Still red hot, Matt Kemp goes 3-for-4, hits sixth homer

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The Dodgers have been a two-man offense so far, but when those two are as hot as Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier are, that’s plenty good enough.

Kemp went 3-for-4 and hit his sixth homer Sunday as part of a 5-4 win over the Padres, moving the Dodgers to 9-1 on the season.

Kemp is batting .487 this season and has driven in 16 runs in the Dodgers’ 10 games. Ethier has 15 RBI. No one else in either league has more than 12 RBI. Combined, those two have knocked in 31 of the Dodgers’ 50 runs.

Kemp should have been the NL MVP last year, yet he’s already way ahead of his 2011 pace. After 10 games last season, he was hitting .441, but he had just one homer and five RBI.

American draft prospect Carter Stewart signs in Japan

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The Atlanta Braves selected high school pitcher Carter Stewart with the number eight overall pick in the 2018 draft. Then, after the draft, they gave Stewart a below-slot signing bonus offer, claiming that they found problems with his wrist in his post-draft physical. Stewart ended up rejecting the offer and the MLBPA filed a grievance against the Braves on Stewart’s behalf.

The grievance sought to make Stewart a free agent it was considered a long shot at the time of its filing and, in fact, the grievance was rejected. Stewart, unable to attain free agency, enrolled at Eastern Florida State College, a two-year school that would’ve made him eligible for the 2019 draft.

Now, Ken Rosenthal reports, Stewart has pulled a crazy Ivan and is heading to Japan, having signed with the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks of the Japanese Pacific League. The terms of the deal aren’t known, but Rosenthal says Stewart was looking for a $7 million guarantee.

It’s a fascinating turn of events for Stewart who, this time last year, was considered perhaps the best amateur pitcher in baseball. Being lowballed and having his health questioned by the Braves may have been a wakeup call to Stewart, however, about his chances of finding a quick path the bigs in the U.S. If the shine did come off of his prospect status in the past year here, there’s every reason to believe that $7 million and a path to the bigs in Japan is a much better deal than several million less and a path to the bigs in America.

He’ll be worth watching over the next few years, that’s for sure. Both for his own sake and to see if, in this era of Major League Baseball’s capping of amateur bonuses and teams’ habit of manipulating service time, going overseas becomes more attractive to American high schoolers and college players.