Matt Kemp: Is He the Best All-Around Player in Baseball?

Christopher BenvieCorrespondent IIApril 4, 2012

GLENDALE, AZ - MARCH 08:  Matt Kemp #27 of the Los Angeles Dodgers bats against the Milwaukee Brewers during the first inning of the spring training game at Camelback Ranch on March 30, 2012 in Glendale, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Number 27 has only been an All-Star once in his career.

That being said, Matt Kemp, in my opinion, is still the best player in baseball today.

Don't let the All-Star nominations fool you.  Dodger fans know that the one-time All-Star is a two-time Gold Glove and Silver Slugger Award winner and came in second in the 2011 NL MVP race.

Of course, there are those of us that feel he should have been the MVP, but I digress.

While that opinion can be debated, one thing not up for debate is the steady increase in value that Matt Kemp has had for the Los Angeles Dodgers.  

Originally coming up with the team in 2006, Kemp only played in 52 games, batting .253 in 166 plate appearances. While that was not a mind-blowing number, his play was inspiring and gave hope to a Dodgers franchise that was in need of a, well, hero.

In home run totals alone, Kemp has never regressed. From his meager beginnings hitting just seven, to leading the NL in 2011 with 39, he has been a monster at the plate.

As for speed, Kemp has flashed his brilliance there as well, stealing 34, 35 and 40 bags respectively in three of the past four seasons (only taking 19 in 2010).

Kemp is a run producer in many ways. He can drive runs in (leading the NL with 126 RBI in 2011) as well as score them (also leading the NL in runs in 2011 with 115).

His defense speaks for itself.  As I've mentioned, Kemp may only have one All-Star appearance on his resume, but in his short career, he has racked up two Gold Glove Awards already.

While his .986 OPS did not lead the league, it does show the obvious: Matt Kemp is a prolific hitter.

Many can argue that X player is better than Kemp.  In given categories that may be true, but looking at Kemp as a whole package, he is the definition of a pure baseball player.

The Dodgers are fortunate enough to be in the position to finally rebound as a franchise and lucky to have Kemp in town to be the face of the franchise for the next eight seasons.