As a Florida Marlins fan, I knew that this would be a painful season watching a lot of rookies take the field for the teal and black. What I didn’t realize would be that my hometown Dodgers would find themselves hip deep in rookies as well. Watching the two teams has given a good comparison between the right and wrong ways to groom a crop of new players.
Out of all the new faces, one stands out – outfielder Matt Kemp of the Dodgers. Seen as one of the leading prospects for the Dodgers in future years, Kemp was called up as an injury replacement from Jacksonville (AA) two weeks ago. In his first game, he looked like a guy who was overmatched by the jump to the bigs. That didn’t last long, though.
In Game 5, he homered. In Game 6, he homered. In Game 7, he homered. See a pattern here? No, he didn’t homer in Game 8. But he’s continued to hit, currently riding a 7-game hitting streak with a .354 batting average for his now 10-game major league career.
Last night, the Blue faced the Mets and Pedro Martinez, one of the nastier pitchers a young player could face. In his first AB, Kemp looked like the rookie he is, swinging wildly as a couple of wicked sliders and not even getting close.
In his next plate appearance, he buried a Martinez fastball halfway up the left field bleachers for a 2-run home run.
Welcome to the bigs, kid … :laugh: