Matt Kemp: Future MVP?
One of my favorite young players is Matt Kemp, and with Opening Day almost upon us, I want to bring him up again.
We did a Not a Rookie on him back in 2008
A year ago, I asked this True/False Question
Matt Kemp will be an All-Star and an MVP candidate this year, hitting over .300 with 20+ homers, 30+ steals, and improved strike zone judgment.
The voting ended up 55% no, 45% yes.
As long as Albert Pujols is Albert Pujols, Kemp will have a hard challenge for MVP, but his 2009 season was close to what the question predicted. He finished at .297/.352/.490, with 26 homers and 34 steals. His walk rate improved slightly, and his strikeouts dropped slightly. He didn't make the All-Star Team, but he did win a Gold Glove and a Silver Slugger award. His Power/Speed number of 29.5 was second in the National League. His WAR was 5.5.
Looking at comparable players, Sim Scores brings up the following names through age 24: Nick Markakis, Carlos Beltran, Vernon Wells, Enos Slaughter, Ellis Burks, Bobby Bonds, Ellis Valentine, Rocco Baldelli, Bug Holliday (strong player from the 1890s), and Andre Dawson. Top Ten PECOTA comps are Roberto Kelly, Burks, Duke Snider, Chili Davis, Dawson, Raul Mondesi, Leon Durham, Franklin Gutierrez, Reggie Smith, and Coco Crisp (?). Other PECOTAs of note are Dave Winfield at 13, Carlos Beltran at 14, Vada Pinson at 15, and Andruw Jones at 18. Note the presence of Burks, Dawson, and Beltran on both lists. Also note Hall of Famers Slaughter, Dawson, Snider, and Winfield, plus Vada Pinson and Reggie Smith were better than some guys in the Hall.
Looking at this list, Kemp is in some elite company. So with these comps in mind, let me ask this question to spur some discussion:
Will Matt Kemp win an MVP Award sometime in his career?