NL West Mt. Rushmore

If you caught last night’s Three Up, Three Down podcast…you rock. If you didn’t, you suck. But you have a chance at redemption! Click this link to take a listen!

Anyway, in our monumental 10th podcast, we talked briefly about Mariano Rivera and his knee injury. That led us to wonder who we would put on our Mt. Rushmore of the New York Yankees. Picking between Mo, Derek Jeter, Lou Gehrig, Babe Ruth, Mickey Mantle, Joe DiMaggio, Reggie Jackson (somebody stop me, I could go for days!) was nearly impossible. But we made it happen.

That got me wondering, who is on my division’s Mt. Rushmore right NOW. Not ever, because that would be just as difficult to choose. But right now, can I pick the four most epic, legendary players in my division and make up an NL West Mt. Rushmore? Here goes nothing:

After much deliberation, I’ve come up with four guys who have met certain criteria. You must have proven yourself to be a legitimate Cy Young or MVP candidate. You must give me good reason to believe that it’s not a fluke. And you can’t be 30 games into your career.

So, with all apologies to Buster Posey, Carlos Gonzalez, and other fantastic young players, the following are the Mt. Rushmore of the National League West right now.

1. Matt Kemp, Los Angeles Dodgers

Was there really any doubt? Not only is Kemp the best player in the division, but he’s the best in baseball. Kemp is still relatively young, but this is the fifth straight season he’s put up big numbers, and there is no doubt in my mind that he will add some MVP awards to his mantle soon.

2. Tim Lincecum, San Francisco Giants

I know this year has been a little rough for Timmy, but the absolute dominance he displayed at the beginning of his career can not be overlooked. He won two straight Cy Young awards and may have been snubbed for a third. Lincecum is still young and has time to fix whatever is wrong in 2012 and truly be a legendary pitcher.

3. Todd Helton, Colorado Rockies

Helton is a .322 career hitter, is in his 16th season in a Colorado uniform, plays great defense, and has one of the best plate approaches you’ll ever see. The old man (38 years old) can still rake, and will go down in Rockies lore as the most beloved, most productive hitter in the team’s history when he retires. Though he’s been the ultimate snub (no MVP awards, only five all-star appearances), Helton has a borderline case for Hall of Fame consideration.

4. Clayton Kershaw, Los Angeles Dodgers

This is my riskiest pick, as Kershaw is still a young gun. He did win the pitching Triple Crown last season and the Cy Young, but has he proved enough? The only other legitimate option for the fourth face of the NL West was Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, who despite immense talent, has only reached the 100-RBI plateau once so far. Kershaw has been compared by many to Dodger great Sandy Koufax. Only time will tell.

Let me know who YOUR picks are in the comments section!

– Jeremy (@Jamblinman)

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