In the gloomy days of Los Angeles Dodgers baseball in the 2000s, few stars separated themselves from the rest. One of those superstars was Matt Kemp and after a slow start to the 2014 season, he’s once again a key contributor.
Kemp was the sixth round pick of the Dodgers in the 2003 draft and made his Major League debut in May of 2006. The right-handed slugger then burst onto the scene in the 2009 season. After a successful season, Kemp won the Golden Glove and Silver Slugger awards. From that point on, Kemp became a fan favorite and a leader of the Dodgers’ clubhouse.
Although his 2009 season was filled with many accolades, no one would argue against the 2011 season being the best of his career. Along with winning his second Gold Glove and second Silver Slugger awards, he also won the Hank Aaron award. In 161 games played, he recorded 39 home runs, 40 stolen bases, a .324 batting average and 126 RBIs. Kemp finished second in the NL MVP voting to Ryan Braun.
In recent years, Kemp has battled numerous injuries that kept him from meeting the expectations his play established. After a struggle through the first half of the season and trade rumors, Kemp has exploded in the second half to lead the Dodgers in the pennant chase.
Now in right field, Kemp appears more comfortable in the outfield and has found his swing at the plate; he’s increased his batting average to .284, has 23 home runs and 84 RBIs.
With Kemp and the Dodgers closing in on a division title, Dodgers Nation would like to wish Kemp a happy 30th birthday!