Close calls for Kemp, Kershaw in MVP, Cy Young races

Top National League Cy Young Award candidates
(bold text signifies leader among contenders)

IP ERA ERA+ WAR (B-R.com) WAR (Fangraphs) WHIP K/9
Roy Halladay 210 2/3 2.44 159 6.5 7.7 1.049 8.7
Cole Hamels 194 2.60 149 5.4 5.0 0.954 7.9
Ian Kennedy 202 2.90 135 4.8 4.2 1.109 7.9
Clayton Kershaw 213 2/3 2.36 156 6.0 6.6 1.002 9.7
Cliff Lee 203 2/3 2.47 157 6.0 5.9 1.031 9.0

How I might rank them today:
1) Halladay
2) Kershaw
3) Lee
4) Hamels
5) Kennedy

While you can certainly make a top-flight argument for Kershaw, it’s hard to make a top-flight one against Halladay – which I think is significant since because seems like it has been Halladay’s award to lose for a while now.

Top National League MVP candidates
(bold text signifies leader among contenders)

PA OPS OPS+ HR RBI SB TAV (BP) WAR (B-R) WAR (Fangraphs)
Ryan Braun 564 .981 163 27 95 31 .339 6.7 6.3
Prince Fielder 624 .940 153 31 108 0 .316 3.9 4.2
Matt Kemp 609 .962 166 32 107 38 .341 8.7 6.9
Albert Pujols 569 .919 153 34 87 7 .317 5.1 5.1
Troy Tulowitzki 591 .930 135 30 103 9 .306 5.8 6.6
Justin Upton 615 .933 151 30 85 20 .315 4.6 6.9
Shane Victorino 506 .893 141 15 56 18 .319 5.1 6.3
Joey Votto 636 .967 161 26 91 7 .331 6.2 6.5

How I might rank them today:
1) Kemp
2) Upton
3) Braun
4) Tulowitzki
5) Victorino

Among other subjective observations, I would argue that 1) Kemp has had the worst lineup of the contenders surrounding him and had to carry more of the burden of his team, 2) none of the other top contenders are in any kind of pressure-filled pennant race.

Kershaw and Kemp still have work to do, but there’s still a good chance that they could win the awards. They would be the 19th teammates to do so but the first to win the awards simultaneously for a losing team (if the Dodgers don’t win 81 games, or 10 of their last 18.)

Kemp and Kershaw also remain contenders for the batting and pitching triple crowns. Kershaw leads the NL in ERA and strikeouts and trails Kennedy in victories by one. Since the Cy Young Award was established, no pitcher who has led his league in wins, ERA and strikeouts has failed to win the Cy Young Award, according to ESPN Stats and Information.

2007 Jake Peavy
2006 Johan Santana
2002 Randy Johnson
1999 Pedro Martinez
1998 Roger Clemens
1997 Roger Clemens
1985 Dwight Gooden
1972 Steve Carlton
1966 Sandy Koufax
1965 Sandy Koufax
1963 Sandy Koufax

For the batting triple crown, Kemp trails Jose Reyes in batting average by .016, Pujols in homers by two and Ryan Howard in RBI by four. Can he pass them by in a 161-game season?

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