Astros: Tony Kemp could have an expanded role in 2019
By Tomas Romo
Tony Kemp has the ability to receive everyday playing time for the Houston Astros in 2019 for his performance last season.
Tony Kemp quietly put together a great season last year. He now has a chance to not only be on the Astros Major League roster but plays an impactful role for the former World Series champs. Kemp has struggled to maintain consistency in the majors and had bounced around in the minors. Now approaching 2019, Kemp looks to be a lock to be with the Astros full-time.
Kemp last year batted .263 with six HR’s and 30 RBIs and while the numbers don’t blow you away, he was one of the most consistent hitters in the lineup. Kemp never got the ability to play every day and was used more in a limited role off the bench. In the 2018 playoffs, manager A. J. Hinch put Kemp into the postseason lineup and he produced when his number was called. Last year in the postseason he batted .286 with a 1.045 OPS.
Kemp is primarily a high-contact hitter who always seems to put the ball in play, striking out in only 44 times last year in 296 at-bats. Kemp, however, can hit the long ball and he hit a big one in game four of the ALCS that put the Astros ahead.
Kemp isn’t going to be handed the everyday role, considering he will still have to compete with Kyle Tucker, Josh Reddick, Jake Marisnick and Marwin Gonzalez, if Marwin does re-sign with the Astros. He is likely to play primarily in left-field but has the ability to play all three outfield positions. Kemp is a dynamic player and has the ability to showcase his talents over a full year span in 2019. He has worked hard to get to where he is and has dealt with adversity throughout his professional career. Kemp’s hard work will look to pay off next year as he hopes to prove to Houston that he will be a vital piece to their success in the future.
It’s now or never for Kemp, the Astros will have to make a decision if Kemp will be a part of their future plans. Kemp isn’t slated to be a free-agent until 2024, but Houston may look to move him if Kyle Tucker turns into the All-star the Astros hope. Kemp will produce at the major league level if given everyday playing time and the Astros are excited to see him perform next year.