It’s just like old times again with Matt Kemp back with the Dodgers and in the All-Star Game. The National League starting left fielder kicks off our quartet of profiles for the midsummer classic.
Kemp was elected to start by the fans, receiving 2,930,353 votes, second-most in the National League outfield behind Nick Markakis of the Braves. Kemp also received the most votes among NL outfielder from players, with his 494 votes 56 more than Markakis and 142 more than third-place finisher Christian Yelich of the Brewers.
This is the third All-Star selection for Kemp, who was also elected to start in 2011 and 2012. He started in center field in 2011 and was 1-for-2 with a walk and a run scored, playing six innings. Kemp’s 22 home runs at the break were tied for second in the league, but he was eliminated in the first round of the Home Run Derby with only two home runs.
In 2012 Kemp was elected to start again but was nusring a hamstring injury and did not play in the game. He did however take part in the Home Run Derby that year in Kansas City, but hit one home run and was again eliminated in the first round.
Kemp, who had a 140 OPS+ in 2014 before getting traded away, has a 135 OPS+ in 2018 now back with his original team. He’s hitting .310/.352/.522 with 15 home runs and leads the Dodgers with 60 RBI.
Kemp has thrived with runners in scoring position, hitting an absurd .429/.464/.729. He’s 30-for-70 in those situations, including eight hits and two walks in his last 15 plate appearances with RISP.
Kemp will bat fifth and start in left field, where he has made 53 of his 79 starts this season. He is the seventh Dodger to start in left field in an All-Star Game, joining Joe Medwick (1940, 1942), Augie Galan (1944), Jackie Robinson (1954), Wally Moon (1959), Tommy Davis (1962, 1963) and Joc Pederson (2015).
Kemp will be the first Dodger to start at two different outfield positions in the All-Star Game. He’s just the second Dodger to start at two positions in the midsummer classic, along with Jackie Robinson (four starts at second base, once in left field).
The six years in between All-Star appearances for Kemp is the most in Dodgers history, surpassing Bill Russell (his last two All-Star appearances were 1976 and 1980).
The last Dodgers left fielder to get a hit in the All-Star Game was Dusty Baker in 1981.