Padres News: Is Matt Kemp Still Elite?


In 2011, Matt Kemp ought to have won the MVP over Milwaukee’s Ryan Braun.  Kemp followed that season with two injury-riddled campaigns with the Dodgers.  In 2012, he played fabulously but in only 106 games.  The next year Kemp played at the league average in 73 games.  He came back last year and played very well, amassing a .287/.346/.506/.852 slashline.  While it appears (or appeared) Kemp was on the decline, looking at his first and second half splits tell a different story. 

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Matt Kemp started 2014 as he had started 2013, hitting .269/.330/.430/.760 in the first half.  That counted for only a 114 OPS+, 14 points lower than his career total.  He had stuck out 87 times and was on pace to set a new career high.  Then he turned it on.

After having a very good June, Matt Kemp exploded after the All-Star Break, hitting .309/.365/.606/.971 including a September in which he hit for a 1.047 OPS.  Hit second half OPS+ was 177.  His second half isolated power (basically batting average but only for extra base hits) was 297, which was higher than any season total in Kemp’s career.

Matt Kemp’s second half surge demonstrates that he remains a top level ballplayer.  It seems that he had not gotten over the injuries that he had suffered through the previous two seasons with until June or possibly July.  Now, there is zero guarantee that he won’t be injured again.  But, barring bad health, his second half put on display that when close to 100 percent, Matt Kemp is still one of the elite in baseball.  We shall see if and for how long he is healthy in 2015 and beyond.  It may change the fortunes of the San Diego Padres.

Next: Matt Kemp Needs A Big 2015

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