A few hours ago, Eric posted his interview with Astros’ minor league second baseman, Tony Kemp. In light of this, I wanted to provide you with what some of the experts are saying of Kemp, and his rise through the minor leagues.
First, let’s start with some stats. In his two seasons in the minors, Kemp has compiled a batting average of .301 and an on-base percentage of .396. He isn’t the most powerful hitter, adding just ten home runs in that time, but he has amassed 167 runs scored (121 in 2014) and 62 stolen bases (41 in 2014). When attempting to steal, Kemp has a 72% success rate, which is a little low, but definitely something he can work on during his climb to the majors.
As Eric mentioned in his interview, Tony Kemp doesn’t strike out much, which is a departure for Astros’ hitters. In two years, Kemp has totaled 114 K’s, one more than his walk total. That comes out to a K% of 11.9, which is very good for any Astros’ player, outside of Jose Altuve. Funny enough, Kemp and Altuve play the same position, at least for the time being.
Last season in Double-A, Kemp hit .292 with a .381 OBP while collecting four home runs and crossing home 42 times. These stats were compiled in just 275 plate appearances.
Kemp is ranked as the #15 prospect in the Astros’ farm system, according to MLB Pipeline, but Baseball Prospectus lists him as one of their “Factors on the Farm,” or prospects likely to contribute at the major league level in 2015.
Here is what they had to say of Kemp, “Kemp’s calling card is a compact stroke that plays well gap to gap and facilitates elite bat-to-ball rates. He regularly produces firm line-drive contact, with his plus speed helping to turn singles into doubles while keeping infielders’ feet to the fire on anything requiring three or more steps to convert. The power is well below-average, and he has a tendency to get front-of-center in his weight transfer, exposing him to soft stuff away, particularly from same-side arms.
If he can sort out his splits there’s enough thump to keep upper-level arms honest, and it’s a tight enough approach to rack up a solid on-base percentage as pitchers try to work the black. Defensively, Kemp is a safe and solid glove at the keystone with enough arm strength to push his functional range beyond the bag. He’s not far from helping out in Houston and could wind up anywhere from a solid everyday bat with some on-base chops to a super utility/platoon option with pinch-run utility.”
In the book that BP released a couple of weeks ago, they added to their praise of Kemp, saying, “Look for the Astros to experiment with Kemp on the left side of the infield in 2015 in the hopes that he can function in superutility. He might just wind up as half of the shortest one-two punch in big-league history.” Kemp is 5’6″.
At the time that the book was printed, Luis Valbuena hadn’t been added to the team, but if he struggles, the same same report may still apply. At the very least, we should expect to see Tony Kemp in an Astros uniform come September when rosters expand.
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