The Los Angeles Dodgers have a great core of players, and a talented roster. That’s why Dodgers Nation has decided to run a ‘Why We Love’ series, featuring some of your favorite Dodgers players. Our third installment focuses on possibly the most popular current Dodgers player. Today – is why we love Matt Kemp.
Matt Kemp returned to the Dodgers in the 2017 off-season as a ‘salary dump’. After parts of three seasons in San Diego and Atlanta, Kemp was mentioned as trade bait and a platoon bat if he was on the Dodgers’ Opening Day roster. What has followed has been a 56-game run straight out of a story book.
Kemp currently leads the National league in hitting at .347, and displays a .958 OPS in 2018. He has a 1.7 fWAR, his highest total already since his 2.8 he posted in 2012 as a member of the Dodgers. Furthermore, Kemp has been the glue and constant in a trying season of injuries and slumps to the Dodgers.
We probably should have known that big things were in store. Baseball often gives us clues of what is to come in the way of silver linings. For Kemp, perhaps it was this homer in the Dodgers’ first spring training game at Camelback Ranch.
Kemp had a quote not long before that which managed to stick with me.
“I’m gonna ride this thing until the wheels fall off. Literally.”
To me, it was one of those rare things a player says that wasn’t just the individual saying the right thing. The quote felt genuine. It was then I knew that Matt Kemp – who entered spring in the best shape of his life – was going to leave it all on the field in 2018. He seemed genuinely enchanted by the thought of being a Dodger again. Kemp’s play has shown he has cherished the opportunity.
Why We Love Matt Kemp
- Kemp was drafted a Dodger – in the sixth round of the 2003 MLB Draft.
- He ranks 19th all-time in franchise history in hits, and 8th in home runs.
- Kemp’s 2011 season: he finished second in MVP voting to Ryan Braun. His tally for that season was a .324 average, .399 on-base, 39 homers, 126 RBI, and 40 steals. He was worth 8.0 fWAR that season, and it was one of the best seasons in modern Dodgers’ history.
- It seemed like Kemp has matured – he’s truly just trying to let his play speak for him at this stage in his career.
- He’s taking younger players like Cody Bellinger under his wing.
- It seems that Kemp genuinely realizes how fortunate he is to be playing in Los Angeles, wearing Dodger blue.
- Everyone loves a good comeback story. Kemp got himself into shape and has earned his spot on the 2018 Dodgers one plate appearance at a time.
- The 2014 NLDS – Kemp’s last postseason appearance as a Dodger – he hit .353 in the series against St. Louis.
- I love his nickname; ‘The Bison’.
Why You Love Matt Kemp
He was robbed of the MVP award a few years ago. He had some bad luck with injuries and wasn't able to play again like that MVP season. He's back in shape and motivated to prove all the doubters wrong. Matt Kemp is determined and can tell he's excited to be back in Dodger Blue!
— Carlos Vega (@TheJCarlosV2) June 2, 2018
Eye candy, duh. ??????
— Raquel (@RAHKELLL) June 2, 2018
I love Kemp because he is playing with such passion. When he might have written himself off, he instead buckled down, got in shape, and re-found his love of the game. His actions speak loudly and have given us a hero amidst all the injuries. #tbt #Dodgers
— ? Michelle Flomenhoft ?? (@mflomenhoft) June 2, 2018
Then There’s this ? https://t.co/mdtgmvsuAU
— Bob Baker (@rbaker201) June 2, 2018
I remember this story – so great to recall. Thank you.
I love that we know he loves being a dodger & getting a second chance of being on his favorite team has motivated him to be one of the best players this season!!! He’s beautiful, kind, beautiful….. what’s there not to love about him?! ?
— Annette (@annettemmm) June 2, 2018
Because I’m always surprised by his vernacular and his country accent.
— Mr Ellis If You Prefer To Be Nasty (@thisiskylephoto) June 2, 2018
Beyond his talent, he is relatable. He represents second chances and is taking full advantage of it. Matt Kemp 2.0 might have squandered that. Most folks can appreciate this. You want to route for him. You want him to succeed.
— Wendy Ramallo (@1MamaRama) June 2, 2018
Kemp was a Dodger and had some issues he needed to deal with and he did. He was traded, dealt with his issues, worked hard and returned to the Dodgers with the right attitude, a good fit and a contributing force. That’s why I love Kemp!
— Rose Helen Fritz (@RoseHelenFritz2) June 2, 2018
Appreciate Matt Kemp
Dodgers’ nation gave us some great additional reasons on why it’s so easy to love Matt Kemp. Day in and day out, Kemp is playing hard and doing what he can to make the 2018 season a memorable one for Los Angeles. To this point he has been the marquee storyline of the season. Here’s to a healthy remainder of the season, and continued things like #BisonBlasts and phenomenal throws from the outfield to nail a runner at the plate. Kemp has been a joy to watch in his second reincarnation as a Dodger.
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