LOS ANGELES (CBS) — Two key players on the Los Angeles Dodgers were named as winners of Major League Baseball’s Players Choice Awards on Friday, marking an upbeat end to an otherwise disappointing season.
Matt Kemp earned the title of National League Outstanding Player after a breakout season with the Los Angeles Dodgers, while National League Outstanding Pitcher honors were awarded to Clayton Kershaw.
Kemp paced all National League hitters with 115 runs, 39 home runs and 126 RBIs this season to become the first Dodger ever to lead the NL in all three categories.
The All-Star centerfielder and second-time Gold Glove winner also stole 40 bases, collected 195 hits and batted .324 for the season, including a clutch .335 average with runners in scoring position, to secure his first Silver Slugger award.
Kemp is just the fifth player ever in MLB history to reach 30 home runs, 100 RBIs, 35 stolen bases, and a .310 batting average in a season — a distinction shared with all-time sluggers Ken Williams (1922), Barry Bonds (1992), Alex Rodriguez (1998) and Vladimir Guerrero (2002).
Kershaw, meanwhile, captured the National League pitching Triple Crown with a dazzling season in which he led the Senior Circuit with 21 wins (tie), a 2.28 ERA and 248 strikeouts.
The lefty ace’s ERA and win totals were the most by a Dodgers pitcher since Orel Hershiser in 1988, while his strikeout total was the Dodgers’ best since Sandy Koufax struck out 317 in 1966.
Kershaw, a Gold Glove winner and All-Star, also finished first among National League pitchers in opposing batting average (.207) and WHIP (0.98), second in shutouts (2) and third in innings pitched (233.1) and complete games (5).
The awards — which the players themselves recognize their peers’ most outstanding and inspiring performances — were announced Thursday on MLB Network during an exclusive Players Choice Awards broadcast special presented by 2K Sports and benefitting the Major League Baseball Players Trust.