When the Los Angeles Dodgers acquired Matt Kemp from the Atlanta Braves during the past offseason, it was widely assumed that he stood no chance of remaining with the organization by the start of Spring Training. Let alone of making the Opening Day roster.
But the 33-year-old has since proved his doubters wrong while emerging as an integral part of the Dodgers lineup. He enters play on Tuesday with a .338 batting average, which ranks third in the National League, just .002 behind the league leader.
Moreover, Kemp has put together a really strong campaign across the board, hitting 10 home runs and driving in 40 runs to go along with his .338/.368/.554 batting line.
With the 2018 All-Star Game rapidly approaching, Kemp may soon find himself playing in his third career Midsummer Classic. Though, he is more focused on helping the Dodgers return to the World Series, via Ken Gurnick of MLB.com:
“Those things are always fun, but it’s more for the family and friends and all that,” he said. “Honestly, all I care about is us getting to the playoffs and winning a championship. My expectations, my plan every year, is to drive in runs and make things happen for the team. All the other things are icing on the cake.”
For Kemp, he hasn’t reached the playoffs since 2014 — the final year of his first stint with the Dodgers before being traded to the San Diego Padres later that offseason.
It’s clear that the 13-year veteran is solely prioritizing a deep postseason run over additional accolades such as an All-Star appearance or statistical recognition.
Earlier in the season, Kemp revealed that he “doesn’t care” about being the NL batting leader and just wants to continue doing his part in helping the Dodgers reach their ultimate goal of winning a World Series championship.
The first NL All-Star voting update came out this week, and Kemp ranked third among all outfielders, which means he is in line to start the game if he continues to garner enough votes.
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