The first two months of the season the Dodgers best hitter was Matt Kemp. Now that the honeymoon phase of the reunion is over, Matt Kemp is in the midst of his first big slump this season.
After going 0-3 yesterday with three strikeouts, Matt Kemp is clearly in his first big slump of the 2018 season. For the season, Kemp still has a solid stat line of a .303 average, thirteen home runs, and a .864 OPS. Most of these gaudy numbers were due in large part to a red-hot start by Kemp as he hit .339 in April and .361 in May.
For June, Kemp hit only .220, but he belted six home runs which is one less than he hit combined in April and May. In the last seven games, Kemp has hit .100 with a .182 on-base percentage and a .250 slugging percentage. Over the past fifteen games, Kemp’s numbers are only slightly better at a .159 batting average and a .229 on-base percentage.
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While this could just be a slump that Matt Kemp will break out of, it’s worth taking a look at Kemp’s 2017 season that had a similar start. Last year, Matt Kemp hit .293 with twelve home runs prior to the all star break but after the break, he hit just .243 with seven home runs. Comparing last year’s first half to this season’s first half you can see how similar the numbers are:
Kemp 2017 First Half: 293 AVG, 12 HR 40 RBI .826 OPS
Kemp 2018 First Half: 303 AVG, 13 HR 47 RBI .864 OPS
While this doesn’t necessarily mean that a second-half fade is in the cards for Matt Kemp, it’s a bit worrisome that a repeat could happen. The factors working in Kemp’s favor are that Kemp lost at least fifty pounds, he is rejuvenated playing on a winning team, and Kemp has better lineup protection around him than he did last season.
At the latest release, Kemp was second among National League outfielders in all-star voting. If Kemp wants to make the all-star team in a couple weeks, he is going to need to finish this first half strong in order to make a strong impression on the voters. More importantly, if Matt Kemp wants to show the Dodgers he can be a viable starting outfielder next season, he will need to avoid a second-half tailspin.
The Dodgers have great outfield depth but the offense is producing at it’s best when Matt Kemp is healthy and on a roll. When Matt Kemp gets hot, he can go on the kind of streak where he can carry the offense for a week or two. Unfortunately, Kemp is currently in the midst of his first big slump this year. The sooner Kemp breaks out of his slump, the sooner the Dodgers offense