Dodger Of The Month: Matt Kemp
In our inaugural edition of the Dodger Express, we feel it's only necessary to highlight their All-Star center fielder, Matt Kemp.
Matt Kemp was born on September 23, 1984 in Midwest City, Oklahoma. He stands at 6'2", weighs 230 pounds, and is a coveted five-tool player. His Major League Baseball debut was in 2006, and he's played for the Dodgers his entire four-year career. He plays centerfield and is considered one of the in the major leagues at his position. In his four years with the Dodgers, Kemp has an outstanding batting average of .299 in a total of 464 games. Without question, Kemp is one of the main reasons the team has reached the National League Championship Series the last two years.
Given his natural athleticism, it's not surprising that Matt played both baseball and basketball in high school. On the varsity basketball team, he joined eventual Duke University alumnus and current NBA player Shelden Williams.
Kemp was drafted by the Dodgers in the sixth round of the 2003 MLB Draft. He then signed with the Dodgers on June 5, 2003. He began his career with the Gulf Coast Dodgers, had a go with the Columbus Catfish in 2004, and then the Vero Beach Dodgers in 2004-2005. He was elected to the Florida State League All-Star game in 2005 and set records for homeruns (27) and slugging percentage (.569). He was subsequently named best athlete in the Dodger farm system by Baseball America.
In 2006 Kemp hit .327, had seven homeruns, 34 RBIs, and 11 stolen bases with the AA Jacksonville Suns. He then debuted for the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2006 against the Washington Nationals at RFK Stadium.
He has played for the Dodgers ever since, showing the makings of a Hall of Famer. Kemp signed a two-year contract this offseason worth $10.95 million.
By Nick Sulpizio