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Hoping for Matt Kemp resurgence could result in disappointment

By Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com

Matt Kemp will be hard-pressed to ever again capture the magic of his 2011 season. (USATSI)
Matt Kemp will be hard-pressed to ever again capture the magic of his 2011 season. (USATSI)

Some Fantasy owners are licking the chops in anticipation of a trade involving Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp. They should probably stop licking.

Yes, he could wind up in a more hitter-friendly ballpark. Yes, he could land where he doesn't have to worry about occasional benchings due to overcrowding at his position. But those who believe Kemp can regain the form that nearly earned him National League Most Valuable Player honors in 2011 are drinking the proverbial Kool-Aid.

Hope fades with time. Hope fades with every strikeout. Hope fades with every five-week homerless stretch, which Kemp is currently experiencing.

The numbers speak for themselves. And it's been far too long since Kemp compiled statistics that made him a premier Fantasy player rather than just a solid outfielder in deeper leagues who provides frustration over a lack of power and days off in favor of an Andre Ethier, Carl Crawford or Scott Van Slyke. Those numbers are so far beneath what he accomplished in his heyday that any inkling of a comeback to that level seems to be no more than a pipe dream, even if he is traded to an ideal location.

What is perplexing is that, according to Fangraphs.com, Kemp is hitting line drives and making contact at virtually the same rate as he did during his glory years. His plate discipline has actually improved. Yet he is simply not getting anywhere near the same results. In his last two seasons combined, which covers 168 games and 599 at-bats, he has 14 home runs, 73 RBI and a slugging percentage of .413. He blasted off 39 times with 126 RBI and compiled a .586 slugging percentage in 2011.

Kemp has only managed one sensational season and has been fading ever since. That year earned him an undeserved reputation as one of the most feared sluggers in the sport. Astute Fantasy owners recognize that, but those who are holding out hope that Kemp can recapture that magic simply because he lands elsewhere - if he indeed does land elsewhere - are setting themselves up for disappointment.

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