MATT MATTHEW RYAN KEMP
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Nickname:   N/A Position:   OF
Home: Midwest City, OK Team:   BRAVES - DL
Height: 6' 2" Bats:   R
Weight: 225 Throws:   R
DOB: 9/23/1984 Agent: Dave Stewart
Uniform #: 27  
Birth City: Midwest City, OK
Draft: Dodgers #6 - 2003 - Out of high school (OK)
YR LEA TEAM SAL(K) G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO OBP SLG AVG
2003 GCL Dodgers   42 159 11 43 5 2 1 17 2   7 25     .270
2004 SAL COLUMBUS, GA   111 423 67 122 22 8 17 66 8   24 100     .288
2004 FSL VERO BEACH   11 37 5 13 5 0 1 9 2   4 12     .351
2005 FSL VERO BEACH   109 418 76 128 21 4 27 90 23   25 92     .306
2006 SL JACKSONVILLE   48 199 38 65 15 2 7 34 11 2 20 38 .402 .528 .327
2006 NL DODGERS $327.00 52 154 30 39 7 1 7 23 6 0 9 53 .289 .448 .253
2006 PCL LAS VEGAS   44 182 37 67 14 6 3 36 14 3 17 26 .428 .560 .368
2007 NL DODGERS $383.00 98 292 47 100 12 5 10 42 10 5 16 66 .373 .521 .342
2007 PCL LAS VEGAS 51S $94.00 39 161 32 53 16 3 4 20 9 2 10 26   .540 .329
2008 NL DODGERS $406.00 155 606 93 176 38 5 18 76 35 11 46 153 .340 .459 .290
2009 NL DODGERS $467.00 159 606 97 180 25 7 26 101 34 8 52 139 .352 .490 .297
2010 NL DODGERS $4,000.00 162 602 82 150 25 6 28 89 19 15 53 170 .310 .450 .249
2011 NL DODGERS $7,100.00 161 602 115 195 33 4 39 126 40 11 74 159 .399 .586 .324
2012 NL DODGERS $10,250.00 106 403 74 122 22 2 23 69 9 4 40 103 .367 .538 .303
2012 CAL RANCHO CUCAMONGA   4 14 2 6 1 0 0 4 0 0 2 4 .500 .500 .429
2012 PCL ALBUQUERQUE   4 16 6 8 2 0 2 6 0 0 0 2 .500 1.000 .500
2013 NL DODGERS $20,250.00 73 263 35 71 15 0 6 33 9 0 22 76 .328 .395 .270
2013 CAL RANCHO CUCAMONGA   5 18 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 7 .053 .000 .000
2013 PCL ALBUQUERQUE   3 11 3 2 2 0 0 0 1 0 1 6 .250 .364 .182
2014 NL DODGERS $21,250.00 150 541 77 155 38 3 25 89 8 5 52 145 .346 .506 .287
2015 NL PADRES $21,250.00 154 596 80 158 31 3 23 100 12 2 39 147 .312 .443 .265
2016 NL PADRES $21,750.00 100 409 54 107 24 0 23 69 0 0 16 100 .285 .489 .262
2016 NL BRAVES   56 214 35 60 15 0 12 39 1 0 20 56 .336 .519 .280
2017 IL GWINNETT   1 3 0 1 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 .250 .333 .333
2017 NL BRAVES $21,500.00 8 33 3 11 4 0 3 6 0 0 1 8 .353 .727 .333
Personal
  • Back in Oklahoma, Matthew was a good basketball player, a 6-foot-4 forward on a state champion Midwest City High School team. He dreamed of being an NBA shooting guard. However, although he was a solid college basketball prospect, he realized that baseball afforded him the best chance at a Major League career. (He didn't have the grades to get a college scholarship.)

    The young Kemp grew up watching Atlanta Braves games and following his favorite players, like Ken Griffey Jr. and Frank Thomas. But basketball had a strong hold on him. He wanted to emulate Ray Allen and Michael Jordan.

