Matt Kemp Earns National League Player of the Week Honors

April 16, 2012

Maybe a 50-50 season isn't out of the question.

Los Angeles Dodgers superstar Matt Kemp has thrown his name into the MVP discussion right out of the gate this year, as the center fielder has been named National League Player of the Week for the period of April 9-15, 2012.

In six games last week, the righty slugger led all players with a .545 (12-for-22) batting average, four home runs, a 1.182 slugging percentage, .615 on-base percentage, and 26 total bases. His seven runs scored tied for first in the National League, while his 12 hits and eight RBI both tied for second.

More importantly, Kemp's red-hot start has had an impact in the standings, as the Dodgers' Major League-best 9-1 record marks the team’s best start through 10 games since 1981.

Forced to be a one-man band in last season's paltry Dodgers lineup, Kemp has been helped this year by the added protection of a healthy Andre Ethier.  Ethier himself had an impressive stretch last week, hitting .304, with 2 blasts, 7 RBI, and a .471 OBP.

In winning the award, Kemp made history, becoming the first player to win back-to-back NL Player of the Week honors to begin a season and the first player to win the award for three consecutive weeks (dating back to last year) since the award’s inception in 1974. Not since Oakland's Tony Armas in 1981 has a player captured consecutive Player of the Week awards to begin a season.

Kemp played a key role in the Dodgers’ sweep of the San Diego Padres at Chavez Ravine, going a combined 7-for-10 with four homers and seven RBI in three games.  For Kemp, a Triple Crown is certainly not out of the question, as he already leads the Majors in hitting (.487), home runs (6), and RBI (16).

Last season, Kemp finished second to the Brewers' Ryan Braun in the MVP race, a result initially disputed on numbers alone, and later, scoffed at when Braun had a positive drug test.  Although Braun's test was overturned on a procedural issue, the stigma remains that Kemp should have received the award. 

This season apparently, Kemp is putting nothing to chance with the voters.

By Mike Elliott
Staff Editor of The Daily Sports Herald

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