Kemp had the better of it in raw numbers.
Kemp batted .324 with 39 homers, 126 RBIs and 40 steals but for a Dodgers team that finished 11 1/2 games out of first place in the NL West. Braun hit .332 with 33 home runs, 111 RBIs and 33 stolen bases but his club won the division title.
Ken Gurnick of MLB.com noted: "Nonetheless, 2011 was a remarkable turnaround for Kemp, who struggled through a 2010 season that included criticism from general manager Ned Colletti, a benching by manager Joe Torre, friction with the coaching staff and a lack of focus and hustle. None of that was the case this year, as Kemp was at ease with new manager Don Mattingly and a remodeled coaching staff.
"It was the staff as a whole, and I can tell you that from Day One this year, all Matt talked about was how happy he was to go to the park each day," said Dave Stewart, Kemp's agent and a former Dodger. "He enjoyed playing for Joe -- I know that for a fact -- but he was also more comfortable this year. "But a lot of things took place for Matt that needed to happen, and it starts with Mattingly keeping him in one spot [cleanup] in the batting order all year long. Players look for stability, and for a number of years, Matt batted anywhere from one to nine in the lineup, and that's unsettling."
The 27-year-old Kemp batted .324 (third in the NL) with 39 home runs and 126 RBIs in 2011, leading the NL in homers, RBIs, runs scored (115) and total bases (353). The 2011 NL All-Star also finished among league leaders in multihit games (57, tied for first), hits (195, second), slugging percentage (.586, second), extra-base hits (76, second), stolen bases (40, tied for second), on-base percentage (.399, fourth) and walks (74, tied for eighth).
Kemp became the seventh player in Major League history to finish the season ranked in the top three in homers, batting average, RBIs and stolen bases in their respective league, joining Hall of Famers Ty Cobb (1907, 1909-11), Honus Wagner (1908), George Sisler (1920), Chuck Klein (1932), Willie Mays (1955) and Hank Aaron (1963).
In addition, he was the first Dodgers player to lead the NL in home runs and RBIs since Dolph Camilli in 1941 and the first Dodger in history to lead the NL in homers, RBIs and runs scored. The last Dodgers player to finish second in the MVP voting was Adrian Beltre in 2004.
Kemp is one of five players all time to eclipse 30 homers, 35 stolen bases, 100 RBIs and a .310 batting average, joining Ken Williams (1922), Barry Bonds (1992), Alex Rodriguez (1998) and Vladimir Guerrero (2002).
This year, Kemp was voted by teammates as the winner of the Roy Campanella Award, which goes to the Dodgers player who best exemplifies the spirit and leadership of the late Hall of Famer. He's also received the Hank Aaron Award as the most outstanding offensive player in the NL, the Baseball America Player of the Year and the NL Stan Musial Award, presented by the Baseball Bloggers Alliance. Kemp won a Gold Glove Award and a Silver Slugger Award, and he was named Players Choice Outstanding Player in the NL and was named to The Sporting News NL All-Star team.
Last week at the announcement of his new eight-year contract, Kemp was asked about competing with Braun and Prince Fielder for the MVP Award.
The BBWA members are asked to vote for 10, and the votes are weighted 14-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1.
The Dodgers didn't receive a single vote in the 2010 Most Valuable Player voting. Andre Ethier finished sixth and Matt Kemp 10th in 2009.
N.L. MOST VALUABLE PLAYER TOTALS 1st 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 total Ryan Braun, Mil 20 12 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 388 Matt Kemp, LA 10 16 6 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 332 Prince Fielder, Mil 1 4 11 9 1 3 0 2 0 1 229 Justin Upton, DBacks 1 0 8 11 6 3 1 1 0 1 214 Albert Pujols, St.L 0 0 8 6 11 6 4 0 2 0 166 Joey Votto, Cin 0 0 4 3 2 8 3 3 4 1 135 Lance Berkman, St.L 0 0 1 2 6 3 7 2 4 3 118 Troy Tulowizki, Colo 0 0 0 0 0 3 4 8 5 4 69 Roy Halladay, Phil 0 0 1 0 1 1 5 2 0 3 52 Ryan Howard, Phil 0 0 0 1 3 1 1 0 1 3 39 Other points: Jose Reyes NY 31, Clayton Kershaw LA 29; Shane Victorino, Phils 18; Ian Kennedy DBacks 16; Cliff Lee Phils 12; Hunter Pence Houston/Phils 10; Pablo Sandoval, SF 7; John Axford Mil 7; Michael Morse Wash 5; Carlos Beltran NY/SF 3; Miguel Montero DBacks 2; Yadier Molina St.L 2; Craig Kimbrel Atl 1; Carlos Ruiz Phils 1; Mike Stanton, Fla 1.
