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Matt Kemp will still run, but he’ll run smarter thanks to Davey Lopes

Mar 7, 2011, 11:03 AM EDT

Los Angeles Dodgers Photo Day Getty Images

One of the more surprising things last season was just how poorly Matt Kemp performed on the base paths. He was caught stealing 15 times on 34 attempts last season, and that’s just not getting the job done. With that success rate he’s better off not going at all.

But go he will this year, and unlike last year, he’ll have the help of Davey Lopes, who is now the Dodgers’ base running coach. The same Lopes who, as the Phillies first base coach, had that team stealing bases with a great deal of success. Of the regular starters in Philly last year, only Raul Ibanez had a bad stolen base success rate, and that was on a mere 7 attempts.  No one ran a ton there, but when they ran, they ran very efficiently.

That’s what Lopes stresses in an article by Bill Shaikin in the Los Angeles Times:

“Some guys think that, because of their speed and ability, they can steal at any time, in any situation, against any given pitcher,” Lopes said. “That’s when you get hurt. “In a sequence of seven or eight pitches, a pitcher may give you one pitch to steal. He may slow down his motion one time. If you’re not ready, you’re going to miss your opportunity.

While watching Kemp steal against the Angels a week ago Saturday, another guy in the press box asked aloud why on Earth the Phillies would let Davey Lopes go.  The consensus was that the Phillies, as a rule, don’t pay a lot for coaches, Lopes wanted too much money, so off he went.

I don’t know if that’s true or not, but I suspect we’ll see this year just how valuable Davey Lopes is.

  1. Jonny 5 - Mar 7, 2011 at 11:17 AM

    Sam Perlazzo is going to stink it up over there. The Phillies will miss Lopes I have a feeling.

  2. sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Mar 7, 2011 at 1:15 PM

    Can you please take this article down? As soon as I saw Lopes going to LA I thought “I will snag Kemp for my fantasy team on the cheap, and he will return to glory.” Now, if everyone realizes Lopes’ potential impact on Kemp’s running game, he won’t be cheap.

    You can post this again on March 27, the day AFTER my draft…

  3. xmatt0926x - Mar 7, 2011 at 2:08 PM

    Davey Lopes is an absolute beast!!!! worst move the phillies have made in years was letting this gem go. The steal success rate for the Phillies during his tenure was incredible. This year he asked to be paid a little more than your average first base coach and the phils let him go. Bad mistake.

  4. bigharold - Mar 7, 2011 at 2:18 PM

    Lopes to LA, …I wonder how long it will be until the Dodger faithful start calling for Lopes to replace Mattingly?

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