Oakland A’s: 3 biggest surprises from the first half

Jun 10, 2021; Oakland, California, USA; Oakland Athletics designated hitter Jed Lowrie (8) hits a home run against the Kansas City Royals during the fourth inning at RingCentral Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 10, 2021; Oakland, California, USA; Oakland Athletics designated hitter Jed Lowrie (8) hits a home run against the Kansas City Royals during the fourth inning at RingCentral Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports /
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Oakland A's utility man Tony Kemp
Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports /

Tony Kemp

Tony Kemp was expected to be part of the Oakland A’s picture at second base in 2020. Instead, the platoon between he and Chad Pinder failed, leading to the acquisition of Tommy La Stella at the deadline.

The miraculous return to relevance by Jed Lowrie made it where the A’s did not need to rely upon that platoon at second base. This allowed Kemp to return to his usual role as a utility man, with the A’s able to spot him in the lineup when he would have more success. And then, the outfield was decimated by injury, leading to more playing time for Kemp.

This time, he has been up to the challenge. Kemp has been swinging a hot bat, posting the best numbers of his career. He has a .240/.369/.385 batting line, hitting four homers and ten doubles in his 226 plate appearances. However, he also has 35 walks with just 37 strikeouts as Kemp keeps finding ways to get on base.

With the A’s missing their regular leadoff hitter, Kemp’s batting eye, solid contact ability, and surprisingly strong season have found a new home. He has been exactly what the A’s needed at this time, a versatile player whose career season has come at the perfect time.

Next. The A's don't need Nelson Cruz. dark

Tony Kemp struggled in an expanded role with the Oakland A’s in 2020. The second time proved to be the charm.

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