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What to make of Matt Kemp
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Matt Kemp, the Los Angeles Dodgers erstwhile superstar turned injury-laden albatross, is alive.

After hitting 14 home runs across 599 at-bats from the start of 2013 to July 27 this season, Kemp has blasted five homers in his last 29 at-bats.

Kemp still has a ways to go before he makes up for all the disappointment he's brought fantasy baseball owners the past two seasons, but he's on the right track.

In his first 88 games this season, Kemp had just a 27.9 percent fly-ball rate, but he's begun hitting the ball in the air more frequently as of late and the home runs have started pouring out of his bat.

In his last 15 games, Kemp has hit a fly ball 37.2 percent of the time, which is closer to his career rate of 36.2 percent.

In that span, he's hit .375 with 14 RBI and raised his average from .265 to .282 and his OPS from .752 to .814.

Kemp actually has hit the ball well all season, just not out of the park as often as we'd like. He has a career-high 26.8 percent line-drive rate and hasn't popped up to the infield one time all year.

Kemp's 25.2 percent strikeout rate is undesirable, but he struck out that much even when he was in his prime. It shouldn't deter him from hitting for a solid average.

The outfielder has even started stealing bases again, swiping two in the past three games after stealing none in the previous 66.

While it seems like Kemp has aged at twice the rate of a normal man the past two years, he's still just 29 years old. It's perfectly reasonable to think he still has some of the talent that made him fantasy's best player in 2011 and for a five-week stretch in 2012.

We can't expect Kemp to suddenly become a 40-40 threat again, but a fraction of that guy is good enough for fantasy owners who have been saddled with him this season.




Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Thomas J. Harrigan at tharrigan@sportsnetwork.com.