This statistical run-down comes courtesy of Mark Simon with ESPN Stats and Information.
With 3 games left in the season, Matt Kemp has a slim chance to be the first Triple Crown winner since Carl Yastrzemski won it with the 1967 Red Sox. He would be the first Triple Crown winner from a National League team since Joe Medwick of the 1937 Cardinals.
Kemp trails in the batting race by nine points and needs a hot streak to have a chance to win.
To win the Triple Crown, a player must lead his league in batting average, home runs, and RBI. Kemp leads the NL in RBI and is closing in on the lead in batting average and home runs.
Past Triple Crown winners
Carl Yastrzemski; 1967 Red Sox (MVP)
Frank Robinson; 1966 Orioles (MVP)
Mickey Mantle; 1956 Yankees (MVP)
Ted Williams; 1947 Red Sox (Not MVP
Ted Williams; 1942 Red Sox (Not MVP)
Joe Medwick; 1937 Cardinals (MVP)
Lou Gehrig; 1934 Yankees (Not MVP)
Chuck Klein; 1933 Phillies (Not MVP)
Jimmie Foxx; 1933 Athletics (MVP)
Rogers Hornsby; 1925 Cardinals (MVP)
Rogers Hornsby; 1922 Cardinals (No MVP awarded)
>> All members of Baseball Hall of Fame
Current NL Leader Boards
BATTING AVERAGE- Ryan Braun, Milwaukee, .333; Jose Reyes, New York, .331; Matt Kemp, Los Angeles, .324; Hunter Pence, Philadelphia, .313; Joey Votto, Cincinnati, .312
HOME RUNS-Matt Kemp, Los Angeles, 37; Albert Pujols, St. Louis, 37; Prince Fielder, Milwaukee, 35; Dan Uggla, Atlanta, 35; Mike Stanton, Florida, 34; Ryan Braun, Milwaukee, 33; Ryan Howard, Philadelphia, 33
RBI-Matt Kemp, Los Angeles, 119; Ryan Howard, Philadelphia, 115; Prince Fielder, Milwaukee, 114; Ryan Braun, Milwaukee, 110; Troy Tulowitzki, Colorado, 105
Matt Kemp - Current 2011 NL Ranks
BA.3253rd (Ryan Braun, .333)
Three games to go
The Dodgers have 3 games left with the Diamondbacks, all on the road. This could be advantageous to Kemp, because it ensures the Dodgers 9 innings of at-bats per game (instead of 8).
Kemp is hitting .310 with 5 HR and 16 RBI in 15 games against the Diamondbacks this season.
Pitching Probables, Next 3 Days:
Monday: Daniel Hudson; Kemp is 2-8 career vs Hudson
Tuesday: Jarrod Parker; 1st round pick in 2007 making MLB debut
Wednesday: Joe Saunders; Kemp has .333 BA, 3 HR, 9-27 career vs Saunders
With 37 home runs and 40 stolen bases, Kemp also has a chance to become the 5th 40-40 player in MLB history. The other four are: Jose Canseco (1988 Athletics), Barry Bonds (1996 Giants), Alex Rodriguez (1998 Mariners), and Alfonso Soriano (2006 Nationals).
** Important to note;: The Dodgers have only 3 games remaining. They will finish with 161 games because their September 8 game with the Nationals was rained out and canceled.
Here is a list of near-Triple Crown winners, not a complete list, but for reference purposes. The requirements were to either lead in a category or be within 3 HR, 7 RBI and 7 percentage points in batting average at the end of the season. Also listed are the leaders numbers (and the rank in the categories missed), from the Elias Sports Bureau.
Billy Williams, 1972 Cubs .333/37/122 .333/40/125 3rd in HR, 2nd in RBI
Hank Aaron, 1963 Braves .319/44/130 .326/44/130 3rd in BA
Al Rosen, 1953 Indians .336/43/145 .337/43/145 2nd in BA
Ted Williams, 1949 Red Sox .343/43/159 .343/43/159 2nd in BA
Stan Musial, 1948 Cardinals .376/39/131 .376/40/131 3rd in HR
Ted Williams, 1941 Red Sox .406/37/120 .406/37/125 4th in RBI
Jimmie Foxx, 1932 Athletics .364/58/169 .367/58/169 2nd in BA
Babe Ruth, 1926 Yankees .372/47/150 .378/47/150 2nd in BA
** It’s actually common for a player to lead his league in two of the three Triple Crown categories. In fact, it’s happened in every MLB season from 2005 to 2010.
