Everyone’s gotta have a goal. Mine was get a job where I didn’t have to wear pants one day, and dadgummit, I did it. Matt Kemp’s is somewhat less grand: he wants to be the first member of the 50/50 club:
“I know what I’m capable of doing,” he said. “I’ve shown it.”
“Man,” he said, “I believe in myself to the most. I have confidence I can achieve it. I try to set my expectations as high as I can. I think I’m capable of doing it.”
Obviously it’s never smart to bet on someone doing something that has never been done, but good for him for aiming high. Especially after securing that huge contract over the offseason. Kemp sounds like someone not content to rest on what may have been a career year in 2011 and motivation is a good thing to have.
Here’s a question, though: which of the 50s — homers or stolen bases — are more likely?
I’d have to say stolen bases. Partially because of the big parks in his division. Partially because of the lack of other threats in the Dodgers’ lineup resulting in fewer good pitches to hit. Partially because he’s come closer to stealing 50 in a season before — 40 last year — than he has to hitting 50 homers in a season before — 39 last season. He averages 26 homers per 162 games in his career while averaging 30 steals.
And one final thing: if 50 stolen bases is really his goal, it’s another reason — aside from all of the reasons Matthew listed last night — for Kemp to bat cleanup. Way easier to steal bases when you lead off the second inning as opposed to batting third in the first. And given who Don Mattingly plans on batting first and second, Kemp, batting third, would be up with two down in the first an awful lot.