It's somewhat difficult to understand the reasoning behind voters choosing Ryan Braun over Matt Kemp for the National League MVP.
Voters apparently chose to go with Braun because the Milwaukee Brewers made the playoffs, and the Los Angeles Dodgers finished several games behind the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Matt Kemp was the best player in the league this year, said Tim Kurkjian, of ESPN. But Ryan Braun played on a team that played a meaningful game everyday and that's why he won the MVP.
Braun earned the honor on Tuesday upon receiving 20-of-32 first-place votes and 388 points in voting announced by the Baseball Writers' Association of America. Kemp came in second, despite putting up Triple Crown numbers.
Though Kemp's numbers were better, Braun put up excellent numbers. The left fielder led the league with a .597 slugging percentage and was second with a .332 batting average. Braun finished with 33 homers, 111 RBIs and stole 33 bases.
But Kemp won the Gold Glove while playing a more demanding position, center field. Kemp had six more homers, 15 more RBIs and was third in average -- just eight points behind Braun. He also had seven more stolen bases than Braun.
Kemp put up his numbers in the pitching-rich NL West, and played in a pitchers' park, Dodger Stadium. Meanwhile, Braun had a super-star bat behind him in Prince Fielder, and Kemp had little protection in the lineup.
There may also be the Clayton Kershaw factor. Because the Dodgers' ace won the Cy Young, voters didn't want to reward the Dodgers with two individual awards when Los Angeles barely finished above .500.
Braun certainly deserved to be in the mix to win the award, and certainly deserved to come in second, but Kemp put up the numbers and had the intangibles working in his favor.
Kemp should not be penalized for not having the talent around him to make the playoffs.