Los Angeles Dodgers’ Matt Kemp Holds Key To Outfield Situation
The Los Angeles Dodgers season has not started how they way that they envisioned it. They were expected to compete in their division for a playoff spot. The injuries that they have suffered have put a wrench into those plans.
The pitching has been the strength for the team with them having a 3.84 team ERA that is 6th best in the NL this season. The problem for the Dodgers has been scoring runs, as they have only scored 240 runs through 68 games.
They did call up their star prospect Yasiel Puig and he has the set the baseball world on fire with his play on both the offense and defense. They brought him up to ignite the team on offense and he has done that in a very big way.
He has a .479/.500/1.271 triple-slash in the 13 games played. The one area of concern with him is that he has only walked once and struck out nine times. This shows that he is aggressive and likes to swing early in the count.
Puig obviously will not be able to keep this pace of hitting, because once opposing pitchers figure out the holes in his swing those numbers will decline.
The main concern is what the Dodgers will do once Kemp and Crawford are healthy. One of the players that could be the odd man out is outfielder Andre Ethier. He signed a six-year $95 Million extension during the off-season, but has not lived up to that deal.
He is only hitting .242 on the season to go along with 5 HRs and 20 RBIs. So when Kemp and Crawford eventually do get healthy, the Dodgers could ship him away to a team that does not mind his contract.
Los Angeles could also absorb most of the contract, and that might entice more teams to do a deal knowing they will not have to pay most of the contract.
The most likely scenario is that they will send Puig back to Double-A, and have him develop more as a hitter to show more patience at the plate.
The injured players do have to perform well when they return, and I do mean Kemp. Kemp is too talented of player to just have a .251/.305/.640 triple-slash with 2 HRs and 17 RBIs in 51 games. The Dodgers need to him play better, or this could be a long season for Dodger Nation.