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MLB.com names Kemp, Kershaw top Dodgers

MLB.com names Kemp, Kershaw top Dodgers

MLB.com names Kemp, Kershaw top Dodgers
LOS ANGELES -- Matt Kemp, Clayton Kershaw and Kenley Jansen have been named best Dodgers player, pitcher and breakout performer of 2011, respectively, as selected by MLB.com.

These awards only continued the postseason competition between Kemp and Kershaw -- the young stars that have become the faces of the franchise -- with the big announcements of MVP and Cy Young still to come. Relief pitcher Jansen, overshadowed most of the year by the emergence of rookie closer Javy Guerra, broke the Major League record for highest strikeout ratio per nine innings.

Kemp, 27, batted .324 (third in the National League) in 2011, while leading the NL in homers (39), RBIs (126), runs scored (115) and total bases (353). The 2011 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).

Team Awards 2011

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 his 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 Dodger 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. He is one of five players all-time to eclipse 30 homers, 35 stolen bases, 100 RBIs and a .310 average, joining Ken Williams (1922), Barry Bonds (1992), Alex Rodriguez (1998) and Vladimir Guerrero (2002).

"I worked hard in the offseason to try to get better, to stay on the field every game and have the chance to be one of the best players," said Kemp. "If I'm on the field helping, we have a chance to win games. I just feel that the hard work paid off, but there's a long road ahead of us."

Kershaw, also a 2011 All-Star, won the National League's Triple Crown for pitching, leading the league with 21 wins (tied), a 2.28 ERA and 248 strikeouts. Sandy Koufax and Dazzy Vance are the only other Dodgers pitchers to win the Triple Crown. Kershaw also was among league leaders in opponents batting average, innings pitched, complete games, shutouts and WHIP.

His wins and ERA were the best for a Dodgers starting pitcher since Orel Hershiser in 1988, and his strikeout total was the best for a Dodger since Sandy Koufax in 1966. Kershaw went 13-1 in the second half, 12-1 at Dodger Stadium and finished the season with eight consecutive wins.

"It's been an awesome year," Kershaw said after his final start of 2011. "Unfortunately we didn't make the playoffs, and I don't like a lot of personal stuff. Now it's time to look back a little. I had a lot of fun and I hope next year's the same."

Jansen, 24, showed a glimpse of his ability in a late 2010 callup, only a year after being converted from catcher. Still technically a rookie in 2011, he shook off a sore shoulder and irregular heartbeat to post remarkable strikeout numbers. The right-hander punched out 96 in 53 2/3 innings for a 16.1 rate per nine innings, breaking the MLB record that Carlos Marmol set a year earlier.

Jansen had a 0.55 ERA and .094 opponents' batting average over his last 31 games. For the season, he allowed only one of 21 inherited runners to score.

"This has been awesome," Jansen said last month. "Growing up as a kid, you dream of just playing in the big leagues. And here you are, you're pitching in big league games, and the next thing you know you've got an all-time record? It's amazing."

The awards deluge started before the season even ended, when Kemp was voted by teammates as winner of the Roy Campanella Award, which goes to the Dodger that best exemplifies the spirit and leadership of the late Hall of Famer.

Since the season ended, Kemp has also received a Rawlings Gold Glove Award, a Silver Slugger, the Hank Aaron Award, the Baseball America Player of the Year, the NL Stan Musial Award and was named a finalist for the Players Choice outstanding player in the NL. Additionally, he was named to The Sporting News NL All-Star team.

Kershaw, meanwhile, won a Gold Glove, the Warren Spahn Award as the best left-handed pitcher in MLB, was a finalist for the Players Choice outstanding pitcher in the NL and was named to The Sporting News NL All-Star team. He was also a finalist for the Roberto Clemente Award.

Andre Ethier also picked up his first Gold Glove Award, giving the Dodgers three Gold Glove winners in the same season for the first time in franchise history.

Kemp and Kershaw are up for the crown jewels of postseason awards, Kemp contending for the NL MVP and Kershaw for the NL Cy Young. The last time the Dodgers swept those awards was 1988 with Kirk Gibson and Hershiser.

National Awards
Roberto Clemente Award Relief Man of the Year NLCS MVP
Steve Garvey1981Eric Gagne2003-04Dusty Baker1977
Steve Garvey1978
Burt Hooton1981
Orel Hershiser1988
      
All-Star Game MVP World Series MVP Cy Young
Maury Wills1962 (Gm 1)Johnny Podres1955Don Newcombe1956
Steve Garvey1974, '78Larry Sherry1959Don Drysdale1962
Don Sutton1977Sandy Koufax1963, '65Sandy Koufax1963, '65-66
Mike Piazza1996Ron Cey, Pedro Guerrero, Steve Yeager1981Mike Marshall1974
Orel Hershiser1988Fernando Valenzuela1981
Orel Hershiser1988
Eric Gagne2003
      
MVP Comeback Player of Year ROY
Jake Daubert1913Phil Regan1966Jackie Robinson1947
Dazzy Vance1924Al Downing1971Don Newcombe1949
Dolph Camilli1941Jimmy Wynn1974Joe Black
Jackie Robinson1949Tommy John1976Jim Gilliam1953
Roy Campanella1951, '53, '55Jerry Reuss1980Frank Howard1960
Don Newcombe1956Pedro Guerrero1987Jim Lefebvre1965
Maury Wills1962Tim Leary1988Ted Sizemore1969
Sandy Koufax1963Orel Hershiser1991Rick Sutcliffe1979
Steve Garvey1974Tim Wallach1994Steve Howe1980
Kirk Gibson1988Nomar Garciaparra2006Fernando Valenzuela1981
Steve Sax1982
Eric Karros1992
Mike Piazza1993
Raul Mondesi1994
Hideo Nomo1995
Todd Hollandworth1996
Silver Slugger Rawlings Gold Glove This Year in Baseball
Dusty Baker1980-81Gil Hodges, 1B1957-59Hong-Chih Kuo2008
Fernando Valenzuela1981, '83Charlie Neal, 2B1959Juan Pierre2009
Pedro Guerrero1982Wally Moon, OF1960
Steve Sax1986John Roseboro, C1961, '66
Kirk Gibson1988Maury Wills, SS1961-62
Tim Leary1988Wes Parker, 1B1967-72
Eddie Murray1990Willie Davis, OF1971-73
Mike Piazza1993-97Steve Garvey, 1B1974-77
Orel Hershiser1993Andy Messersmith, P1974-75
Eric Karros1995Davey Lopes, 2B1978
Adrian Beltre2004Dusty Baker, OF1981
Jeff Kent2005Fernando Valenzuela, P1986
Russell Martin2007Orel Hershiser, P1988
Matt Kemp2009Raul Mondesi, OF1995, '97
Andre Ethier2009Charles Johnson, C1998
Cesar Izturis, SS2004
Steve Finley, OF2004
Greg Maddux, P2006, '08
Russell Martin, C2007
Matt Kemp, OF2009
Orlando Hudson, 2B2009

Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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