All Aboard the Houston Astros’ Jon Kemmer Bandwagon!
Wait, how are Houston Astros’ people just now hopping aboard the Jon Kemmer bandwagon? Climbing Tal’s Hill and Talking Stros has been all about KemKem since the middle of last season? Has Kemmer played anymore baseball since the Corpus Christi Hooks lost in the playoffs last season? He won the Corpus Christi MVP for the Hooks team that featured A.J. Reed (part of the season) and Carlos Correa (small stint). Baseball America’s J.J. Cooper has hopped aboard the Kemmer bandwagon while Mike Elias is the conductor of the train.
To be honest, I remember reading some CTH minor league recaps and MiLB box scores and kept seeing the name Kemmer appear in them similar to the way I noticed Brett Phillips the year before. Some of my followers on Twitter, including Tammy Tucker, told me that I needed to interview a specific player. When people request a particular person to interview, that means that they are either really good or very fan friendly. Jon Kemmer is a little of both.
If you listen to his interview on Talking Stros, you will hear that he goes hunting a lot, and his favorite song is Kicking it in the Sticks. However, that’s what he does in his free time, and he spends about six hours a day working out to ready to continue his trek to the big leagues. I’ve gotten to meet a few players I got to interview, but he told me that his parents have that interview I did with him for CTH hanging on their wall. He also took his time to thank me and meet my family following a Hooks game towards the end of the season.
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His best quote from that night was after he asked if we were going to come back the next day, I told him that we were probably going to head back to Houston because my wife had to be back to work the next day. After I had said that, he said,” after the way we played tonight, I wouldn’t blame you for not wanting to come back.” The Hooks lost that game 13-7, which is not something that Kemmer or the Hooks wanted to do that night. The Astros have built a winning feeling throughout the minors, and Kemmer is a big reason.
While CTH is making projections, I will make a prediction for who is the starting left fielder for the Astros in 2017. I will make a bold statement that if Carlos Gomez and Colby Rasmus don’t re-sign with the Houston Astros, Kemmer will have a shot to pair up with Jake Marisnick and Preston Tucker in some arrangement with George Springer in right field. No, he is not one of the big names in Astros prospects, but everywhere that Kemmer goes, he just hits.
Kemmer’s 2015 stats with the Hooks: .327 AVG/ 18 homers/ 65 RBI/ 9 sb in 104 games.
As a career .290 hitter with a .865 OPS in the minors who has a decent strikeout rate of about 20% after three seasons in the Astros farm system, he could bring a steady left-handed bat in the batting order. However, he needs to hit in Triple-A to continue gaining the momentum. He has caught the eye of manager A.J. Hinch, but his time is not right now because there is not even room on the roster for Tucker, unless Evan Gattis requires a disabled list visit following his hernia surgery.
Should Kemmer continue to hit with the Fresno Grizzlies and further develop his power, he could be ready for the 2017 season. He will have to outplay several other people to earn a roster spot, but this Cinderella story could be what the Astros need exactly. The 2016 version of Kemmer could be Tyler White, who I think has a strong chance of making the roster and be at least part of a platoon with Jon Singleton at first.