Monday, January 31, 2011

Matt Kemp Has A Believer (In Fantasy Baseball)

Still, it's a start. Eric Karabell of ESPN fantasy sports thinks 2011 will be a bounce-back year for Kemp (link insider only):

Anyone remember 2009? How about 2008? Yeah, I know it was a really long time ago, but it seems to me having a long memory can be invaluable when attempting to be a smart, well-informed fantasy player, or fantasy analyst. So it was that I found myself in a room with my ESPN fantasy editorial brethren, trying in vain to point out the virtues of what Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp accomplished before 2010. I wasn't literally on my own lonely island fighting for Kemp, but it didn't feel good.

Kemp was a statistical -- read, fantasy -- disappointment in the most recent season, as his batting average dropped to a miserable .249. Hey, it could have been worse. He could have been Carlos Pena or Mark Reynolds. We didn't expect Kemp to drop 48 points off a batting average that wasn't supposed to be a problem in the first place. Kemp also ran less; well, that's not entirely true, he was just successful on a lot fewer stolen base attempts. Add it all up and yes, Kemp, despite a career high in home runs and enough speed to matter, didn't deliver the fantasy goods like the No. 2 outfielder he was supposed to be. Thanks to batting average, he finished as the No. 30 outfielder. It's quite a drop. But it doesn't mean he hits .249 in 2011. That was my point! [...]

I suppose my role, in part, becomes reminding people that the most important year in analyzing players isn't always the most recent season. Trends can be a funny thing, as they aren't always so easy to read. It's certainly possible Kemp hits .249 again. Then again, I think he might hit .297, as he did in 2009. When in doubt, I tend to side with toolsy outfielders who hit for power and steal enough bases to matter. Kemp seems like one of the better bounce-back players in the game. I like quite a few of his Dodgers teammates -- Andre Ethier, Jonathan Broxton, among others -- to return similar value to pre-2010 levels as well. But Kemp has special upside.


Todd said...

As someone who picked Kemp with the first overall pick in a fantasy league draft, I can vouch for him being a boat anchor last season.