    "I really liked Thomas. I was a little bigger as a kid—a little chubby," Matt said. "They used to call me 'The Big Little Hurt.' Frank Thomas was my man when I was growing up."

  • Though Kemp's father and mother never married, Matt's formative years were spent with his Mom, Judy and her mother. Carl, Matt's Dad, also was there for his son throught his life. Their influence, and that of others in his life, have their imprint all over Kemp's success.

    Judy worked two jobs to make ends meet and also tried to get a better life for her and her son. When she was pregnant with Matt, she was working as a nursing assistant and also at a restaurant. After her son was born, she went to school to become a registered nurse. If anyone wonders where that Beast Mode work ethic comes from, they need not look past Judy. Their life became more normal after she received her nursing degree, and was able to work normal hours. She was able to attend her son's athletic exploits.

    "My Dad was there for me too," Matt said in 2012. "He's the one who got me into baseball and he's a big reason why I picked to play baseball."

    "Not a lot of colleges contacted Matt to play basketball," Judy said. "There were so many more offers to play baseball. When he saw that I think that's when it hit him, 'I need to play baseball.'"

  • When Matt was 13, his Mom, Judy, gave birth to a second son, Tyler, who was born prematurely, weighing one pound, one ounce and without a set of fully developed lungs. But Tyler fought on well past any doctor's expectations.

    On the days that Judy would leave at dawn to be by Tyler's side at the hospital, not coming home until after dark, Kemp got himslef to school, did the cooking and finished his homework alone.

    Tyler died shortly after his first birthday.

  • Looking back, Kemp now realizes how little he knew when he signed with the Dodgers in 2003, giving up his primary sport of basketball. He said he never was a student of the game, it was just something he played when it wasn't basketball season. He hadn't developed his throwing arm, wasn't a fast runner and hadn't developed a hitting approach.

    He showed up on the Dodgers radar by accident, according to White, who joined scout Mike Leuzinger at a tournament looking to see a hyped left-handed pitcher who never made it. White, however, liked the right fielder with the "baby fat," was confident Kemp would make the switch from basketball and signed him for $130,000.

    "To be honest, I was a little naive, but I did some research and figured he could play Division I basketball, but he wasn't going to play in the NBA," said White. "He was mid-range—not tall enough to be a big man and not small enough to be a ball handler. We drafted him and went to his home, met his mom and he signed quickly. But the first year, I would get a lot of voice messages. 'Don't know about this Matt Kemp kid. Very long swing.' He hit .240 that first year, one home run in the last game of the season, two stolen bases. That first year, he was homesick, miserable. The next year, he started to show he could be special."  (Ken Gurnick-MLB.com-June 23, 2011)

  • Kemp is built more like a tight end in football than a skinny basketball player. And Matt is extraordinarily athletic. He can not only dunk a basketball but also leap, pass the ball between his legs and then slam it, a move that most baseball players couldn't execute in a video game.

    Matt's athleticism inspires his teammates and coaches to wax both superlative and poetic. "There are only two guys I would put in the same category as Matt Kemp as far as athletic ability," says Brad Ausmus, who last fall retired as a Dodger after 18 years as a major league catcher. "One would be Bo Jackson, and two would be Carlos Beltran. The one thing that they can do that most ballplayers can't is this: They can do everything.

    "His  upside is unlimited, and his downside is probably his 2010 season," said Ausmus late in the 2011 season. "If Matt can squeeze every ounce of ability out of his body for the next 15 years, we'll be looking at a Hall of Famer."

  • Mike Leuzinger is the scout for the Dodgers who signed Kemp.
  • In 2005, Matt's 27 home runs and a .590 slugging percentage were Vero Beach franchise records.

  • After the 2005 season, Kemp played in the Arizona Fall League, where he hit .383 with a .606 slugging percentage.

  • Catcher Russell Martin spent some time with Kemp in the minors. Those were fun days, Matt at one point cramming as many as five teammates in a three-bedroom house by partitioning off parts of the living room.

