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Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Newhan: Matt Kemp: Has a Superstar Ever Been This Lost at the Plate?

Dunno…but I do remember Mantle (after his last HR) finishing his career going 1 for 20.

—Yes, it has only been two weeks, but I don’t recall ever seeing a verifiable superstar looking as lost at the plate as Matt Kemp. The Dodger center fielder can not hit a breaking pitch, seems equally unsteady in the field, and is the equivalent of the Thin Man after his shoulder surgery, reducing his home run strength to that dreaded cliche of “warning track power.”

  —Unless the Angels prove they can generate a consistent winning streak (a difficult task given their major league worst starting pitching statistics) the heat is going to build again under Mike Scioscia when, in fact, it was general manager Jerry Dipoto who put together a second tier rotation of Joe (home run) Blanton, Tommy Hanson and Jason Vargas. Granted, no one could predict the injury to Jered Weaver or the inconsistency of C.J. Wilson, but the buck has to stop at the top, and that means Dipoto and owner Arte Moreno, and we’re not even talking about Albert Pujols’ legs holding up for another eight years and Josh Hamilton appearing incapable of regaining MVP form.

  —Midway through April you would have to say that Bryce Harper has edged past Mike Trout as the better of the two young players.

Repoz Posted: April 17, 2013 at 07:31 PM | 22 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: mlb

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   1. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: April 17, 2013 at 07:47 PM (#4417318)
“warning track power.”


How does this differ much from "gap power"? One is seen as such a negative, yet if you said about an up and coming player, "this kid's great, he's got gap power like Edgar Martinez" you'd be thinking, holy crap the kid can hit.

Yet if you state that someone has warning track power, it definitely alludes to the fact that they are flying out a lot.

I suppose it's whether you think the guy is hitting flies or liners.

And yeah, I suppose I answered my own question.
   2. BDC Posted: April 17, 2013 at 08:30 PM (#4417362)
Yes, it has only been two weeks, but I don’t recall ever seeing a verifiable superstar looking as lost at the plate as Matt Kemp

Evidently a National League fan who didn't watch Josh Hamilton last September :)
   3. Dale Sams Posted: April 17, 2013 at 08:35 PM (#4417368)
Or Carl Crawford in 2011.
   4. jdennis Posted: April 17, 2013 at 08:42 PM (#4417380)
gap power = warning track power + control

i see a legit difference
   5. catomi01 Posted: April 17, 2013 at 09:11 PM (#4417408)
Or Carl Crawford in 2011.


Or just about any superstar who has had a bad half month (in other words - all of them)
   6. boteman Posted: April 17, 2013 at 09:24 PM (#4417429)
Has a batter this lost at the plate ever been a superstar???
   7. McCoy Posted: April 17, 2013 at 09:38 PM (#4417448)
Have people already forgotten what Albert Pujols did last year? In freaking LA no less.

He had a .509 OPS through his first 30 games.
   8. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: April 17, 2013 at 09:42 PM (#4417457)
—Unless the Angels prove they can generate a consistent winning streak (a difficult task given their major league worst starting pitching statistics) the heat is going to build again under Mike Scioscia when, in fact, it was general manager Jerry Dipoto who put together a second tier rotation
This is why I have no problem with Scioscia's work this season. What else is he to do but start the starters he's given? What else can he do but use the pen he's been given?

Joe Blanton. Seriously. Stop.
   9. Walt Davis Posted: April 17, 2013 at 09:47 PM (#4417462)
None of them are superstars but ....

Jesus Montero 211/211/237, 29 OPS+
Smoak 204/304/224, 56
Ackley, 114/170/114, -16

Ike Davis 136/255/205, 29
Moustakas 167/239/214, 27
Luis Cruz 103/122/103, -37
Maybin 097/161/121, -17
Hosmer 242/359/273 ... not terrible really but it's all walks
Dunn 120/185/260, 19 ... I fear the end is near
Keppinger 196/196/214
Reddick 103/234/205, 26
Beltran 220/273/293, 56


By the way ...
Melky 278/344/315
Trout 300/354/483, 137
Choo 333/463/556, 169
S Marte 370/404/519
Yuni 265/297/412, 88
AGon 373/448/569
Crawford 392/446/569
Morse 6 HR, 10 RBI -- this could be impressive!
   10. Canker Soriano Posted: April 17, 2013 at 10:36 PM (#4417520)
Have people already forgotten what Albert Pujols did last year? In freaking LA no less.

He had a .509 OPS through his first 30 games.


