03 August 2009

Matt Kemp, Singles Hitter

It's true! Singles make up 73% of Matt Kemp's hit total, while singles make up only 66% of the average major league hitter's hit total. He's like Juan Pierre out there! ( Not really. Pierre is at 79% singles this year, and it's usually higher than that. )

Kemp collected two more singles last night. Not bad. One of them drove in two runs. He had another hit of some kind, but that other hit doesn't fit into my narrative, so I'm going to ignore it.

Why exactly is Kemp a singles hitter? Kemp's speed helps him collect a few extra leg singles, but that same speed will also help him turn a few singles into doubles, so that's probably a wash. I don't have an explanation other than that he just hits it hard all over the place when he's not striking out. Hard liners, hard ground balls, hard fly balls. Kemp hits a respectable amount of home runs and doubles, and draws a respectable number of walks. It's all the extra singles that have turned him into an outstanding offensive player this year. Add in the great glovework in center and you have one of the top players in the game.

Saturday's game:

Game 104 Unfair Loss Shares ( Dodgers )

Kemp -- 1
Martin -- 1
Wolf -- 1

Martin's poor Saturday is what I remember, but I think maybe Matt Kemp was even worse. Sunday's hero was 0-4 on Saturday, with a strikeout to end the game, a strikeout with a runner on second, a strikeout with runners on first and third and one out, and a strike --- no, strike that, a ground out fielder's choice in his first at bat, but he was picked off! I think that might have been Kemp's worst offensive game this season.

I'm still pondering the deeper nature of Martin's attempted pick off throws to first base. I lean toward the ego theory of these throws, that they are a way of showing off, a way to stating that he is one of the elite defensive catchers in the game, because one of the things elite catchers do is gun down incautious runners at first base. I can't remember the last time Martin got one of these runners. That, by itself, doesn't make it a poor play --- maybe he can take away some of the secondary lead with his throws to first, or the threat of them. Maybe. But I think they are unnecessary, an affectation, an indulgence. Whatever they are, his throw to first was costly on Saturday, but not as costly as his drop of Ethier's great throw a play later, when the tying run came in and the go-ahead run was set up at second base. Wolf was unlucky in the inning, but he still gave up the hits that led to the runs, so I'm not sparing him.

Game 104 Unfair Win Shares ( Braves )

Jones -- 1
McClouth -- 1
Soriano -- 1

Sunday's game:

Game 105 Unfair Win Shares ( Dodgers )

Kemp -- 2
Billingsley -- 1

I think home runs to dead center are the most impressive home runs to watch. They are so pure, so symmetric. And there are no cheapies to dead center. You really have to hit it to clear a center field wall. Andre Ethier is the more prolific home run hitter, but I think Kemp has more pure power when he hits them.

I liked Billingsley start enough to give him the unfair win share, even though he had to leave after five. I try not to hold it against him that he would have given up 20 runs if allowed to pitch the sixth.

Game 105 Unfair Loss Shares ( Braves )

Jurrjens -- 1
Jones -- 1
Anderson -- 1

To echo the comments of announcers and other observers, it really is weird to see Garrett Anderson in an uniform other than Angels. And then I see his performance last night and his OBP of 0.322 on the year and I understand why the Angels let him go. On second thought, no I don't, since his career OBP is just 0.327. The Angels were apparently happy to live with that from their left fielders for years and years. I guess his defense and power made up for that. Anderson was with the Angels for so long that when he came up they were still called the California Angels.

1 comment:

berkowit28 said...

Waiting to see what you do with Game 106. I think you may need 5 or so (un)fair loss shares this time.