One of the primary concerns about losing Matt Kemp in the trade with the Padres was trying to make up for the amount of power the Dodgers are losing.
The Dodgers traded Kemp to the Padres for switch-hitting catcher Yasmani Grandal, and two young pitchers, Joe Wieland, and Zach Eflin. The Dodgers flipped Eflin to the Phillies in the Jimmy Rollins trade.
Kemp blasted 25 home runs last season for the Dodgers in a comeback season. Despite a slow start, Kemp posted an .852 OPS in 599 plate appearances, and drove in 89 runs. Kemp posted a 140 OPS+, and a .220 ISO, which is very good. So how are the Dodgers going to be able to replace his power and production?
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Well, they can do it in the aggregate, which is what the brain trust was probably thinking when they made these trades. The Dodgers acquired three new position players in their lineup. Catcher Yasmani Grandal, who they got from the Padres in the Kemp trade, and second baseman Howie Kendrick, and shortstop Jimmy Rollins.
Between these three players the Dodgers should probably be able to make up for Kemp’s power, by combining the three.
Last season Grandal hit 15 home runs in San Diego, while Rollins slugged 17 in Philadelphia. The solid all-around Kendrick, who is more of a contact hitter, smacked seven home runs for the Angels last year.
So that would give the Dodgers 39 home runs if we are going by last year’s totals. According to Steamer projections, Kemp is projected to hit around 20 home runs in 2015, with an ISO of .186. He had an ISO of .220 last season to go along with his 25 long balls.
I think Steamers is assuming that with his arthritic hips, advancing age, and well documented rustiness, that he will not put up as good of numbers as he did in 2014.
Last season Grandal had the highest ISO of the three new Dodgers with a .175 mark in San Diego. Meanwhile Rollins posted a .151 clip in Philadelphia, and Kendrick had a .121 with the Angels.
If all three of the new Dodgers can hit at least ten home runs each, then the club won’t lose a lot of power. Steamers projects Grandal to hit 13 home runs with a .159 ISO. Rollins is expected to hit 13 home runs as well, according to Steamer with a .121 ISO. Kendrick is projected to slug nine home runs with a .122 ISO.
That would give the Dodgers 35 home runs between the three players with a combined ISO of around .134.
If we combined the three players projected WRC+ for 2015, we would get a 102 WRC+. Kemp is projected to post around a 124 WRC+. But if we add in Joc Pederson’s projected 20 home runs and .164 ISO, we could almost match Kemp’s production.
Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports
Combining the four player’s projected 2015 ISO would give the Dodgers a .141 clip, with 55 home runs, compared to Kemp’s .186 with 20 home runs.
If everyone produces at least somewhat like they are expected to, and stay healthy, then the Dodgers can replace Kemp’s production with a combination of power between the three or four new hitters. If Grandal, Rollins, Pederson, and Kendrick all hit at least 10 home runs each and post ISO marks of .130, then the Dodgers won’t be losing as much power as we all thought they were.
Losing Kemp’s power is going to be tough to replace. However the three new guys in the lineup can all hit home runs, and are expected to put up fairly productive production. Combine them with Pederson, and the Dodgers will make up for the loss of Bison’s bat.
Also remember that all three of those players are better contact hitters, posting lower strikeout rates, and higher walk rates than Kemp. Better defense, contact hitting, and less strikeouts are good tradeoffs for losing 40 potential power points of ISO.
Not only can the Dodgers get decent offensive production from the three new guys, they get better contact hitting, better on-base skills, and improved defense.
We can get over losing Kemp, but it’s going to take a strong combined effort from the three newly acquired bats.