I don't understand how that's not the first thing that springs to mind. It was just 2012, and it was the only thing people could talk about in April. We had homer countdown every day - how many plate appearances before he'd finally hit one? It was essentially the lead story on MLB coverage every day after the first week of the season.
   11. Walt Davis Posted: April 17, 2013 at 10:52 PM (#4417531)
There's a bit more concern with Kemp than Albert. After returning from his injury last year, his numbers were "just" 280/331/461 ... which is still about a 115 OPS+ but far from "superstar." So we're now all the way up to 363 PA without Kemp being "right."

Of course Albert's totals after about the same PA starting last year was just a 785 OPS so not much better and that's before park effects. Albert does have about a 940 OPS since Mickey Hatcher was canned though. :-)

And I forgot to add it to my earlier post but the Castro watch is up to 0 BB in 58 PA. I checked and he did walk in the last game of 2012 ... I was expecting something more dramatic.
   12. Canker Soriano Posted: April 17, 2013 at 10:55 PM (#4417533)
And I forgot to add it to my earlier post but the Castro watch is up to 0 BB in 58 PA. I checked and he did walk in the last game of 2012 ... I was expecting something more dramatic.

I'm convinced that once of these years the Cubs will be the first team to end a season with more intentional walks than unintentional walks.
   13. McCoy Posted: April 17, 2013 at 11:00 PM (#4417537)
Starlin Castro: 1 SB - 3 E
   14. plim Posted: April 17, 2013 at 11:40 PM (#4417575)
Ruben Tejada: 6 E, 13 G
   15. Red Menace Posted: April 18, 2013 at 02:05 AM (#4417640)
and is the equivalent of the Thin Man after his shoulder surgery


I've been thinking about this way too much. In the original Thin Man movie the titular character is a missing person who it turns out is dead. This seems an unusually harsh metaphor for Kemp so far this year. I guess you could say Brandon Beachy is the equivalent of the Thin Man right now.

As the series went on the Thin Man titles eventually started referring to the hero Nick Charles. In that case I'd say Yovani Gallardo has been the equivalent of the Thin Man of late.
   16. Ebessan Posted: April 18, 2013 at 03:49 AM (#4417659)
—Midway through April you would have to say that Bryce Harper has edged past Mike Trout as the better of the two young players.

I mean, if you're an idiot, I guess. Hyperbolic and all, but "HAVE TO"?
   17. Cooper Nielson Posted: April 18, 2013 at 06:41 AM (#4417676)
Sometimes a slow start is just a slow start, and Mike Trout has rattled off four straight multi-hit games to get his slash stats up to respectable levels.

But how does he only have 1 SB (and 1 SB attempt) this far into the season? Should we not expect 40 SB seasons from him anymore, or is this just an aberration?
   18. geonose Posted: April 18, 2013 at 02:09 PM (#4418120)
But how does he only have 1 SB (and 1 SB attempt) this far into the season? Should we not expect 40 SB seasons from him anymore, or is this just an aberration?

He stole 49 last year. The first one came on May 1. I think it's a bit too early to worry.
   19. valuearbitrageur Posted: April 18, 2013 at 02:11 PM (#4418124)
But how does he only have 1 SB (and 1 SB attempt) this far into the season? Should we not expect 40 SB seasons from him anymore, or is this just an aberration?


Didn't you read about how fat he was this year?

Methinks he's tweaked something, and other teams have adjusted. He ran about 1 out of every 5 times he was on base last year. Right now he's 1 out of 23.
   20. McCoy Posted: April 18, 2013 at 02:15 PM (#4418129)

He stole 49 last year. The first one came on May 1. I think it's a bit too early to worry.


I wonder why that was.
   21. bigglou115 Posted: April 18, 2013 at 02:24 PM (#4418142)
Didn't you read about how fat he was this year?

Methinks he's tweaked something, and other teams have adjusted. He ran about 1 out of every 5 times he was on base last year. Right now he's 1 out of 23.


I saw Trout down in LR a ton, and his weight this year has pretty much always been his playing weight. People forget he was pretty sick leading up to the season last year and that cost him some lbs.

I'd imagine that right now Trout is more concerned with ironing out his swing and getting his knocks than he is stolen bases. In modern baseball I have a hard time "expecting" anybody who isn't a Michael Bourn, speed only, type to steal 40 bases, but I have a hard time imagining he doesn't get 25-30+.
   22. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: April 18, 2013 at 02:51 PM (#4418193)
It wouldn't surprise me if the Angels have told Trout to limit the running in an effort to stay healthy. Other than pitching and catching it seems that stealing bases is about the most physically damaging thing a player can do on a regular basis. If stealing 20-25 bases instead of 40-50 keeps Trout fresher and healthier that's a pretty good trade off.

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