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Matt Kemp plans to be the first member of the 50/50 club

Feb 23, 2012, 9:45 AM EST

Matt Kemp Getty Images

Everyone’s gotta have a goal. Mine was get a job where I didn’t have to wear pants one day, and dadgummit, I did it. Matt Kemp‘s is somewhat less grand: he wants to be the first member of the 50/50 club:

“I know what I’m capable of doing,” he said. “I’ve shown it.”

Fifty-fifty? Really?

“Man,” he said, “I believe in myself to the most. I have confidence I can achieve it. I try to set my expectations as high as I can. I think I’m capable of doing it.”

Obviously it’s never smart to bet on someone doing something that has never been done, but good for him for aiming high. Especially after securing that huge contract over the offseason. Kemp sounds like someone not content to rest on what may have been a career year in 2011 and motivation is a good thing to have.

Here’s a question, though: which of the 50s — homers or stolen bases — are more likely?

I’d have to say stolen bases. Partially because of the big parks in his division. Partially because of the lack of other threats in the Dodgers’ lineup resulting in fewer good pitches to hit. Partially because he’s come closer to stealing 50 in a season before — 40 last year — than he has to hitting 50 homers in a season before — 39 last season. He averages 26 homers per 162 games in his career while averaging 30 steals.

And one final thing: if 50 stolen bases is really his goal, it’s another reason — aside from all of the reasons Matthew listed last night — for Kemp to bat cleanup.  Way easier to steal bases when you lead off the second inning as opposed to batting third in the first. And given who Don Mattingly plans on batting first and second, Kemp, batting third, would be up with two down in the first an awful lot.

  1. dondada10 - Feb 23, 2012 at 9:49 AM

    Great to hear the guy is challenging himself, but you’d almost rather he doesn’t start swinging for homers and just keeps playing his game.

    • JBerardi - Feb 23, 2012 at 1:28 PM

      Kemp’s game includes swinging for homers, and it always has.

  2. cktai - Feb 23, 2012 at 9:59 AM

    Any desk job doesn’t really require you to wear pants Craig. And most of them allow you to actually see sunlight!*

    *this may or may not actually be true

    • ptfu - Feb 23, 2012 at 10:31 AM

      Thumbs up for reminding me of Office Space, a truly hilarious movie. “D**n it feels good to be a gangsta”

    • Gamera the Brave - Feb 23, 2012 at 2:26 PM

      I am sitting at my desk as we speak, and I may or may not be wearing pants RIGHT NOW!!!

  3. rooney24 - Feb 23, 2012 at 10:23 AM

    Actually, batting 3rd would help his quest more. More plate appearance equals more chances for the home run and more times on base to attempt a steal. And, if he does get a hit after coming up with two outs in the first (since Matthew and Craig feel is safe to assume the 1 and 2 hitters will NEVER be on base), that is a good time to steal as well (assuming the hit was a single). Try to steal to get in scoring position for the hitter at the plate.

    • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Feb 23, 2012 at 10:49 AM

      If he gets anywhere near 50 HR he will boost his stolen base opportunities, since every manager in the NL West will wave 4 fingers at his pitcher. Unless Ethier bounces back in a major way there is no need to give Kemp anything good to hit.

      We will see how Kemp adjusts. For the Dodgers (and fantasy owners everywhere taking him in the first round) I hope he does not start swinging out of his shoes at sliders in the dirt.

    • Jeremy Fox - Feb 23, 2012 at 11:38 AM

      Would there really be such a big difference in plate appearances hitting 3rd vs. 4th?

  4. thefalcon123 - Feb 23, 2012 at 10:25 AM

    In the entire course of baseball history, only two players have ever even gone 30-50. Barry Bonds in 1990 and Eric Davis in 1987 (Davis hit 37 homers and swiped 50 bases in just 129 games. How amazing could that career have been without the constant injuries?)

    I wish him luck…but seriously, there’s no way in hell that’s going to happen.

    • aceshigh11 - Feb 23, 2012 at 1:44 PM

      Eric Davis was a beast…I used to imitate his batting stance as a little kid.

  5. WhenMattStairsIsKing - Feb 23, 2012 at 10:26 AM

    Asked off-record what he thought his odds actually were of doing this, Kemp stated “50-50.”

    • shawnuel - Feb 23, 2012 at 10:50 AM

      Well played, sir!

  6. AlohaMrHand - Feb 23, 2012 at 10:27 AM

    I’ll just be happy with a playoff berth and a new owner not named McCourt.

  7. aceshigh11 - Feb 23, 2012 at 1:48 PM

    Good for him for aiming high…that’s one hell of a tall order, though.

    Only four men have made it to 40/40, and three of them were known steroid addicts…

    Okay, I just wanted to use the term “steroid addicts”…it’s not fair to claim that Bonds and A-Rod were on the juice at the time they entered that rarefied club (’96 and ’98, respectively).

    By all accounts, Bonds didn’t start juicing until after the home run race of ’98.

  8. Gamera the Brave - Feb 23, 2012 at 2:28 PM

    Craig, thanks for the mental picture, BTW #throwsupinownmouth

  9. lostsok - Feb 23, 2012 at 10:49 PM

    Love the confidence, but I question whether Bonds on juice could have hit 50 in Chavez Ravine. Lotta good power hitters have played there, and few have even come close…

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