Matt Kemp has been out since May 31 after aggravating his left hamstring strain in his second game back from the disabled list and manager Don Mattingly indicated yesterday that the Dodgers haven’t established a timetable for his return.
Kemp clearly won’t be back when eligible later this week, but that’s expected considering he said the aggravated injury was worse than the original version and the Dodgers initially projected a month-long absence.
For now Mattingly told Alex Angert of MLB.com that “we’re just moving forward with him, doing more activities and running.”
Tony Gwynn Jr. has been the primary center fielder in Kemp’s absence and has hit .281 in 25 games since the original injury, but that comes with zero homers and just two non-intentional walks for a measly .654 OPS that’s 200 points below Kemp’s career mark. Amazingly, despite all the missed time Kemp still ranks among the NL’s top 10 in homers.
I would hope by now that I no longer have to preface All-Star talk with my usual “none of this matters” disclaimers, but please keep all of that in mind when I mention that Nick Markakis is leading all National League outfielders in All-Star voting.
Markakis, with 1,173,653 votes, has surpassed the slumping Bryce Harper in that category. Harper has 1,002,696 votes. The third place outfielder is Matt Kemp of the Dodgers with 925,697. Fourth place — Charlie Blackmon of the Dodgers — is like 300,000 votes back of Kemp.Yes, Markakis, Harper and Kemp may be the starting NL outfield. Brandon Nimmo — not on the ballot — should be grumpy, but he’ll get his chance I’m sure.
The thing about it: Markakis, for as unexpected as his appearance may be on this list, deserves to at least be in the top three. He’s second in WAR among National League outfielders behind Lorenzo Cain. He’s slowed down a good bit in June and he’s coming off of a 2017 season in which he had a 96 OPS+ and 0.7 WAR, but he’s having quite an outstanding season. I write that mostly so that there is a record of it come October and we’ve all forgotten it.
Seriously, though, good for Markakis, who has never made an All-Star Game. Good for Kemp too for that matter, who most people assumed was a walking — well, limping — corpse heading into this season. Good for Harper because anything that can keep up the guise of him having a good year when, in reality, he’s really not, will help his confidence as he heads into free agency.
Finally, good for the American League, who will likely get to face a far, far inferior National League team next month in Washington.
The rest of the voting: