Friday, April 27, 2012

Kemp Vs. Hamilton: Kemp With A Slight Edge

In the latest "Triple Play" column, three ESPN pundits give Matt Kemp the edge over Josh Hamilton:

1. Who's better right now: Josh Hamilton or Matt Kemp?

Jerry Crasnick (@jcrasnick),
Gotta go with Kemp here. Hamilton is in an incredible zone, but it's hard to argue with a .924 slugging percentage and a 1.437 OPS. Kemp recently joined Tony Armas of the 1981 Oakland A's as the second player to capture consecutive Player of the Week awards to start a season. Plus, he's doing it in a tougher hitter's ballpark, with a less formidable supporting cast. He's the man right now.

Diane Firstman (@dianagram), Value Over Replacement Grit
Kemp is putting up video-game numbers in a lineup bereft of other big threats, in a severe pitcher's park, and he frequently visits Petco and AT&T Park. Hamilton, while finally solving his "day-game vision" issue through drops and shades, benefits from a potent lineup in a hitter's park and plays fewer in-division road games in pitcher's parks. Edge to Kemp.

Matt Meyers (@mtmeyers),
While I think Kemp is the better overall player, what Hamilton is doing right now is remarkable. According to FanGraphs, he is swinging at 60.7 percent of pitches, which is most in the majors, and hitting .400 with power (8 homers) in the process. It just goes to show how locked in he is that he can be that aggressive and still hit the ball with such authority. That kind of combo of hacking and power can't last forever, but Hamilton is something special to watch at the plate right now.