The Dodgers' Matt Kemp and the Indians' Edwin Encarnacion were recognized as National League and American League Players of the Week presented by W.B. Mason on Monday, MLB announced.Kemp is enjoying a bounce-back season since rejoining the Dodgers in a five-player trade with Atlanta in December. He entered Monday leading
The Dodgers' Matt Kemp and the Indians' Edwin Encarnacion were recognized as National League and American League Players of the Week presented by W.B. Mason on Monday, MLB announced.
Kemp is enjoying a bounce-back season since rejoining the Dodgers in a five-player trade with Atlanta in December. He entered Monday leading the NL's batting race (.344), just ahead of Cincinnati's Scooter Gennett (.342).
• Past winners:NL | AL
Last week, Kemp hit .429 (9-for-21) with three homers, two doubles, eight RBIs and six runs scored. The 33-year-old has not only been the Dodgers' top offensive performer amid a slew of injuries to their lineup, he's also quieted concerns over his defense with his play in the outfield. Kemp added his first outfield assist of the season Saturday, launching a rocket from left field to throw out Colorado's Charlie Blackmon at home plate at Coors Field.
"Self-admittedly, he's learning some things in his 10th year, as far as approaching pitchers, talking to the hitters and coaches. Matt's really growing," Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said last week. "You see his at-bat quality. He's always been a guy that can drive in runs and get a hit and slug a little bit, but to take the walk, stay out of the double play, stay on a slider down and away and use the whole field, I haven't seen that consistently, even at his best. There's a lot of good things going on with Matt."
Encarnacion punctuated a productive week with a two-homer, four-RBI showing for the Indians in a 7-5 loss to the Twins in Minneapolis on Sunday. The veteran slugger hit .407 (11-for-27) with five home runs, two doubles, 13 RBIs and nine runs scored last week.
"I thought [Sunday] was one of those days where he puts us on his shoulders and we won," Cleveland manager Terry Francona said. "Well, we didn't, and it kills you. But if he starts to heat up like that, like it looks like -- boy, that would be tremendous."
Encarnacion entered Monday batting .246/.317/.517 with 16 home runs and 40 RBIs in 53 games. He's the second Indians player to earn Player of the Week honors in 2018, joining shortstop Francisco Lindor (twice). Lindor was also named Player of the Month for May.
Chad Thornburg is a reporter for MLB.com based in Los Angeles.