  • During the off-season before 2006 spring training, Baseball America rated Matt as 8th-best prospect in the Dodgers organization. (They had him at #28 in the spring of 2005.)
  • Matt has a good attitude and work ethic. And he has a great big smile.
  • Kemp is real thankful for getting to play Major League Baseball.

    "I'm not real demonstrative on the field, that's not who I am, and I'm not going to change that," he said. "I'm not going to throw my helmet to convince people that I care about the game."

  • When Matt touches home plate after a home run, he pumps his chest with both fists, and points to the sky to show how grateful he is for his many blessings. He also is saluting his late brother, Tyler.

    When Matt was in 8th grade, two-year-old Tyler passed away after battling illness that was brought on by his being born premature with underdeveloped lungs. Kemp has his younger brother's name tattooed on his left shoulder as a tribute.

    "He was a big part of my life before he passed away, and I always give him thanks," Matt said.  (Jorge Martin-Dodgers Magazine-August 2007)

  • During the winter before 2008 spring training, Matt dropped nearly 20 pounds working out in Arizona with fitness guru Mack Newton.

    But in the winter before 2009 spring camp opened, Kemp spent most of the winter in Los Angeles. The kid from Oklahoma worked out with a track coach. His early mornings were spent in Encino with his personal hitting coach, former Dodger Reggie Smith.

  • During 2009 spring training, Kemp received a new pair of contact lenses that corrected his 20/30 vision and an astigmatism, making the ball clearer.
  • Matt is not a guy who will be hindered by complacency. He says, "I always want more. You just do. I think people should feel like they should get better every year."

    Why? Kemp points to his parents who never got married, but strove together to support him.

    His father, Carl Kemp, used to read electric meters and climb poles for Oklahoma Gas & Electric. He now holds a management position in the same company. His mother, Judy Henderson, is a nurse. She always took him to baseball and basketball practice. And she worked long hours, sometimes the night shift, sometimes two jobs.

    "They worked from the bottom up and now they're pretty successful," Kemp says.

  • Whenever Matt goes home to Oklahoma and visits with his younger half-brother, Carlton, he gets a sobering reminder that for all of his ability on a baseball diamond, there are still some things he can't do.

    Carlton has an acute case of autism.

    "It's pretty severe," Kemp said. "It affects his speech, and it affects his ability to play with other kids. It's like a kid having the life sucked out of him."

  • Matt bought his mother a house and a Mercedes.
  • Kemp has a special place in his heart for  his 71-year-old (in 2011) grandmother, Doris Mukes, a dressmaker in Oklahoma. She calls with a reprimand whenever she sees him curse on the TV he bought her, and begs him to stop acquiring tattoos.

    "I tell him, 'You've got this beautiful body, and you mar it all up,'" Doris says. "I keep hearing about last year, when he wasn't focused. I think all this was happening to him all of a sudden, and he got too involved in outside things. I tell him, 'You've accomplished so much, but you're not there yet.'"

  • Kemp got a lot of ink during the offseason before 2010 spring training because of his involvement with R&B singer Rihanna.

    The two vacationed in Cabo and were courtside at a Lakers game. The relationship got Matt more air-time on TMZ than on the MLB Network or ESPN. He dated the Barbadian pop star in 2010, but they spit up, amiably, in December 2010.

  • Matt lost 10 pounds before 2011 spring training, just by eating right.

    "No beef. A lot of chicken, fish, turkey. I was listening to Ray Lewis of the Baltimore Ravens explain why he was in the NFL so long, because he eats right. I want to play till I can't play no more," Kemp said.

    Kemp tinkered with more than his diet and weight coming off a tumultuous 2010. He worked on his quickness and stamina with a track and field coach at Arizona State University.

  • In 2011, players and coaches voted Kemp the Dodgers' Roy Campanella Award winner, which goes to the Dodger who best exemplifies the spirit and leadership of Campanella, the late Hall of Fame catcher.

