Tony Kemp was the Oakland A’s primary second baseman last season. He may have a drastically different role in 2021.
The Oakland A’s had acquired Tony Kemp with the hope that they had found their answer at second base. He had typically served as a utility man in previous seasons, seeing time at second and around the outfield. Oakland took the gamble that Kemp could survive as an everyday player, or at least in a platoon situation, at second base.
That gamble did not quite work out. While Kemp became a valued part of the community and the team, he did not produce at the hoped for level. Kemp had a .247/.363/.301 batting line in his 114 plate appearances, hitting five doubles and stealing three bases.
Now Kemp finds himself in a new area. Based on the A’s depth chart, he is considered the team’s starting left fielder, at least for now. Kemp is also listed as the primary backup at center and right for Oakland.
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Interestingly, Kemp is not on the depth chart at second base. His 43 appearances at the position in 2020 led the A’s, and he has 98 appearances at the keystone over the course of his career. However, Kemp has not exactly fared well at second defensively, costing teams five runs, including a -3 mark last season.
Meanwhile, he has been solid in the outfield, particularly in left. Kemp has saved six runs in left, and another three runs in center. He has struggled in right, but also has made just six appearances at the position in his career. In theory, he would prove to be a solid option there as well with more experience.
Chances are, the A’s will find another option to start in left. Kemp will still see plenty of time in the lineup, but it will come at different positions as he once again returns to his accustomed utility role. Such a move will allow the A’s to place him in the lineup in advantageous times, keeping the platoon advantage as much as possible.
Tony Kemp will have a new role for the Oakland A’s in 2021. The primary second baseman last season, Kemp appears ticketed for the outfield.