Astros Season Rewind: The Growth of Outfielder Tony Kemp
We welcomed the outfielder in 2016 to the Astros. Let’s recap what we learned about Tony Kemp.
It was a trying rookie appearance for Kemp with the Houston Astros. After boasting a .217 BA, and a .296 OBP, it remains apparent that Kemp is a work in progress. However, the youngster shows sign of great discipline as a hitter and the ability to play the outfield.
What We Saw
After batting .308 with the Fresno Grizzlies, Kemp made his MLB debut in May. Consider his 59 games a learning curve, but it was clear he would need time to adapt to the big-league game. He had flashes of brilliance and ultimately showed great potential to give the Astros serviceable support off the bench.
Kemp is quick, capable of stealing bases. Obviously, he will need to development his ability to read pitchers and catchers so that he can exploit them with his speed. Kemp can hit the baseball, but like all great hitters, he will need to work the count and get pitches he can drive. He is not a power hitter, so working the entire zone and hitting the pitches as they are located is paramount to his success.
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Let’s not rush to conclusions on the young man’s future. The signing of Nori Aoki may seem like a move that would force Kemp back into the farm system, but this move may show that Colby Rasmus will not return the club in 2017. He will offer depth in the outfield, and play a few infield positions if necessary. Kemp, Marisnick Hernandez, and Tucker are perspective outfielders to play in company with Spring and Aoki. It may take a committee to fill the last outfield spot. This will be interesting to watch as we move towards spring training and through the first 30 games of the season.
I foresee Kemp on the Astros roster in April. He is smart, capable and versatile. The entire Astros roster is full of players who can play all over the field. He will give great support to the starting roster, to reduce fatigue and possible injuries down the stretch of the season.
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Next: Astros Add Nori Aoki via Waivers From Mariners
All in all, I see Kemp batting around the .250 mark, finding ways to get on base and be productive. With great coaching, encouragement and practice, Kemp is more than capable of holding his own as a hitter and fielder.
***Statistics and data provided by MLB.com***