The Los Angeles Dodgers as a team were rather ordinary in 2011, finishing with a 82-79 record but well out of playoff contention. However, they did have two extraordinary individual seasons from Clayton Kershaw and Matt Kemp, and those two were honored Thursday night with the Major League Baseball Players Choice Awards.
Kershaw was voted by his peers, his fellow MLB players, as the Most Outstanding Pitcher in the National League, while Kemp was voted as Most Outstanding Player.
Kershaw was 21-5 with a 2.28 ERA and 248 strikeouts this season, winning the NL pitching triple crown. He beat out fellow finalists Roy Halladay of the Philadelphia Phillies and Ian Kennedy of the Arizona Diamondbacks. Kershaw is the second Dodger to win this award, along with Eric Gagne, who was NL Outstanding Pitcher in 2003.
Kemp led the NL with 39 home runs, 126 runs batted in, and 115 runs, and finished third with a .324 batting average. Kemp came relatively close to the triple crown as he was within .003 of the lead in batting average in the final week of the season, but he ultimately fell short. Kemp also stole 40 bases, becoming the first major leaguer to finish in the top two in the league in both home runs and stolen bases since Hank Aaron in 1963.
Kemp is the first Dodger to win Most Outstanding Player, which has been given out since 1993. Kemp beat out fellow finalists Ryan Braun of the Milwaukee Brewers and Justin Upton of the Arizona Diamondbacks.
The Baseball Writers Association of America will begin announcing their awards next week. The NL Cy Young will be announced on November 17, and the NL MVP will be revealed on November 22.
For more on the Dodgers, be sure to read True Blue LA.