Dodgers kick off Cactus League play today
In a few hours, the Dodgers will start their Cactus league play as they try to defend their National League title.
Wilmer Font the forgotten man, when rotation depth is discussed, will start the game and probably embarrass me given how much faith I’ve put in a guy I’ve never seen pitch.
Much more interesting is that Matt Kemp will be protecting Cody Bellinger in the lineup.
My twitter feed has been fascinating as each day Matt Kemp is a Dodger more and more Dodger fans are coming out as being excited about Kemp being a Dodger again. This is a bold move as Kemp has old-school counting numbers but sabermetrically was one of the worst players in baseball last year. Matt has come into camp in great shape and appears to have a great attitude. Dave Roberts has said they feel they can mitigate his defensive weakness with proper positioning. The last time Matt Kemp was a Dodger was in the 2014 NLDS series against the Cardinals. postseason. Kemp went out with a bang posting a .882 OPS in that series.
Since being a Dodger Matt Kemp has had hot and cold spells but has yet to put together a full season of above-average offensive production. When he was traded to the Braves in the summer of 2016 he ended the season on a high note as a Brave posting a .855 OPS in 214 plate appearances. He followed that by starting 2017 on fire with an April OPS of 1.077 and a May OPS of .962. So for 380 plate appearances as a Brave, he was a great hitting left fielder. But………..baseball is 162 games and Matt Kemp from June 1st – Oct 1st was horrible.
His non-Dodger stats look like this:
Year Tm PA 2B HR RBI BA OBP SLG OPS OPS+ 2015 SDP 648 31 23 100 .265 .312 .443 .755 109 2016 TOT 672 39 35 108 .268 .304 .499 .803 113 2016 SDP 431 24 23 69 .262 .285 .489 .774 106 2016 ATL 241 15 12 39 .280 .336 .519 .855 126 2017 ATL 467 23 19 64 .276 .318 .463 .781 103 12 Y 12 Y 6283 308 259 920 .285 .338 .488 .826 123 LAD LAD 4496 215 182 648 .292 .349 .495 .845 128 SDP SDP 1079 55 46 169 .264 .301 .462 .763 108 ATL ATL 708 38 31 103 .278 .324 .482 .805 110
How bizarre is it that Andre Ethier is gone and Matt Kemp is a Dodger?
If Kemp was to somehow win the full time left field job it would have huge ramifications on the 2018 roster as the team is full of players trying to gain part-time work in LF with Joc, Toles, Hernandez, Verdugo, and Thompson. Though I hope Matt Kemp makes the Kemp haters eat some crow, baseball being baseball I expect Matt Kemp to have a great spring and just as he has given Kemp fans new hope, he will come up lame and we will be right back where we were on Jan 1st.