Tony Kemp looking to find way into Oakland A’s lineup

PHOENIX, ARIZONA - MARCH 02: Tony Kemp #5 of the Oakland Athletics throws against the Milwaukee Brewers in the third inning during the MLB spring training game on March 02, 2021 at American Family Fields of Phoenix in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)
PHOENIX, ARIZONA - MARCH 02: Tony Kemp #5 of the Oakland Athletics throws against the Milwaukee Brewers in the third inning during the MLB spring training game on March 02, 2021 at American Family Fields of Phoenix in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images) /
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Tony Kemp has a bit of an uphill climb ahead of him. While he is nominally penciled in as the Oakland A’s starting second baseman, that designation is a bit misleading. He is likely to be in a platoon with Chad Pinder as he was last season, although the health of Jed Lowrie could play a major factor in who actually gets the nod at the keystone.

But that does not mean that Kemp is going to accept his fate quietly. Instead, he is trying to force the A’s into keeping him as part of that discussion at second base. His hot start to spring training, where he has already hit a home run, drawn three walks, and stolen a base, is making a statement.

Tony Kemp trying to find way into Oakland A’s lineup

Spring training statistics do not mean much, but they can lead to an opportunity. That was the case for Kemp last year, as he had ten hits, including a double and a home run, in his 32 at bats prior to the shutdown. His showing led to his claiming a part of the second base job to begin the 2020 campaign.

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The experiment with making Kemp the strong part of a platoon at second seemingly failed last year. His overall production, a .247/.363/.301 batting line with just five doubles and three steals in 114 plate appearances, left a lot to be desired. Yes, his 92 OPS+ was the second highest mark of his career, but that was fueled by his impressive on base percentage.

Kemp is going to have a role on the A’s no matter what. His ability to play all three outfield positions, as well as his time at second, would give the team a versatile weapon off the bench. However, it is understandable that Kemp would want more, especially when second base would seemingly have an opening.

In the end, it may come down to how quickly Lowrie can return to game action. While he is playing in simulated games, he is still without a timetable as to when he will be able to suit up for Cactus League contests. This gives players such as Kemp a chance to show that they deserve a larger role in the lineup.

Next. Three under the radar prospects to watch. dark

Tony Kemp is doing his part to force his way into the conversation as the Oakland A’s starting second baseman. He just needs to do this come April.

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