10/03/11 1:00 PM ET
Dominant year has Kemp in mix for Aaron Award
By Ken Gurnick / MLB.com
"Matt's probably going to be getting a lot of awards," said Mattingly. "He's done everything on the field and he's been a leader. I don't know where we'd be without him. He's deserves anything that comes his way."
The latest honor to come Kemp's way is his club's nomination for the 2011 Hank Aaron Award, given to the best offensive player in each league. The Hank Aaron Award was introduced in 1999 to honor the 25th anniversary of Aaron breaking Babe Ruth's all-time home run record of 714. At that time, it was the first major award introduced by Major League Baseball in more than 25 years.
Last year, Toronto's Juan Bautista and Cincinnati's Joey Votto joined earlier winners: Derek Jeter and Albert Pujols (2009); Aramis Ramirez and Kevin Youkilis ('08); Alex Rodriguez and Prince Fielder ('07); Jeter and Ryan Howard ('06); David Ortiz and Andruw Jones ('05); Manny Ramirez and Barry Bonds ('04); Rodriguez and Pujols ('03); Rodriguez and Bonds ('01-02); Carlos Delgado and Todd Helton (2000); and Ramirez and Sammy Sosa (1999).
In his fourth full Major League campaign, Kemp hit .324 with 39 homers, 126 RBIs and 115 runs scored. Kemp ranked among the National League's top four in batting average (third), home runs (first), RBIs (first), runs (first), stolen bases (40, tied for second), on-base percentage (.399, fourth), slugging percentage (.586, second), hits (195, second) and total bases (353, first).
Kemp was steady in the clutch as well, hitting .335 (52-for-155) with runners in scoring position and .344 (101-for-294) with runners on base while leading the Major Leagues with three walk-off home runs this year. He ranked eighth in the NL with a career-high 74 walks and second in the Majors with 24 intentional passes.
The 26-year-old's top-three league ranking in homers, average, RBI and steals made him just the seventh player in history to do so, joining Ty Cobb (1907, 1909, 1910, 1911), Honus Wagner (1908), George Sisler (1920), Chuck Klein (1932), Willie Mays (1955) and Aaron (1963) as the only players to accomplish this feat, according to Stats LLC.
Of all the numbers and accomplishments, the one that resonates with Kemp's teammates the most is his current streak of playing in 364 consecutive games without taking a day off, which is easily the longest active games-played streak in the Major Leagues.
The six-year pro was rewarded for his fast start in July, as the fans voted him to start for the NL in the All-Star Game, where he went 1-for-2 with a walk and a run scored.
On Aug. 26, Kemp became just the second player in Dodgers franchise history to hit at least 30 home runs while stealing at least 30 bases, joining Raul Mondesi, who accomplished the feat twice (1997, '99). Kemp since has gone on to become the only player in Dodgers history -- and just the 13th in big league history -- to steal at least 40 bases while hitting at least 35 homers.
The Oklahoma native is one of five players in Major League history to hit at least 30 homers, steal at least 35 bases, drive in at least 100 runs and hit higher than .310 in a single season. He joins Ken Williams (1922), Bonds ('92), Rodriguez ('98) and Vladimir Guerrero (2002). He is also just the eighth Los Angeles Dodgers player to drive in 100 runs while also scoring 100 runs.
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.