In a season that began with a series of disappointments, has turned into one of redemption for Matt Kemp.
Now the Los Angeles Dodgers’ right fielder, Kemp has shown flashes of the MVP-caliber player he was in 2011. While Kemp has improved at the plate and defensively as the season has wore on, manager Don Mattingly isn’t interested in comparing his play to years past, via Michael Lananna of MLB.com:
I don’t think we should be trying to compare and go back three years,” Mattingly said Sunday. “I think it’s better off staying right where we’re at. Matt’s been swinging the bat good, been driving the ball, been driving in runs. As much as anything, he’s doing the job now. … Hopefully this is glimpses of things to come.”
Kemp has his average up to .282 and his home run Sunday gave him 19 on the season to go with 68 RBIs. Kemp’s production falls in line with what he’s done throughout his career, Mattingly said:
Guys change every year, honestly,” Mattingly said. “I think if you look at his whole career and take that year out, this is more like the bulk of them. This is more like what we’re used to seeing all the time.”
After an injury-plagued 2013 season, Kemp has remained healthy this year since being reinstated from the disabled list for the Dodgers’ home opener April 4. Entering Monday, Kemp has played in 132 games, which is the sixth time in the last seven seasons he’s played more than 100 games.
However, the season hasn’t been entirely smooth sailing for Kemp. He lost the starting job in center field and appeared to be poised for a role on the bench after the move to left field didn’t gain much traction.
Kemp’s agent, Dave Stewart, was open with his desire for the Dodgers to trade Kemp, which briefly seemed plausible given the rampant trade rumors that were swirling in the weeks leading up to the deadline.
The Dodgers decision to keep Kemp was a beneficial one as he’s hit .307/.376/.584 with 11 home runs and 33 RBIs since the All-Star break to help offset Yasiel Puig’s slump.
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