Oakland A’s: The white hot Tony Kemp
By David Hill
After a lackluster start to the season, Tony Kemp has caught fire for the Oakland A’s.
Second base was the biggest question mark for the Oakland A’s heading into the 2020 season. The trio of Tony Kemp, Vimael Machin, and Franklin Barreto did not exactly have a track record of success. Kemp had his moments, but had not been able to sustain that over a full season.
It was not a surprise when that trio stumbled out of the gate to start the season. Or, more specifically, when Kemp struggled, as Barreto has essentially been on the bench all year. While Kemp had four walks in 14 plate appearances, he had just one hit during that span. The A’s had received virtually no production from their second basemen through the first ten games of the year.
With the shortened season, it was a question of how long the A’s could afford to wait for one of their options to heat up. The position appeared likely to fall to either Kemp or Chad Pinder, but someone needed to step forward and stake their claim.
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Kemp has done just that over the past two weeks. Over his last 30 plate appearances, Kemp has produced a .375/.483/.417 batting line, drawing five walks and scoring three runs. He has solidified his place as the left handed hitting side of the A’s envisioned second base platoon.
It will be interesting to see if the A’s give Kemp a look against left handed pitching as well. To this point, he has just one plate appearance against a lefty, and struck out. Kemp also has a career .236/.306/.336 batting line against lefties, which is not far off from his career marks against right handed pitching.
For now, that side of the platoon appears to be held by Pinder. However, before his three hit outburst on Sunday, he had been struggling with the bat as well. If Pinder continues to struggle, and that three hit game was an outlier, it may be time to see what Kemp can do against lefties.
Tony Kemp has been on fire over the past two weeks. He has, at least for now, ended any questions about the Oakland A’s production at second base.