Fantasy Baseball: Of Course ... But Maybe - Matt Kemp

      May 7, 2013 @ 15:49:15 PDT


Any fellow Louis CK fan knows he says many of the things we all wish we could tell people without judgment. He taps into the raunchiest, most politically incorrect parts of our brain and makes it OK to laugh at them.

Los Angeles Dodgers OF Matt Kemp
Plenty to think about

One particular sketch from his latest special resonates. It's called "Of Course, But Maybe" and details what he calls internal competition of good thoughts and bad thoughts. Watch it. (Potentially NSFW due to naughty language and general offensiveness.)

There's a fantasy baseball spin here, too, though, and I'll take the baton by applying it to some strugglers in the early going.

First up:

Of course.... Matt Kemp only has one homer so far. Don't worry, he'll hit plenty more. Of course.

But maybe.... he won't even reach 20.

His HR/FB is microscopic and, in theory, could turn around over time. However, while still low, his frequency of infield flies is at a career-high pace. His excellent 2011 came in spite of his poor contact peripherals, and even if he improves to a low- or mid-70s percentage of connections, that doesn't present a high ceiling.

He's claimed he's healthy after his offseason left-shoulder surgery, but mid-April observations said his mechanics were way off, struggling notably with outside pitches and catching up to fastballs. That's his thump-generating shoulder, as well, so maybe he's not at full strength there yet, even if he's healthy enough to play. 48.2 percent of Kemp's contact versus right-handers has been grounders. This weak lineup isn't helping him pick up the slack.

At least he appears to be driving the ball the other way more effectively (.444 to right field). In fact, his only homer (off Matt Harvey) went to the other way. And at least he's still crushing left-handed pitching, which has kept him from truly sinking to the depths.

Two days off (one for a game) before a late-April road trip helped him snap out of a funk, and he's hit .339 in the subsequent 62 at-bats. His four stolen bases say he'll probably get 20 there, as well. (Maybe his cool gift to a fan will give him some good karma.)

Whether a result of bad shoulder health or bad habits started last year when he first injured himself, it may take a while for him to rediscover his power, but at least he's on the right track to simply hitting again. Plus, when he has started clicking, elite results have followed. Maybe when Hanley Ramirez (hamstring) returns and Adrian Gonzalez shows signs of smashing, Kemp will regain his confidence.

Try to buy him low, but you shouldn't pay a first-round price anymore and it might take awhile for him to kick in after you snag him. You might be able to low-ball his owner further if he keeps stinking up the joint for another few weeks. By then, however, it might be too late. Adjust your season-long expectations to 20-20, with the swipes being the likelier piece he'll achieve.

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About Tim Heaney

Tim's work has been featured by USA Today/Sports Weekly, among numerous outlets, and recognized as a finalist in the Fantasy Sports Writers Association awards. The Boston University alum, who competes in LABR and Tout Wars, has won numerous industry leagues in both baseball and football.

During baseball and football season, he appears on Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio on Thursdays and Sundays, and every Wednesday on 1570 AM WNST in Baltimore.

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