2014 Fantasy Baseball Advice: Don’t Reach for Matt Kemp
Just a couple of seasons ago, Matt Kemp was one of the top 10 draft picks in fantasy drafts. He provided home runs and RBI while racking up steals for fantasy owners. Fast forward to 2014, Kemp would be lucky to be a starter for his own team – the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Kemp had two surgeries at the end of the 2013 season, the most recent being surgery on his ankle. Kemp has yet to be able to run with his teammates and could cost him some playing time in the early part of the season. There has been no timetable set for Kemp’s return to baseball activities.
Kemp played in just 73 games last season and was far from his top-10 value. He hit six home runs and 33 RBI with a .270 average. He is currently ranked as No. 74 overall, 21st among outfielders. That makes him a No. 2 outfielder on some fantasy teams. Yet, with all of the questions in Spring Training, it’s hard to take Kemp as a No. 2 OF.
In 2011, Kemp was the No. 1 outfielder without a question. He played in 161 games and hit 39 home runs, 126 RBI with a .324 average and .986 OPS. He also stole 40 bases. He stole just nine bases in each of the last two seasons.
There were rumors that Kemp would be coming off the bench as the No. 4 outfielder. He immediately put that to rest, but could those rumors turn to reality? Carl Crawford and Andre Ethier have proven themselves to be consistent bats in the lineup. Then, there is one of the most talked about players in Yasiel Puig. There is no way the Dodgers would think about benching him. Where does Kemp fit into all of this?
Kemp can still hit close to 30 home runs and 80 RBI. However, he is no longer stealing 40 bases. He won’t even steal 20 bases. Kemp’s 2014 numbers will be similar to 25 HR, 75 RBI and 13 SB with a .265 average. Those numbers do not represent a former top-10 draft pick. With the lingering injuries to the ankle and shoulder, Kemp should not be taken in the fist six or seven rounds.
If you do draft Kemp early, know that the upside is limited and the risk of multiple DL stints is very high. He should be the third outfielder drafted on a team in a 10-team league.