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Entries in Matt Kemp (14)


Lincecum vs. Kemp

In last night's Giants-Dodgers game, Tim Lincecum struck out Matt Kemp in three consecutive plate appearances. Here's the pitch frequency for the 17 pitches Lincecum threw Kemp:

As you can see, Lincecum tried to keep the ball down in the zone. Kemp is only a .219 hitter on low balls since the start of the 2010 season, as opposed to .340 on pitches middle and up.

All three strike outs were swinging, the first on a slider down, and the next two on changeups also down in the zone.

Matt Kemp ISO heat map data from 2010-2012 (Click image to enlarge)All three pitches would more than likely have been called balls for being too low. From Kemp's ISO heat map, we see that he's fairly dangerous on nearly any pitch in the strike zone, and even up out of the strike zone.  However, low pitches give him trouble; Lincecum concentrated his efforts here and was able to successfully neutralize the National League leader in batting average, slugging percentage, OPS+, wRC+, and WAR.


Matt Kemp's Beast Mode vs. Fastballs

While Matt Kemp's league leading (and eye pooping) .942 slugging percentage for 2012 is impressive, the L.A. Dodger centerfielder has been consistently crushing it for more than a year now.  Outside of Kemp, no player in the top five 2012 slugging percentage ranking is even in the top ten this season.  In fact, of the other players in the top five from last year (Ryan Braun, Jose Bautista, Miguel Cabrera, Prince Fielder), only Braun and Cabrera are in the top 25, and just barely at 24th and 25th place respectively.

Part of the reason why Kemp's power numbers are so incredible is what he's done with fastballs.  Sixteen of Kemp's 31 hits have come off fastballs this season, and seven of his ten home runs as well.

Since the start of the 2011 season, Kemp has just been ruthless against fastballs:

All data from start of 2011 to April 26th, 2012.Kemp is currently seeing 44.2% fastballs, which is actually up from 43.0% in 2011; league average for a hitter since 2011 is 46.9%.  Expect pitchers to start throwing Kemp fewer heaters as the season wears on.


2011's Big Bombers

While run-scoring was down for a sixth straight season in 2011 (from 4.86 runs per team during the go-go days of 2006 to 4.28), hitters still went deep a combined 4,552 times. On average, those homers traveled 395 feet from home plate to the cheap seats. But some batters blew past that average, routinely hitting tape-measure shots. Here's a look at the hitters with the highest average home run distance in 2011 (minimum 10 HR):


A few observations:

- Brent Morel (76 OPS+), Adam Dunn (56 OPS+) and Gordon Beckham (72 OPS+) had miserable offensive years for the White Sox, but apparently they tried to make up for all those outs by knocking the balls they did connect on clear out of Chicago. Alas, those bombs still only count once on the score board.

- Mike Stanton's moon shots at the Miami Marlins' new stadium will activate this beaming fishy Ferris Wheel. In spite of this, Marlins fans will still root for Stanton to go yard.

- All together, Matt Kemp's homers traveled just short of 3.1 miles. He could cover those 3.1 miles with a straight line of $100 bills and still have about $156.8 million left on his new eight-year, $160 million contract extension. This is a random, nerdy way of saying it pays to have Herculean power.