IS DODGERS ROOKIE MATT KEMP THE NEXT JEFF FRANCOEUR?
Kemp, who hit seven home runs in his first 45 major league at bats, is doing
his best impression of the Braves' Francoeur (seven homers in his first 63 at
bats as a rookie last year). Entering the season, Baseball Prospectus's PECOTA
projection system cited Francoeur as Kemp's most comparable player, recognizing
the two rightfielders' similarity in power and athleticism; Francoeur was a
star defensive back in high school, Kemp was better known for his basketball
skills when the Dodgers drafted him. This year, however, Francoeur, 22, has not
displayed good plate discipline (his on-base percentage was .263 through
Sunday), an aspect of the game in which Kemp is improving. In three minor
league seasons through 2005, Kemp, 21, had a strikeout-to-walk ratio of 3.8 to
1 and an OBP of .336; this season, including his stats from Double A
Jacksonville, he has already drawn more walks than he did all of last year, his
strikeout-to-walk ratio was down to 2.2 to 1, and his OBP was up to .395.
Although his strikeout rate remains high, Kemp has already proved to be a
faster learner than Francoeur.
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