Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
I like writing things about Matt Kemp. Yep, the franchise player, i’ve stuck up for him quite a bit recently, I do feel most of the criticism he’s taken is a bit unfair, so the better he comes back and reminds us how great he can be, the better. We’ve found out some pretty important things today about his comeback. It doesn’t necessarily have to do with the running he’s been cleared to do, which is an amazing sign regardless. But his swing.
Buster Olney put up an article titled “The return of Matt Kemp’s devastating swing”. Doesn’t that make you giddy inside?
"McGwire explains it this way: A right-handed hitter drives with his left arm — his lead arm – and steers with his right. When Kemp was at his best, he had been able to lift and drive the ball to right-center field. But last year, Kemp still seemed to be recovering from the shoulder surgery he had in the fall of 2012, and McGwire never really saw that classic Kemp finish. Rather, his front arm was noticeably lower in his follow-through, and, instead of lifting the ball, he tended to hit looping liners without much carry, a lingering sign that his repaired shoulder was not yet operating at 100 percent."
What McGwire is saying makes sense. I think is was more than noticeable that Kemp’s swing was just awful last season. Which is why after he “came back” from the ankle injury in late summer, he was forced to make adjustments, and you know what? He was so good that it worked, hitting .314/.385/.486 in September. I’m not going to pretend that we can make a judgement off of half of a month’s AB’s on Kemp, but the thing that matters here is how he looked, and he certainly looked better with his modified swing, can you imagine with his old swing?
Another excerpt from that article made me happy:
"On Friday morning, before the Dodgers’ exhibition against the White Sox, McGwire saw that old swing again."
Forget MVP production, give me a mid 800 OPS player playing the OF regularly, batting around Adrian Gonzalez, Hanley Ramirez, Yasiel Puig in some manner and you have something special. Being quite honest it’s probably a good thing he’s not going to be ready for the opener, let him heal on his own, come back, mash major league pitching, and win a comeback player of the year award.
That sounds nice.