Ever since Matt Kemp tore his labrum, hurt his hamstring in separate seasons, and hurt his ankle, Kemp hasn’t necessarily been on good terms with parts of the fan base. When a player signs a huge deal a lot of weight is put on the player, he is responsible with living up to a deal, and when a player gets hurt, he can’t do anything to justify that deal. This is frustrating in many cases because injuries are impossible to predict in most cases. Ever since Kemp said yesterday he “isn’t a 4th OF”, many articles have been written about his statements.
I linked those articles because it’s important to pay attention to some of the comments written, there are so many fans down on him, and for the most part, they are very vocal. I’ve encountered a lot of Kemp “haters” and they simply don’t like him as a player, it’s incredible to me. And while I won’t dive too deep into that ~I can just link the always great Chad Moriyama here~, it’s sad to see how many people seemingly are down on him.
“I’m not a fourth outfielder. We can cut that off right there,” Kemp said. “I won’t accept that role. I can’t accept that role.”
Which, great. That’s something I want to hear from my franchise player, personally. Yes Matthew Ryan Kemp is a franchise caliber player, I think Ned Colletti said it best
Ned on Kemp: “2 years ago this was the best player in the NL”
— Dodgers Nation (@DodgersNation) February 15, 2014
Yep, he’s capable of being the best player in the National League. Certainly a guy who will hit for average, power, speed, makes some really flashy plays in CF, plays most other CF’s can’t make, plus he has a great arm. Oh, and in case you didn’t remember, the Kemp came back from his Hamstring injury in late June, he mashed. From June 30th to September 27th he hit .345/.406/.621 with 4 home runs, small sample size? Sure, but it wasn’t overly driven by BABIP, .364 meaning while he was probably getting a bit lucky on balls in play, it wasn’t too far from his .352 career mark, he was walking at a respectable rate, 9.375%, and only struck out at a 15.625% clip. These numbers, while probably a bit high, show me that he is still an elite offensive talent, you can’t really make a huge statement off of 64 PA’s, but take everything else into account this was after he began lifting weights mid-season, he got his mind past his early-season struggles, and then immediately began to mash. I think these numbers are legitimate.
I’m super high on Matt Kemp, I think he’ll be the best Dodger position player next season, even over Hanley Ramirez and Yasiel Puig. My feelings on Kemp are out there, he’s my favorite Dodger, and sticking up for your favorite player is better than trashing him for things out of his control. Hanley Ramirez has shown that a player with diminished speed and the labrum shoulder can in fact come back and be a 5 win player, I don’t think there’s any reason we should think Matt Kemp wont do something similar given his incredible work ethic and love for this team/city.