We begin our annual series of daily player profiles of the 2012 Dodgers with the man who should have been named the National League Most Valuable Player in 2011. Matt Kemp was due for a comeback year in 2011 after a poor 2010, and he delivered well beyond our wildest expectations.
Kemp hit .324/.399/.586 on the season, the first full-time center fielder since the Dodgers moved to Los Angeles to slug .500 in a season. He led the National League in total bases, home runs, runs, and RBI, the only Dodger ever to do that. He led the NL in adjusted OPS+, and Wins Above Replacement by both Fangraphs and Baseball-Reference versions.
|2012 Dodgers Player Profiles|
|Today marks the start of our series of 2011 player profiles, where we will analyze one player per day, between now and the end of spring training. This is also the spot for our community projections, so be sure to give us your predictions for each player for this season in the comments section.
Kemp was one home run shy of becoming the fourth member of the 40/40 club, and finished second in the league in stolen bases. He was the first player to finish in the top two in his league in both home runs and stolen bases since Hank Aaron in 1963, and then was honored with the Aaron Award as the top offensive player in the league.
The season had by Kemp in 2011 was why we watch baseball. It was the realization and actualization of a player's full potential. And Kemp was rewarded in November, signing an eight-year contract worth $160 million.
There is risk in giving anyone an eight-year contract but Kemp, especially through his age 27-34 seasons, is one player I would bet on. His 2011 season was the equivalent of Chris Rock's standup special Bring The Pain, a game changer that catapulted Kemp to national prominence. Hopefully Kemp's next eight years produce more performances like Bigger and Blacker than like Down to Earth or Head of State.
Kemp has the longest active consecutive games played streak in MLB, playing in 365 straight games dating back to August 2010. Kemp is a mere 742 games shy of Steve Garvey's team record of 1,107 consecutive games played.
Kemp signed the largest contract in National League history, an eight-year, $160 million pact through 2019, his age-34 season. Kemp will receive $10 million in 2012.
Previous Dodgers Player Profiles
2011: Primed For A Rebound
|2012 Projections - Age 27 Season|
Expecting Kemp to repeat 2011 is unfair, but there is plenty of room for Kemp to slide and still be great. I think Kemp outperforms those projections, hitting .306/.373/.542 with 36 home runs and 31 stolen bases.
What is your guess for Kemp in 2012? Be sure to guess BA/OBP/SLG, and anything else you wish to guess.