  • In 2011, Matt was named the Baseball America Player of the Year.

  • During the offseason before 2012 spring training, the support of Torii Hunter and his family during visits to Hunter's home in Prosper, Texas, were an ongoing inspiration to Kemp.

    "It's a beautiful place," Matt, an Oklahoman born and raised, said. "My hometown is about a two and a half hour drive from Torii's place. Torii's my bro, and Katrina (Hunter's wife) is like a big sister to me.

    "Torii was somebody I looked up to as a youngster. When I came to the big leagues, he became one of my best friends. He's taught me a lot—about life and baseball. They've got me wanting to purchase land in Texas. It's really quiet down there. When I settle down and get married, have a family, it'd be a nice place to live."

  • Matt lives in a gated, four-bedroom house tucked away in the Hollywood Hills, down the road from Leo DiCaprio's pad and the Van Diesel compound.There's a Bentley and an Aston Martin in the garage, a sparkling pool in back, and, inside the master-bedroom closets, a collection of shoes that would make Imelda Marcos faint (from retro Air Jordans to the latest $1,000 Christian Louboutins). (Albert Chen-SI-5/28/12)

  • In 2013 he was selected to be one of the two players to have his picture put on the cover of "Big League Chew" brand of chewing gum.  The other player was Cole Hamels.

  • Matt made his MLB debut on May 28, 2006.

  • He was an All-Star in 2011 and 2012.

  • A boy in a wheelchair who was watching the Dodgers-Giants game in San Francisco on May 5, 2013 will never forget the generosity of Matt Kemp. After the game, Kemp jogged over to where Joshua Jones was sitting and signed a baseball. Then he gave him his hat, his jersey, and even his shoes.

    Here is the background of the story:

    1. Joshua and his father, Steve Jones, were in the front-row seats at AT&T Park in San Francisco.
    2. The father struck up a conversation with Dodgers third base coach Tim Wallach. He said his son was very sick, that he was a Dodgers fan, and that his favorite player was Kemp. The boy, who has cancer, is unable to speak.
    3. Wallach brought them a baseball and later told Kemp about Joshua.
    4. When Kemp made the last out of the game, he and Wallach walked toward the boy. Joshua's friend, Tommy Schultz, turned the camera on to record the amazing moments.
  • May 22, 2013: Native Oklahoman Kemp, who quickly pledged a donation after the devastating tornado near his Oklahoma City hometown, upped the commitment on Wednesday.

    "Dear Families of OKC, on Monday, out of concern and emotion I committed $1,000 for every home run I hit until the All-Star Break. It was a quick and small gesture in advance of what I knew would be my greater contribution through your rebuilding process. I am keeping my pledge and in addition, donating $250,000. May God bless you through this and the many generous donations coming to your aid." – Kemp via Twitter. #PrayforOklahoma"

  • July 23, 2013: The day after Brewers OF Ryan Braun was suspended for the rest of the season, guilty of taking steroids/Hgh, etc., Kemp would not say that the 2011 National League MVP Award should be given to him, but did say it should be taken from Braun.

    "Do I feel like it should be stripped? I mean, yeah, I do," Kemp said. "I feel like it should be, but that's not for me to decide, you know? That's not for me to decide."

    Kemp said he was "disappointed" with Braun, who had insisted of his innocence until July 22, 2013, when he accepted suspension without pay for the rest of this season and apologized for his "mistakes."

    "You don't like getting lied to," Kemp said. "A lot of people feel the same way. I'm sure I'm but another on that list."

    Kemp had defended Braun when the initial news broke of a positive test for performance-enhancing drugs, which was overturned by an arbitrator. So now that Braun has accepted a suspension for the remainder of the season, does Kemp feel he should get Braun's MVP?

