Matt Kemp

Heading into the offseason the Los Angeles Dodgers were expected to address the overcrowding in their outfield. During his introductory press conference, president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman said he didn’t view the surplus as an issue, but one month later admitted the Dodgers would benefit from moving an outfielder to address a deficiency.

Three days prior to Friedman’s remark on moving an outfielder, the Dodgers reportedly placed Carl Crawford, Andre Ethier and Matt Kemp on the trading block. While some presumed the Dodgers would focus on dealing Ethier, which was reported to be the case, Kemp regularly drew considerable interest — which wasn’t much of a surprise given how he closed out the 2014 season.

The interest led to Kemp being dealt to the San Diego Padres in a trade that included a week-long stretch of rumors that the deal may fall apart as it was later revealed Kemp has arthritic hips.

Despite some concern that comes with Kemp’s health, MLB Network’s The Shredder ranked him as the ninth-best right fielder right now. MLB Network analyst Cliff Floyd offered his take on Kemp and also added he believes The Shredder ranked him too low:

I definitely believe in him. The reason I believe in him is because when I saw the second half of the season last year, I go, ‘That’s the Matt Kemp everybody has been waiting to see.’ Now I think we all waiting to see because he does have the talent. I look at the shoulder situation that he had and I go, ‘Is that length there? Is that swing there?’ There’s a pattern where he’s long through the baseball. We saw it with his first baseman, his teammate Adrian Gonzalez. Come over from Boston, sort of talked himself out of being a home run hitter because he wasn’t healthy, he didn’t have the confidence. Matt Kemp got his confidence back last year in the second half and the numbers were there. I’m a little worried about his defense, because I think playing right field in that ballpark (Petco), there’s a lot of area to roam. I still see him as a guy that now the confidence is there, I want to see him back on the basepaths, stealing some bases. I know there’s talk about his hips and all that, forget about all that. Just go out there and play the game like you know how to play the game and I think he’ll be fine.

Kemp’s transition to right field was far from smooth sailing as he was benched after beginning the season in center field due to his lack of explosion. Manager Don Mattingly attempted to place Kemp in left field, where he was unhappy and trade rumors began to swirl.

Mattingly then made the decision to move Yasiel Puig to center field and he placed Kemp in right, which was closely followed by his emergence at the plate. Although Kemp has been open with his desire to play center field, Padres manager Bud Black publicly stated he would be the team’s right fielder.

Yasiel Puig was not included in the list, however it’s due to MLB Network projecting him as a center fielder heading into next season. MLB Network’s, as well as Brian Kenny’s and Floyd’s rankings of the top-10 right fielders included below:

The Shredder Cliff Floyd Brian Kenny
1st Giancarlo Stanton Giancarlo Stanton Giancarlo Stanton
2nd Jose Bautista Jose Bautista Jose Bautista
3rd Bryce Harper Matt Kemp Bryce Harper
4th Jason Heyward Bryce Harper Jason Heyward
5th Michael Cuddyer Brandon Moss Matt Kemp
6th Carlos Gonzalez J.D. Martinez Ryan Braun
7th Hunter Pence Hunter Pence Shin-Soo Choo
8th Brandon Moss Kole Calhoun Hunter Pence
9th Matt Kemp Jason Heyward George Springer
10th J.D. Martinez Ryan Braun Carlos Gonzalez

About The Author

Matt is a journalist from Whittier, California. A Cal State Long Beach graduate, Matthew occasionally contributes to Lakers Nation, and previously served as the lead editor and digital strategist at Dodgers Nation, and the co-editor and lead writer at Reign of Troy, where he covered USC Football. You can follow Matt on Twitter @mmoreno1015

5 Responses

  1. Michael N. Norris

    You will notice…that Yasiel Puig is no where on the list…

    Reply
      • Michael N. Norris

        Well since he is moving back where he belongs to right, that makes that list wrong….

  2. Michael N. Norris

    And In the form of a gripe…..baseball teams and the Dodger in particular make a ton of money….why then is it necessary to charge fans at the fan fest for players autographs….aren’t you gouging fans enough for everything else????

    Reply
  3. Michael N. Norris

    I am also surprised Brian Kenny ranked him at all

    Reply

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