MLB.com names Kemp, Kershaw top Dodgers
Reliever Jansen awarded Dodgers' Breakout Player of Year
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).
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.
|Roberto Clemente Award||Relief Man of the Year||NLCS MVP|
|Steve Garvey||1981||Eric Gagne||2003-04||Dusty Baker||1977|
|All-Star Game MVP||World Series MVP||Cy Young|
|Maury Wills||1962 (Gm 1)||Johnny Podres||1955||Don Newcombe||1956|
|Steve Garvey||1974, '78||Larry Sherry||1959||Don Drysdale||1962|
|Don Sutton||1977||Sandy Koufax||1963, '65||Sandy Koufax||1963, '65-66|
|Mike Piazza||1996||Ron Cey, Pedro Guerrero, Steve Yeager||1981||Mike Marshall||1974|
|Orel Hershiser||1988||Fernando Valenzuela||1981|
|MVP||Comeback Player of Year||ROY|
|Jake Daubert||1913||Phil Regan||1966||Jackie Robinson||1947|
|Dazzy Vance||1924||Al Downing||1971||Don Newcombe||1949|
|Dolph Camilli||1941||Jimmy Wynn||1974||Joe Black|
|Jackie Robinson||1949||Tommy John||1976||Jim Gilliam||1953|
|Roy Campanella||1951, '53, '55||Jerry Reuss||1980||Frank Howard||1960|
|Don Newcombe||1956||Pedro Guerrero||1987||Jim Lefebvre||1965|
|Maury Wills||1962||Tim Leary||1988||Ted Sizemore||1969|
|Sandy Koufax||1963||Orel Hershiser||1991||Rick Sutcliffe||1979|
|Steve Garvey||1974||Tim Wallach||1994||Steve Howe||1980|
|Kirk Gibson||1988||Nomar Garciaparra||2006||Fernando Valenzuela||1981|
|Silver Slugger||Rawlings Gold Glove||This Year in Baseball|
|Dusty Baker||1980-81||Gil Hodges, 1B||1957-59||Hong-Chih Kuo||2008|
|Fernando Valenzuela||1981, '83||Charlie Neal, 2B||1959||Juan Pierre||2009|
|Pedro Guerrero||1982||Wally Moon, OF||1960|
|Steve Sax||1986||John Roseboro, C||1961, '66|
|Kirk Gibson||1988||Maury Wills, SS||1961-62|
|Tim Leary||1988||Wes Parker, 1B||1967-72|
|Eddie Murray||1990||Willie Davis, OF||1971-73|
|Mike Piazza||1993-97||Steve Garvey, 1B||1974-77|
|Orel Hershiser||1993||Andy Messersmith, P||1974-75|
|Eric Karros||1995||Davey Lopes, 2B||1978|
|Adrian Beltre||2004||Dusty Baker, OF||1981|
|Jeff Kent||2005||Fernando Valenzuela, P||1986|
|Russell Martin||2007||Orel Hershiser, P||1988|
|Matt Kemp||2009||Raul Mondesi, OF||1995, '97|
|Andre Ethier||2009||Charles Johnson, C||1998|
|Cesar Izturis, SS||2004|
|Steve Finley, OF||2004|
|Greg Maddux, P||2006, '08|
|Russell Martin, C||2007|
|Matt Kemp, OF||2009|
|Orlando Hudson, 2B||2009|
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.