    "I was in the race for MVP and got second," he said. "The voters had their opinion of who they wanted to pick as MVP. You have to respect who they picked. It is what it is. For me, all I can worry about is getting healthy. It definitely would be nice to have an MVP trophy, but I didn't win the MVP. I was second."

    Matt said Major League Baseball is "doing a good job cleaning up the game." He said the accomplishments of clean players are being tarnished by those who break the rules.

    "As a player who never took PEDs or steroids, it's upsetting that [those who do take banned substances] take away from those guys who bust their butts in the gym and play the game clean," he said. "We're all grown men who make our own decisions what we put in our bodies, we know what's right and what's wrong. MLB can't make people stay clean."

  • Kemp said suspicions that Baltimore slugger Chris Davis is succeeding for reasons other than his talent are "upsetting."

    "Don't take away from somebody doing a great job," he said. "Davis always had the ability to hit home runs. Now he's just figured it out. But people are tearing him down, saying he's doing something, and that's unfair to him and the Baltimore organization."

  • Kemp struggled through a tough camp in 2014 spring, recovering from ankle and shoulder surgery. When the Dodgers left to open the season against the D-backs in Australia, Kemp stayed back to continue his rehab. It was enough to try a person's soul.

    "I just got through it, man," Kemp said. "I just kept praying and God got me through it. It was just a time in my life when nothing was really going the way I wanted it to go. We all have road blocks that we have to overcome, and that was one of those little road blocks."

    In Spring Training 2015, everything is different. In recent years with the Dodgers, Kemp was moody, recalcitrant and unavailable to comment much of the time. When he answered questions, he had a tendency to be curt.

    It turns out there was a good reason. Kemp was always hurt. Now, as the Padres are preparing for what very well may be a breakout season, the much more mature 30-year-old is relatively healthy.

    "I think that's what it is, I have my health," Kemp mused. "It was just something I had to fight through. It was frustrating at times. Now I feel like I'm back to where I need to be. I feel great. I'm happy about feeling healthy and what's to come."(Bloom – mlb.com – 3/19/15)

  • Matt was playing some baseball against the Rangers. And in attendance to watch her son hit a home run, make a diving catch or just be a really cool, smooth guy, was Kemp's mom, Judy Henderson. But instead of any of these things, in the sixth inning, Mrs. Henderson watched her son have a mid-at-bat belt malfunction: his belt came undone!  Fortunately, Mom also saw Kemp's double in the third inning. The Padres won the game.  (Monagan - mlb.com - 9/1/15)

  • September 25, 2015: The students in Janet Nees' third-grade class at Hilltop Elementary had just finished writing about their favorite famous person. As a die-hard Padres fan, Daniel Elizarde of Chula Vista, Calif., wrote about his favorite player, Matt Kemp.

    Minutes later, the door to the classroom opened, and in walked Kemp. Elizarde -- typically one of the chattiest kids in class, according to his mother -- was left speechless. Kemp surprised Nees' class with a visit after Elizarde was chosen as the winner of a back to school style contest; Elizarde's mother had submitted a photo of him in front of Kemp's picture at the team store at Petco Park.

    "I wish when I was growing up, Frank Thomas would've walked into my classroom and surprised me," Kemp said with a smile. "I wasn't as fortunate as my little friend, Daniel, but it's good to see him enjoying himself, and I think he got some cool points from his friends."

    After Kemp's arrival, he and Elizarde sat at the front of the classroom, while the students asked Kemp questions. Those questions ranged from, "How many home runs have you hit?" (23) to "What's your favorite moment?" (getting his big league callup).

    "It really inspires kids," Kemp said. "It motivates them, and it makes their day. Especially, they might be going through a tough time. ... It might change their life around or just change their day and make them happy."

    "It's incredible," Nees said. "It created a lot of writing opportunities for us. We need more of this -- people coming in from the community and interacting with the kids. It's a special day."

