of America
Dear Baseball Writers of America,
Before you capriciously award your MVP the the Brewers’ Ryan Braun, here are a few items you should consider when making that decision.
We are all well aware that the Brewers are making the playoffs this year. Which is to say, they held off a tanking Cardinals team in a division that has hapless teams like the Cincinnati Reds, Chicago Cubs and Houston Astros. The Dodgers will end up .500 or better this year, which has to be considered an great accomplishment considering their lack of activity in free agency and the turmoil going on in the front office. And before you malign the NL West, you should know that the West will end up with three teams with winning seasons. The other two divisions will only have two.
The Dodgers have only one player with more than 20 home runs. That is Matt Kemp. In fact, Kemp has as many as the next three Dodgers. Rod Barajas (who?) has 16, and Loney and Ethier each have 11, or 38 total. I illustrate this to underscore that Kemp has put this MVP campaign together without any real protection.
Here’s some more statistical morsels to chew on:
Matt Kemp leads his team in each of the 9 significant batting categories:
- Batting Average
- Home Runs
- Runs Scored
- On-Base Percentage
- Slugging Percentage
- OPS (On-Base Percentage & Slugging Percentage)
Ryan Braun leads his team in only 4 of those categories. The Milwaukee Brewers are 6th in Baseball in slugging percentage; the Dodgers are 24th. The Brewers have 5 guys with sluggingpercentages over .450… The Dodgers only have Matt Kemp. Kemp also leads his team in Stolen Bases and Outfileld assists, and is 2nd in the National League in both of those categories.
Kemp leads the NL in two of the three triple crown categories. Ryan Braun doesn’t even lead his team in two of those three. Sure, Kemp will likely lose the Triple Crown, being just points behind Braun and Jose Reyes, but he will also likely win a Gold Glove at his position.
They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Well, if that’s true, then these two pictures should be worth 100+ first place votes. When you pull the team stats, you see Kemp leads his team in all significant categories. You see Prince Fielder’s ugly mug three times and Braun’s but twice.
If you want to look at Sabermetrics, the more “Moneyball” way to look at performance, you will notice Kemp is on top in the metric RC “Runs Created” and close to the top on every other category. The other thing you will notice is there are two Brewers that follow him. That symbiosis cannot be ignored; clearly, one would not be as good without the other. So while Braun and Fielder are an impressive duo, Matt Kemp is the more impressive singular entity, and that’s really what the MVP is all about.
The unfortunate thing for Kemp is that Clayton Kershaw is likely to win the Cy Young award. This award is also given by you silly Baseball Writers of America. Perhaps, when you enter your voting booths, you will will try justify not awarding Kemp MVP because you are going to award Cy Young to another Dodger.
Also, you egotistic wordsmiths will rationalize that the Dodgers are not going to make the playoffs. Even though MVP voting takes place before the postseason, you keyboard-jockeys have historically awarded the MVP to players on teams with post-season births. Lastly, the lot of you columnists, correspondents and — ehh hmm — journalist have proven to have political agendas as evidenced by your Hall-of-Fame inductee voting. Players like Pete Rose and, more recently, Mark Maguire and Barry Bonds, will likely never get your votes because of off-field issues. If Selig had his way, I’m sure he’d rather that you scribllers-of-truth throw as little positive attention to the Dodgers’ as possible, since he’s trying to wrestle the team from Frank McCourt.
So, if you writers want to “maintain” some journalistic integrity, you should award the National League Kenesaw Mountain Landis Memorial Baseball Award (MVP) to the player who is most valuable to his team. Clearly, Matt Kemp is that man.
Disgruntled in L.A.
p.s. Shouldn’t you change the name of your organization to “Baseball Writers of North America?” After all, we have some contingencies north of the border, don’t we now hosers?