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Many of us are starting our draft preparation for the 2010 season. I have already joined two Yahoo! leagues and have looked over the player list to see who is ranked where. Some familiar faces were in the top 10, as were some surprises. None more than Dodger OF Matt Kemp.
Yes, he was nearly a 30-30 player last season, hitting 26 HR with 34 SB and a .297 avg. Those numbers alone make him very valuable in 5×5 leagues, but Kemp threw in 101 RBI’s to boot. So, is Kemp really worth a first round pick or even the #6 pick as Yahoo! suggests?
Sure, when Kemp puts up a .297/.352/.490 line with some decent power and 30+ stolen bases, it can be very tempting. But tempting enough that early in the draft? I really don’t think so. I know I won’t be paying top dollar for it.
To start off with, Kemp’s home run total from last season was inflated by one really good month. In August, he hit nine home runs. This was out of the ordinary since he didn’t hit any more than four home runs in any other month of the season. So, if we take away five of those home runs from last season in order to match his highest total from any other month that season (4), then Kemp has 21 home runs and not 26. Yeah, it makes a difference.
Kemp’s RBI total of 101 is what set him apart from other 25-25 guys. You really can’t bank on 100 RBI from Kemp again, especially since he bounced up and down in the order last season. In fact, Kemp actually did his biggest damage out of the 7th spot, hitting .328/.390/.546 with 8 HR and 30 RBI in 47 games.
This ties into his 2nd half slide where he hit .270/.315/.484 after the break. That was .050 points off of his avg by the way. What contributed to his poor performance? Well, he hit a pathetic .241 in September, which introduced Kemp to the 4th spot in the batting order. In 27 games batting 4th, Kemp hit .216. This doesn’t bode well for next season if the Dodgers decide to keep Kemp hitting 4th. If they bump him back to the 7th spot, then it is unreasonable to expect another 100 RBI from someone batting 7th. So, you are damned if you and damned if you don’t.
Given that Kemp needed those nine home runs in August to look impressive, then I really doubt he can be the next 30-30 player in this game. So he can be 25-30, which is just fine. I am not trying to prevent you from drafting a 25-30 outfielder who can hit .290 or higher. But first round? Maybe the middle of the 2nd round, but not the first round, let alone the first six picks.
I also want to mention that when it comes to selecting a player that high in the draft, you want dependability and consistency. Players like Albert Pujols, Hanley Ramirez, Chase Utley, Ryan Braun, Miguel Cabrera, and Ryan Howard have proven year after year that they can put up the same awesome numbers. Kemp has done this for one season. I am not about to risk my first pick of the draft based on one good season.
Kemp may reach the 25-25 plateau in 2010, but unless he can put together more consistent power in more than one month, then he won’t be a 30 home run guy.
The speed and avg. will still be there, but I bet that 90 RBI will be his limit and not 100. He is worth early to mid 2nd round consideration, but I would rather spend such a high pick on someone more proven over the past couple of seasons.