    But Kemp wasn't the only one bringing the surprises. Halfway through the event, Daniel was called aside and given a birthday cake to present to Kemp, who turned 31 earlier in the week. The class broke out into a rendition of "Happy Birthday." Afterward, Elizarde's mother, Renee Cuevas, said she figures her son "will be talking about this forever." (AJ Cassavell - MLB.com - September 26, 2015) 

  • March 18, 2016: Matt Kemp has put forth a pretty solid big league career with the number 27 on his back. He has 205 homers to his name, a second-place MVP Award finish, a pair of Gold Gloves and Silver Sluggers and an .833 lifetime OPS.

    But it'll be hard to top his Cactus League batting average when he's wearing 94 instead: a clean 1.000.

    The Padres' right fielder left his jersey at San Diego's Spring Training facility in Peoria before the game against the Giants. The club retrieved it from his locker and rushed it to Scottsdale Stadium, but not in time for Kemp's first at-bat of the night - a single to right field.

    Kemp re-emerged in his next at-bat with his "old" jersey No. 27.  (AJ Cassavell - MLB.com - March 19, 2016)

  • Matt made a guest appearance on the TV show "Sesame Street" in 2013. (Intentional Talk interview - 2016)

  • Sept 16, 2016: The Turner Field crowd roared and Nationals second baseman Daniel Murphy applauded, but it wasn't until Matt Kemp looked up at the center-field scoreboard that he realized why.

    After leading off the bottom of the second inning with a double off Max Scherzer, the Braves outfielder turned around and saw the message on the screen congratulating him on the 1,500th hit of his Major League career.

    "I honestly did not know I was that close to 1,500 hits," said Kemp after the 7-2 loss to the Nationals. "I don't think people really look at that. I just looked at the JumboTron and was like, 'Wow, OK. Cool.' "For me, I just thought I needed 1,500 more."

    The double marked Kemp's fourth hit in 37 career at-bats vs. Scherzer. And with it, the 31-year-old became just the 32nd active player to join the 1,500-hit club.

    "He's been great," Braves manager Brian Snitker said. "He's been having a heck of a year. Any time you're going to have 30 [homers] and 100 [RBIs], it's been a pretty good year. I've said a million times what he's added to our lineup, but he's just having a really good year." (P James - MLB.com - Sept 17, 2016)

    TRANSACTIONS

  • June 2003: The Dodgers chose him in the 6th round, out of Midwest City High School in Oklahoma.
  • January 15, 2010: Kemp and the Dodgers agreed on a two-year, $10.95 million contract, avoiding two winters of arbitration eligibility. Matt can also gain up to $600,000 in additional incentives based on plate appearances.
  • November 15, 2011: Matt signed an eight-year, $160 million extension with the Dodgers.
  • December 11, 2014: The Dodgers sent Matt Kemp, C Tim Federowicz, and $31 million (to cover part of Kemp's remaining $107 million salary) to the Padres. San Diego gave up catcher Yasmani Grandal and pitchers Joe Wieland and Zach Elfin.
  • July 30, 2016: The Padres traded Kemp  and cash to the Braves for LF Hector Olivera
Batting
  • Kemp hits for a good batting average and has incredible power. He doesn't try to pull everything, having good power to the opposite field.

    Matt can cover the whole plate with his swing.

  • Matt is learning not only which pitches he can hit, but which ones (like sliders down and away) to leave alone.

    "The holes in his swing are shrinking," said Dodgers manager Don Mattingly. (June 2011)

  • Kemp has quick hands that generate good bat speed. 
  • When Kemp hits one, there is a lot of air under the ball. It takes a while for the landing. Matt is one of those guys who doesn't have to hit it on the screws.
  • When Matt got to the Major Leagues in 2006, after they figured him out, pitchers got him out with breaking balls. But he has since figured the pitchers out; and by 2009, was showing superstar potential.
  • Don Mattingly works with Kemp on his hitting. The main point of emphasis in 2009 was to get Kemp's upper and lower body to work together.

    "It's like a chain," Mattingly says. "If one part pulls quick, then the other half has to go with it, and you get a lot of those rollovers that he had (in 2008).

