In the slow mock draft that Clave and I were invited to participate in, I was shocked to see Matt Kemp go first overall. On the one hand, I think that one could certainly make a stong argument for Kemp as he has become a more complete hitter every year he has been in baseball (except when Rihanna got him off track).
In addition, he had absolutely no help last year, so his situation can only get better and he seems to have the drive to do something like this.After being asked about missing 40/40 by 1 stolen base, Matt Kemp boasted that he will be going for 50/50 next year. That is an incredible statement if I have ever heard one.The closest player to 50/50 would be A-rod in 1998 going 42/46.
Can Matt Kemp really make good on his goal?
I would have to say that considering the recent PED scandal around Ryan Braun and Hanley’s regression for the past few seasons, that if anyone has a chance next season, it would be Kemp. I think that Matt Kemp will certainly get on base enough to get to 50 steals, as most teams should think about walking him anytime there is an open base. However, one has to wonder with no protection around him whether he will get enough good pitches thrown to him to hit 50 home runs.
A huge factor in this is going to be Andre Ethier, the guy who has hit behind Matt Kemp for most of their professional careers, even going back to coming up in the Dodger farm system together. Ethier had a disappointing season last year, aside from his 30 game hitting streak. This year Matt Kemp will need Ethier to protect him well so that people have to pitch to him. Likewise, Kemp will need Dee Gordon or whoever hits 2nd in the order (Jerry Sands??) to be on first. This will force pitchers to pitch to Kemp. However, if Ethier is unable to knock in runs like he has before, then people may walk Kemp, even putting Dee Gordon in scoring position.
For me, I will obviously take the under on Kemp for 50/50.
I just think that it is too much of a gamble to take a guy that is unlikely to repeat the career year he had last year, especially considering how long it will be before your next pick. If you are considering Kemp, lets see if he is worth the roll of the dice. Looking at the aforementioned mock draft team that G4LBP28 has put around Kemp, he really does need Kemp to be 40/40 or better. Now if Kemp were to go 50/50, then his team will be a force to be reckoned with.
As you can tell, I am just not the gambler when it comes to the first pick in a draft, but can you blame me after all these years as a Raider fan?
What’s your projection on Kemp’s stat line for next season? Let us know in the comments.