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Kemp unanimously named NL Player of Month

Kemp unanimously named NL Player of Month

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Matt Kemp started the 2012 season just as he finished in '11, dominating at the plate to be unanimously named the National League Player of the Month for April.

In 23 April games, Kemp led the Majors with a .417 batting average and 12 home runs while also ranking atop the NL in RBIs (25), hits (35), runs (24) and slugging percentage (.893) and second in on-base percentage (.490).

"You can't say what's going on is crazy, because he went into the last week of the season last year with a chance to win the Triple Crown," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said of Kemp. "This is not new stuff. He's not anonymous. In L.A., they know him pretty well. The more he does this, the more he'll be seen everywhere and he's going to keep going."

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His 12 homers for the month set a new franchise record and were the fifth most during April behind Albert Pujols (14 in 2006), Alex Rodriguez (14 in '07), Luis Gonzalez (13 in '01) and Ken Griffey Jr. (13 in 1997).

Only three other players since 1921 -- Tony Perez in 1970, Larry Walker in '97 and Barry Bonds in 2004 -- have finished April with a .400 batting average, 10 or more homers and at least 20 RBIs. His 75 total bases in April tied him for eighth most all time.

Unlike last season, when he put up NL MVP-caliber numbers for a Dodgers club that finished third in the NL West, Kemp's contributions have helped Los Angeles get off to a hot start as a team this year. Their NL-best 16-7 record in April was also the club's best start since 1983.

Adam Berry is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @adamdberry. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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