How he can win: Kemp was the runner-up to Braun in the 2011 MVP race then injury shortened his 2012 season and kept him out of the mix at the end of last year. Kemp’s ‘11 season may have been the best any player had that year, as he smacked 39 homers, knocked home 126 runs, scored 115 times and got on base at a .399 clip. In the 106 games he played last year, he wasn’t too far off the ’11 pace, hitting 23 homers with a .367 OBP. An injury-free season could be all Kemp needs to grab the award as he reaches his peak at age 28.
Why he might not: It’s clear that 2011 was a breakout year for Kemp, but it was also his only full season that truly gave him an MVP shot. In previous years, he had never hit .300 or exceeded 28 home runs. He lacks the consistency of players like Braun, and last year showed his vulnerability to injury.