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Is 50-50 in reach for Kemp?

Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Matt Kemp might as well be the Human Torch right now.

For those who aren't familiar with him, the Human Torch is a member of the Fantastic Four, a comic book group of superheroes. The Human Torch is constantly engulfed in flames and can control fire with his mind.

Kemp is that hot. The heat emanating from his body is strong enough to warm the entire city of Los Angeles for several days.

On Saturday, Kemp put on one heck of a power display against the Padres. He slugged two homers in his first two at-bats, and ripped the ball so hard in his fourth at-bat that Jason Bartlett couldn't even get in front of it for fear that it might impale him.

Then on Sunday, Kemp had three mores hits, including his sixth homer of the year, raising his slugging percentage to 1.026. 1.026!

If Kemp hits a few more bombs next week, there's a chance MLB statisticians will have to develop a new formula for slugging because the current one will be unable to contain him.

In November, the 27-year-old made some headlines when, after learning he was the MVP runner-up, he predicted that he would record the first 50-50 season in MLB history in 2012.

With the fantasy season two weeks old, that prediction no longer seems so ridiculous.

However, is it really possible for Kemp to reach the plateau in both categories this season?

Kemp just missed out on 40-40 last season, turning in a season for the ages nonetheless (.324, 39 HRs, 126 RBIs, 40 steals). Despite becoming a roto superman in 2011, Kemp still would have needed 11 additional HRs and 10 more steals to reach 50-50.

That's an average of 1.8 more HRs and 1.6 more steals per month.

We can gush all we want about Kemp, as the outfielder turns hyperbole into reality as easily as he turns fastballs into souvenirs, but the 50-50 season still isn't likely.

Despite his astronomical totals in most offensive categories this season, Kemp only has one steal in two attempts.

The problem? He's hitting the ball out of the ballpark too much. You actually have to stay on first or second base in order to rack up steals, and right now, Kemp is blowing right by them on his frequent home run trots.

Kemp is going to have to start running every time he reaches first base if he wants to get to 50 steals this season, and he's going to have to make sure he makes it to second at an even higher rate than he did last year.

In 2011, Kemp's 40 steals came in 51 attempts, an excellent steal percentage of 78 percent.

To realistically reach 50 steals, Kemp needs to get that percentage closer to 85 or even 90 percent.

So no, Kemp isn't likely to become the charter member of the 50-50 club this season. But you know what? It doesn't matter.

Because Kemp can be the first member of another club. The 50-30 club. No player has ever posted a 50 homer and 30 steal season in baseball history.

The way Kemp is slugging so far this season, 50 homers seem in reach. And even if he doesn't get to 50 or even 40 steals, we'll gladly take 35 and a .320 batting average from Kemp and call it a day.

Flame on, Matt Kemp. Flame on.


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