For the past several seasons, Matt Kemp has been one of the best players in all of baseball, and on Monday, he returned to the active roster of the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Kemp hadn’t appeared in an MLB game since July 21st until his pinch-hit appearance on Monday against the Diamondbacks (he was retired), and prior to the 21st, his last at-bat was during a July 7th game against the Giants. It’s been an absolutely disastrous season for Kemp as a result of hamstring, shoulder, and ankle injuries, and now that he is “back”, the Dodgers outfield is extremely crowded.
On the year, Kemp has a .263/.319/.382 slash line (.700 OPS) with 5 home runs and 8 stolen bases, but that doesn’t tell the whole story. In a “down” year in 2012, he blasted 23 home runs in 449 plate appearances, but the old Matt Kemp seems to have dissipated in front of our very eyes. Add in a crowded outfield that includes Carl Crawford, Andre Ethier, and Yasiel Puig and things are a bit of a mess for Kemp.
With all of that said, this is a huge win for the Dodgers. They’ve managed to stay afloat (and much, much more) without the services of their franchise player, but if he is even 80% healthy, he should provide a significant upgrade from the play of Ethier and/or Crawford. It’s far too early to tell if he can stay on the field, but for the sake of baseball, the Dodgers are a much more interesting squad with him out there.