The “Matt Kemp is lazy and out of shape” meme got beat to death last year. Was there any truth to it? Sure, some. But it probably got overplayed because I’m not sure anyone is due as much garbage he got thrown on him in 2010. In light of all of that, I feel justified in relaying exactly one inning’s worth of Matt Kemp data as a means of trying to balance things out.
Kemp led off the top of the second here at Tempe Diablo. He cracked a single up the middle. Then he stole second base. Then he advanced to third base on a grounder to short that a lot of guys would have held up on but on which Kemp had such a great jump that he would have beat the throw even if Erick Aybar had tried to make a play. Then Kemp tagged, hauled ass and scored on a shallow fly to center by Russ Mitchell.
The way I see it, that was three instances of hustle in one at bat, his first of spring training. That’s not a lot of data, but maybe it’s time that we all pour our Matt Kemp Haterade down the drain.
Jake Arrieta‘s bat is in midseason form already. The Cubs’ ace swatted a solo home run to center field off of Zack Greinke in Thursday afternoon’s Grapefruit League exhibition game, his first homer of the spring.
The blast went 465 feet, according to MLB.com’s Daren Willman.
Arrieta has hit two home runs in each of the past two seasons. Madison Bumgarner (eight) and Noah Syndergaard (four) are the only other pitchers to match or exceed his output in that department.
Greinke, meanwhile, is hoping to bounce back after a miserable 2016 season. He finished with an uncharacteristic 4.37 ERA in 26 starts in his first year with the Diamondbacks.
Angels first baseman Luis Valbuena will miss the next four to six weeks with a strained right hamstring, Pedro Moura of the Los Angeles Times reports.
Valbuena, 31, signed a two-year, $15 million contract with the Angels in January and was on track to get the lion’s share of the playing time at first base. While he’s out, however, C.J. Cron will handle first base on a regular basis. When Valbeuna returns, the two will likely form a platoon.
Last year with the Astros, Valbuena hit a solid .260/.357/.459 with 13 home runs and 40 RBI in 342 plate appearances.