    "It's not so much pitch recognition but being in the right position to stop," Mattingly says. "If you're on the move and your head's flying, things are moving, it's hard to say 'ball' or 'strike.'" (Dylan Hernandez-LA Times-4/21/09)

  • Matt has learned to use his legs and has gradually learned to stay back on and lay off breaking balls and offspeed pitches.

    "There is a lot of Gary Sheffield in Matt, in that he's never afraid," Don Mattingly said in 2009. "He's tough, he never gets intimidated."

  • August 14, 2015: As he chugged hard between second and third base in the ninth inning, Kemp was well aware he had never hit for the cycle in a big league career that has spanned 10 seasons.Kemp just wasn't aware that the Padres -- a franchise born in April 1969 -- hadn't had one of their own, either.

    "When I slid into third base, [third-base coach Glenn Hoffman] says, 'That's the first one,'" Kemp said. "I said, 'Yeah, that is my first one.' He said, 'No … that's the first one for the Padres.'"

    Kemp, smiling ear-to-ear as Hoffman patted him on the back, pondered that. How could a club that played its 7,444th game on Friday never have had anyone hit for the cycle?

    "It's hard to believe," Kemp said. "All those great hitters that have been here, like Tony Gwynn and all those guys, haven't been able to get a hit for a cycle. I'm just glad to be able to do it." (C Brock - MLB.com - August 15, 2015)

  • September 17, 2016: Kemp became the 32nd active player in the MLB to join the 1,500 hit club.

  • As of the start of the 2017 season, Kemp had career numbers of: .286 average with 1,513 hits and 240 home runs and 856 RBI in 5,288 at-bats.

Fielding

  • Kemp is a solid outfielder. His excellent athleticism allows him to play well in the outfield. He has a strong arm—plenty for right field.
  • Matt has improved his routes to the ball. He has learned to take a direct path to the ball on most of those hit to him. He has good instincts that benefit his overall success on defense out there.

    But he has some trouble taking the right route to balls hit over his head. He still too often takes a circuitous route to a fly ball.

  • He has enough range to play center field.

  • In 2009, Kemp won his first Gold Glove Award. He had 14 outfield assists, which ranked second in the league, and only two errors in 393 chances (.995). Kemp, at age 25, logged 1,355 innings in center field, more than any other Dodgers center fielder in a Gold Glove season.

    In 2011, Matt won his second Gold Glove Award.

  • July 18, 2014: Kemp has a strong desire to be a center fielder, and he is certain that will one day again be the case. Matt substantiated comments his agent Dave Stewart made to FOX Sports, which claimed that Kemp's desire is to return to center field and play every day. He added that Kemp was "favorable" to whatever the Dodgers might want to do.

    "I'm going to play center field again," Kemp said as the Dodgers began the season's second half Friday. "I'm going to play center field every day."

    Kemp opened the season as the Dodgers' center fielder, but after he misplayed multiple balls in May, manager Don Mattingly said Kemp didn't have the same "burst" and moved the two-time Gold Glover to left field.

    Whether Kemp will again be a center fielder in Los Angeles remains uncertain. Mattingly, when told of Kemp's desire, was unmoved.

    "That's fine," Mattingly said. "He can view himself however he wants. I'm playing him in left." (Alex Halsted MLB.com, 7/18/2014)

Running

  • Matt runs real fast for a big man.
  • He has been nicknamed "The Bison" for the way he runs the bases.

  • Kemp gets tremendous acceleration. He can score from first on a hit to one of the gaps.

  • Matt has a mentor for a baserunning coach in Davey Lopes, who has worked out some mechanical kinks in his jumps. (June 2011)
Career Injury Report
  • October 2003: Tendinitis in his knee cut short his time in the Instructional League after the regular season.
  • 2005: Kemp missed four weeks with a wrist injury.
  • April 10–27, 2007: Matt was on the D.L. with an injured right shoulder—a grade one separation. (Grade one is the mildest kind, with the ligaments being strained, but not torn.)