All-time Dodger MVPs
Kemp's nine points for finishing second and a point for finishing 10th in 2009 boosts his total points to 10.
Dodger players have been ranked in the annual MVP voting since 1913, although no official MVP voting was conducted during 1915-23 or in 1930.
For the all-time Brooklyn/Los Angeles rankings, players are awarded points similar to the MVP voting, with 14 for a first place vote, nine for second, etc. Players are ranked by total points earned over their Dodgers' career.
Jake Daubert was the first winner in 1913, followed by Dazzy Vance in 1924, Dolph Camilli in 1941, Jackie Robinson in 1949, Campanella in 1951, 1953, and 1955, Don Newcombe in 1956, Maury Wills in 1962, Sandy Koufax in 1963, Steve Garvey in 1974 and Kirk Gibson in 1988.
Brackets indicate times each was picked in the top ten. The * indicates he won the MVP award:
Career Player Points 35 - *Steve Garvey (5) 32 - Mike Piazza (5) 31 - *Roy Campanella (4) 30 - Duke Snider (6) 29 - Pee Wee Reese (8) 28 - *Sandy Koufax (3) 25 - *Jackie Robinson (4) 25 - *Maury Wills (4) 23 - Pedro Guerrero (3) 17 - *Don Newcombe (3) Others career vote totals-- 16—*Dolph Camilli, Pete Reiser, Dixie Walker, *Dazzy Vance 16 13—*Kirk Gibson, Reggie Smith; Jake Daubert 13 12—Tommy Davis, Don Drysdale and Jim Gilliam 12 11—Dusty Baker, Shawn Green, 11. 10—Matt Kemp 10. Nine—Adrian Beltré, Babe Herman, Sal Maglie, Zach Wheat. Eight—Joe Black, Gil Hodges, Mike Marshall, Lefty O'Doul, Whitlow Wyatt. Seven—Bruce Edwards, Carl Furillo, Billy Herman, Wally Moon, Mickey Owen, Manny Ramirez and Ron Perranoski. Six—Freddy Fitzsimmons, Eric Karros, Eddie Murray, Wes Parker, Preacher Roe, Fernando Valenzuela, Jim Wynn. Five—Andre Ethier, Eric Gagné, Orel Hershiser. Four—Brett Butler, Kirby Higbe, Charlie Neal, Phil Regan, Eddie Stanky, Glenn Wright. Three—Ron Cey, Leo Durocher, Frank Howard. Two—Carl Erskine, Jake Fournier, Gary Sheffield. One—Al Downing, Luke Hamlin, Al Lopez, Goody Rosen, Darryl Strawberry.New Labor Agreement Signed
Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association have reached a preliminary agreement on a new Basic Agreement.
The new deal through the 2016 season gives MLB a span of 21 years of labor peace since the strike-shortened 1994 season and delayed start of the '95 season. The current CBA, signed in 2006, was set to expire on Dec. 11. The new agreement needs to be formalized in writing and ratified independently by the players and owners.
The new CBA will include a raise in the minimum salary from $414,000 this year to $480,000 in 2012, and ultimately to more than $500,000; blood testing for human growth hormone as early as next spring, with a 50-game suspension for a first failed test; a luxury tax on teams that spend above an agreed-upon figure for players signed through the annual First-Year Player Draft; and changes in Draft-pick compensation for the signing of ranked free agents.
Both changes announced were resolved in collective bargaining because they involved scheduling. It will be the first change in the postseason since the Wild Cards were added and MLB went to a three-division format in both leagues in 1994. It will be the first realignment since the Brewers moved from the AL to the NL in 1998, ushering in the era of Interleague Play.
The players were largely in favor of evening the two leagues at 15 teams apiece, with each of the six divisions holding five teams, for competitive-balance reasons.