Tony Kemp is not even close to replicating his 2021 success for the Oakland A’s.
He had been one of the more pleasant surprises on the A’s last season, finally having his breakout campaign at 29 years old. Originally expected to be a platoon player, Kemp forced his way into regular action, ending the season with a career best 126 OPS+ as he hit eight homers and 16 doubles in 397 plate appearances. Not only did he get on base with 52 walks, but he only struck out 51 times. Clearly, big things were expected from Kemp this season.
Tony Kemp disappointing but still valuable for Oakland A’s
That has not been the case. Kemp has been a disappointment, reverting back to his typical levels. He has produced a 78 OPS+ in his 229 plate appearances entering Wednesday, hitting one homer and seven doubles. His walk and strikeout rates are both trending in the wrong direction, as he has 20 walks and 31 strikeouts thus far on the year.
Despite those relatively pedestrian numbers, Kemp can still be a valuable trade chip. He has continued his career long trend of being respectable against right handed pitching and his ability to play multiple positions can help a team in need of a second baseman or a utility option.
Kemp could actually be a solid fit on a team such as the Braves. Orlando Arcia is currently slotted to take over at second after Ozzie Albies suffered a broken foot. As Arcia has been a slightly better hitter against lefties over his time in the majors, adding a platoon partner at second base could make sense, especially as he would not cost much on the prospect front.
And yet, Kemp could be a solid enough piece on the right team. Despite his showing last season, he is best served in a platoon role, splitting time between second and the outfield as he faces righties. The Braves could be that team.
Tony Kemp may have disappointed thus far in 2022, but he still has trade value for the Oakland A’s. The Braves could be the right fit.