April 19, 2014; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers center fielder Matt Kemp (27) reacts after striking out in the seventh inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gary Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Fantasy Baseball: Will Dodgers’ Matt Kemp turn things around?


One of the biggest mysteries for fantasy baseball owners is that of Los Angeles Dodgers’ outfielder Matt Kemp.

On talent alone Kemp should produce like a first-round pick but as all Kemp owners know, that simply isn’t the case.

April 19, 2014; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers center fielder Matt Kemp (27) reacts after reaching second on a two run RBI double in the fifth inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gary Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Since his 2011 campaign that saw Kemp put up an MVP-type season in which he hit .324 with 39 homers, 126 RBI and 40 stolen bases, Kemp hasn’t emerged as a fantasy superstar as much as he has become a fantasy bust.

Since 2011 Kemp has hit only 32 homers, driven in 109 runs and swiped only 20 bags.

Of course injuries have played a major role in Kemp’s demise as since 2011 he has had only 710 at bats the past three years, which amounts to a little more than just a full season.

Judging by that the numbers aren’t bad.

However this year, in 44 at bats, Kemp is hitting only .205 with three homers, seven RBI and a pair of steals. Two of those homers came in one game on April 6. Since then, Kemp has exactly five hits.

So what do you do with Kemp?

It’s still early so given his talent level it is hard to throw in the towel on him in April.  He still has the talent to be a fantasy difference maker. But it sure has been frustrating waiting for him to produce the past three years.

Needless to say the early returns in 2014 don’t suggest a turnaround is happening any time soon.

Kemp has struck out at a 33 percent clip this year primarily because he is chasing pitches outside of the zone. In addition, his paltry 39.1 percent O-contact rate doesn’t suggest a turnaround is coming as he is popping the ball up more and hitting less line drives than any time in his career.

Those are two standard tells that a bad season is on the way.

The bad part is because of the rash of recent injuries, we really don’t know what to expect.

Personally I would give it another three or four weeks and hope that Kemp explodes.

If he doesn’t turn things around by then, it may never happen.

In the meantime the trends suggest that it may not happen for Kemp this year.

I would put a few fliers out on him and see if you can get a good return now. Because if you wait too long, Kemp may not have any value at all by the end of May.



Tags: Fantasy Baseball Los Angeles Dodgers Matt Kemp