    He suffered the injury on April 9 when he banged into the Plexiglas that protects the auxiliary scoreboard in right field at Dodger Stadium, while trying to catch the Rockies' Jeff Baker's RBI triple. Kemp hit the Plexiglas hard on his right shoulder with his right arm slightly raised as the ball hit his glove and bounced away for a triple.

  • May 14-29, 2012: Kemp was on the D.L. with a mild strain of his left hamstring.

    But he was back on the D.L. on May 31, having reinjured that left hamstring in the only game he got to play in. He was back in action on July 13, 2012.

  • October 5, 2012: Kemp underwent surgery on his left shoulder. Dr. Neal ElAttrache isn't sure of the extent of damage caused when he slammed into the wall at Coors Field on Aug. 27. An MRI at the time revealed a frayed labrum at the least.

    Kemp said if only a cleanup is required, he would be sidelined four to six weeks. If extensive repair to the labrum is necessary, he could be down up to three months. In either case, he expected to be ready for the start of Spring Training.

    Just over two weeks after the surgery, Matt said he was "surprised and definitely disappointed" to learn the extent of the damage to his left shoulder.

    "I wish it just would have been a cleanup and taken six weeks," said Kemp, who began his rehabilitation October 24 in Arizona. "They actually had to go repair some things. Now, I think it's going to be closer to January before I'm getting to hit and do a lot of other things."

    TOUGH 2013

  • May 29-June 25, 2013: Kemp was on the D.L. with a mild right hamstring strain.

  • July 6-21, 2013: Matt was on the D.L. with inflammation in his left AC joint. He received an injection of platelet-rich plasma in his sore AC joint.

  • July 21, 2013: Kemp was back on the D.L. with a sprained left ankle.

  • September 2-16, 2013: Matt was shut down with a tight right hamstring.

  • September 28, 2013: Kemp was sidelined again, this time for the last two games of the season, plus the postseason for the Dodgers. An MRI on his recurring injured ankle, indicated swelling in the major weight-bearing bone of his left ankle. If Kemp continued to play, there was a possibility the ankle could break.

    Kemp was on crutches, and team physician Dr. Neal ElAttrache said the outfielder would need to avoid putting weight on his ankle for at least a month.

    "Pretty bad sign when they pull out the crutches," Kemp said. "To sum it up, if I keep going out there ... I could break it, and I don't want that. It could turn out really bad for me."

  • October 15, 2013: Kemp underwent left shoulder surgery. It was a cleanup of his left A-C joint, the same shoulder he had major surgery on last offseason.

    He was already wearing a boot and using crutches because of swelling in a bone in his left ankle, leaving him a spectator during the Dodgers' victory over theAtlanta Bravesin the NL Division Series. Kemp celebrated with the team after they won the series.

    Team physician Dr. Neal ElAttrache performed the procedure.

  • October 21, 2013: Matt underwent surgery on his left ankle just a week after his left shoulder surgery. Kemp injured his ankle with an awkward slide into home plate July 21. He returned in mid-September, but Dodgers orthopedist Neal ElAttrache declared Kemp out for the postseason on the final day of the regular season.

    ElAttrache said there was significant swelling to the bone and that Kemp could jeopardize his career if he continued to play on it.

    Kemp flew to North Carolina for the surgery, which was performed by Dr. Robert Anderson. It involved removing several spurs and a loose body, and doing a microfracture on the talus bone, the team said. Kemp was in a splint for two weeks and a non-weight-bearing boot for another two weeks. The Dodgers were hopeful he'd be healthy in time for the regular season.

  • March 19-April 5, 2014: Kemp began the season on the D.L. while still recovering from left ankle surgery the previous October (see above).

  • December 18, 2015: A physical revealed that Matt has arthritis in both hips.

  • April 11, 2017: Kemp was on the DL with a right hamstring strain.