Dodgers have pair of NL MVP hopefuls

Dodgers have pair of NL MVP hopefuls

LOS ANGELES -- Albert Pujols is considered the overwhelming favorite to win the National League MVP Award this year, but the Dodgers can't complain about their pair of long-shot candidates for the honor.

Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier have already won a pair of NL Silver Slugger Awards this offseason, with Kemp also grabbing a Rawlings NL Gold Glove Award. And when results of the MVP voting are released on Tuesday, Kemp and Ethier will be splitting support as the Dodgers' best player.

Other leading contenders for the award include Hanley Ramirez of the Marlins, Prince Fielder of the Brewers and Ryan Howard of the Phillies.

Kemp and Ethier gave the Dodgers their first set of teammates with at least 100 RBIs in the same season since Shawn Green and Gary Sheffield managed that feat in 2001.

Kemp's offensive credentials include career highs with 26 homers, 101 RBIs, 97 runs scored, 52 walks and 159 games played. He was third in the league with 34 steals and became the first Dodgers player in franchise history to notch at least 25 homers, 100 RBIs and 30 steals in the same season.

Kemp also slugged three grand slams and homered in four consecutive games. Kemp hit .297 on the season, and his .362 average against left-handed pitching ranked sixth in the league. His 10 RBIs in extra innings was the most in the Major Leagues since Juan Gonzalez had 11 in 1991 and the most in the NL since Tim Wallach drove in 11 for Montreal in 1982.

Ethier was just as impressive. He established career highs with 31 homers, 42 doubles, 106 RBIs, 72 walks, 92 runs and 160 games played. He was sixth in the league in RBIs and tied for fifth in doubles. He became just the fourth Dodgers hitter with at least 30 homers and 40 doubles, joining Babe Herman (1930), Raul Mondesi ('97) and Eric Karros ('99).

Ethier also exhibited a flair for the dramatic. He led the Major Leagues with six walk-off hits, including an MLB-leading four walk-off homers that tied the Major League record, held by Jimmie Foxx (1940) and Roy Sievers ('57). His 22 homers at Dodger Stadium set a Los Angeles single-season record for a left-handed hitter.

Ethier had six multihomer games, including one with three long balls, and of his 31 homers, 18 gave the Dodgers a tie or lead. He was twice named NL Player of the Week.

Ken Gurnick is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.