Its not a secret that Matt Kemp is one of the best players in the Majors right now. This season he's proving it by leading the National League in several categories like home runs (12), batting average (.404), on-base percentage (.488), slugging average (.817) and OPS (1.305). So here we're going to break down his 2012 numbers.
Kemp, besides leading the league in all those categories is also leading the National League in WARP (Wins Above Replacement Player) which means that he has earned 2.5 more wins for the Dodgers than a replacement player would have. His closest competitor would be Rafael Furcalwith a 1.9 WARP. The center fielder is also leading the NL in ISO (Isolated Power) with .413, at second place comes Brian LaHair with .398. ISO measures the raw power of a hitter, it measures the ability of a player to hit for extra-base hits. To calculate it, you subtract the player’s Batting Average from their Slugging Percentage.
Considering other advanced statistics Kemp is also among the best hitters. In BABIP (Batting Average on Balls in Play) he ranks third with .435 behind LaHair (.500) and Kirk Nieuwenhuis (.439). This measures how “effective” a hitter could be when he puts the ball in play. In wOBA (Weighted On-Base Average) he ranks first with .526 ahead of LaHair who has a .508 wOBA. This stat measures a player's overall offensive value, it combines the entire offensive production in one statistic.
Kemp also leads the NL in wRC+ (Weighted Runs Created) with 245 ahead of LaHair (226). The wRC+ metric measures a player's offensive value in runs. The league average would be 100 and every point above 100 is a percentage point above league average. In this case, Kemp has created 145% more runs than the average player.
Regarding the batted balls we have that 23.5% of Kemp's batted balls are line drives, 43.2% ground balls and 33.3% fly balls (the league's average are 20% LD, 44% GB and 36% FB), which means he's close to league standards. If we take a look at his plate discipline we note that Kemp has swung at 23.8% of pitches outside the strike zone, a career best for him so far. He has swung at 68.0% of pitches in the strike zone for a 43% of total pitches swung at. This translates to a 15.2 BB% and 20.0 SO%.
Kemp's numbers, this season, are certainly eye popping. In my opinion the best position player in the game, without trying to undermine Josh Hamilton, who is a great player as well and is having a MVP-caliber season too.
Image by SD Dirk under the Creative Commons License Agreement.