Led League in 2 of 3 Triple Crown Categories, Last 6 Seasons
Albert Pujols2010 CardinalsHR & RBI
Mark Teixeira2009 YankeesHR & RBI
Ryan Howard2008 PhilliesHR & RBI
Alex Rodriguez2007 YankeesHR & RBI
Ryan Howard2006 PhilliesHR & RBI
Andruw Jones2005 BravesHR & RBI
Players to Finish in Top-3 in All 3 Triple Crown Categories
National League, Last 15 Seasons (1997-2011)
Matt Kemp<< 2011 Dodgers
Joey Votto 2010 Reds
Albert Pujols 2009 Cardinals
Albert Pujols 2006 Cardinals
Albert Pujols 2005 Cardinals
Larry Walker 1997 Rockies
>>Would be 1st over span to lead two categories
The two primary obstacles in Kemp’s way are that he needs to hang even with Albert Pujols for the NL HR lead, and he needs to overcome an 8-point deficit and 2 players in the NL batting race.
The Brewers figure to rest Ryan Braun at least once in the next 3 games, and probably will have the luxury of protecting his batting title lead. Jose Reyes will likely play the final three games of the season for the Mets.
Kemp is hitting .324 at the moment (191-for-589). If we figure he has 13 at-bats remaining, he needs at least 5 hits to raise his batting average. Here’s how he would finish with various hit combinations in his final 13 at-bats.
Matt Kemp’s 2011 Batting Average, if he has . . .
5 hits in last 13 AB.326 (196/602)
6 hits in last 13 AB.327 (197/602)
7 hits in last 13 AB.329 (198/602)
8 hits in last 13 AB.331 (199/602)
9 hits in last 13 AB.332 (200/602)
10 hits in last 13 AB.334 (201/602)
11 hits in last 13 AB.336 (202/602)
12 hits in last 13 AB.337 (203/602)
13 hits in last 13 AB.339 (204/602)
From that chart, we can note that so long as Ryan Braun maintains his current .333 pace, Matt Kemp would have to go at least 10-for-13 to beat him (and hope that Jose Reyes didn’t have a good 3 games).
Notes on the last 3 Triple Crown winners
Mickey Mantle, 1956 Yankees
* .353 BA (won by 8 points), 52 HR (won by 20 HR), 130 RBI (won by 2). He led the major leagues in all 3 categories
* Mantle was 3 points behind Ted Williams on the batting race at the end of games on September 15, but closed strong, hitting .429 with 4 HR and 11 RBI in his last 12 games, driving in a run in each of the final 3 games of the season.
* Yankees won World Series, defeating Dodgers in 7 games. Mantle hit .250 with 3 HR and 4 RBI in the World Series.
Frank Robinson 1966 Orioles
* .316 BA (won by 9 points), 49 HR (won by 10 HR), 122 RBI (won by 12 RBI). He led the majors in HR.
* Robinson set the tone by homering in the first 3 games of the season. He hit .405 with 7 HR and 13 RBI in the season’s first 20 games.
* Orioles won World Series by sweeping Dodgers
Carl Yastrzemski, 1967 Red Sox
* .326 BA (won by 15 points), 44 HR (tied with Harmon Killebrew), 121 RBI (won by 8 RBI). He led not just the AL, but the major leagues in HR and RBI.
* Yastrzemski trailed Frank Robinson by 22 points in the batting race through games of September 2 (.331 to .309). He hit .422 with 9 HR and 25 RBI in the final 25 games of the season, going 7-for-8 with a home run and 6 RBI in the final 2 days to win the Triple Crown.
* Red Sox lost World Series to Cardinals in 7 games