October 27, 2011
The Sporting News released their National League All-Star Team and the Dodgers had two representatives on the team. Outfielder Matt Kemp and starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw were two of the 10 players on the NL squad.
Kershaw was named the National League Cy Young award winner for the 2011 season after going 21-5 with a 2.28 ERA. Since his 2011 season, Kershaw has gone on to have two more impressive seasons finishing second in the 2012 NL Cy Young race and being thought of as the frontrunner for the 2013 NL Cy Young.
This season, Kershaw was named to the Sporting News team yet again this season as he led the National League in ERA for the third straight season and led the league with 232 strikeouts.
Kemp was thought to have been the MVP in the National League; however, he would lose to Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun. Kemp hit .324 with 39 home runs with 126 RBI and 40 stolen bases, leading the league in home runs and RBI. After the announcement, it was found that Braun failed a drug test in 2011; however, he wouldn’t face suspension due to illegal tampering with his test.
In 2013, Braun was suspended for the remainder of the season after admitting to using performance-enhancing drugs during the 2011 season. The MVP was not stripped from Braun, but many fans felt that Kemp should have been given the award after the fact.
After his 2011 campaign, Kemp signed an eight-year, $160 million dollar contract extension with the Dodgers and vowed to become the first 50-50 player in history by hitting at least 50 home runs and stealing at least 50 bases. His 2012 season didn’t go to plan as injuries caused him to miss most of the season.
In 2013, it was more of the same for Kemp as injuries limited him to just 73 games. Kemp should return next season at full strength and will be looking to make up for the past two seasons. The 29-year-old outfielder will look to reproduce his 2011 numbers and become the player that the Dodgers thought after signing him to that extension.
In case you missed it, here’s the Dodgers pool celebration, PLUS Yasiel Puig’s celebration dance off!