Matt Kemp’s buzz-killing glove

Many things can be pronounced about what Matt Kemp should have been. He should have been a star. He should have been one of a game’s chosen hitters. He should have been a face of a Los Angeles Dodgers.

Instead, after an MVP-caliber deteriorate in that he scarcely became a newest member of a 40-40 bar if not for one missed stolen base, Kemp followed it adult with a subpar deteriorate by his considerable standards that finished with him being questioned by Ned Colletti and crashing into a wall during Coors Field.

After that, Kemp wasn’t a same. He spent many of 2013 on a infirm list, his energy sapped. When he managed to return, he spent 6 days in a lineup before scarcely violation a bone in his ankle — that could have been career-ending. Kemp, a luminary face of a Dodgers, had turn both one of a richest players in a diversion and a cautionary story of what injuries could do to someone.

Kemp was eventually traded to a Padres for stream Dodgers catcher Yasmani Grandal, and is now a Atlanta Braves’ starting right fielder.

But here’s a understanding with Kemp. If we demeanour during his stats, his attack isn’t awful. Currently, Kemp has a .293/.340/.486 condense line, a .347 wOBA, and a 112 wRC+. By those numbers, he’s an above-average hitter, and a profitable item in a lineup.

Furthermore, Kemp has reduced his particularly high strikeout rate — nonetheless not by most — and is 75th out of 166 competent batters in ISO, that postulated isn’t much, though is aloft than his career numbers.

Mike Foltynewicz is negligence down


Lance Iversen-USA TODAY Sports

The Braves righty has finished some large changes. But is anything left of his intensity ace upside?

The thing that kills Kemp’s grant by fWAR or bWAR is his glove. Yes, we know; even if we bonus his glove he’s still during a small 0.5 descent fWAR/0.4 descent bWAR. But we can’t bonus a fact that his invulnerability is atrocious.

By UZR/150, Kemp has been value -14.9 runs — good for third-last (ahead usually of Hunter Renfroe and Khris Davis). DRS measures him during -11 and ranks him likewise: 60th out of 62 competent outfielders. Baseball Savant does not have defensive images for a 2017 deteriorate yet, though we do have defensive images for Kemp’s 2016 (Kemp was an even bigger defensive guilt in 2016).


Matt Kemp 2016 hits authorised and outs
Images from Baseball Savant

According to Baseball Savant’s classification, Kemp has authorised 109 bottom hits, 33 of these entrance on easy-to-catch flyballs. He has also been incompetent to make a 5-star or (for miss of a improved term) highlight-reel catch. Conversely, over three-quarters of his outs have come on balls with reduction than 40 percent possibility of descending on a bottom hit, that should be easy to catch

So here’s a issue: because not trade Kemp to an American League team, where he could turn a some-more profitable asset? That way, a group could use him as a DH and equivocate runs on his really unsure glove. The positional adjustment for DHs used in UZR and DRS is -17.5 runs, compared to -7.5 for dilemma outfielders. But each DH is value a same on invulnerability (i.e., nothing), while a dilemma outfielder as bad as Kemp is mostly value -20 runs or more. A pierce to a AL is a intensity win-win conditions in that Kemp keeps personification and providing singular (but positive) value, notwithstanding not indeed manning a field.

The downside, however, is that Kemp wants to take a field. In fact, a initial trade that sent him to San Diego was finished to make room for Joc Pederson after Kemp refused to play anywhere other than core field.* If we hang him in during DH, there’s no pledge that Kemp won’t be unhappy, and his attack prolongation competence suffer.

* Though his position on a theme has altered given a lineups in San Diego and Atlanta.

Yet, if he is peaceful to do anything probable to try to recover his MVP-form, because not give it a shot? Kemp is sealed by 2019, so a trade to a right AL group — and a right ballpark — competence be only what Kemp needs to reanimate his career.

Toronto, Baltimore, and Texas have hitter accessible parks that could yield Kemp with a height he needs, and could presumably use a intensity energy hitter. We’ll only have to see if they have a right package that army a Braves to understanding him, and if Kemp acquiesces to leave his glove behind.


Martin Alonso writes for Beyond a Box Score and BP Bronx and is contantly geeking out over ball and Star Wars. You can find him on Twitter during @martnar.

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