May 14, 2012
Mr. Fantasy Freak
Hamilton vs. Kemp: You Can’t Go Wrong
Before we start this Goliath-type comparison, read the title. You cannot go wrong with either player. But this was an inevitable topic that is sure to bring lots of opinions and bias. Being a Royals fan, I am going to give you a 3rd person perspective of two of the best players in the game. So let us jump in!
First we will start off with age.Josh Hamilton, who has been suspended for drug abuse before, will be 32 in seven days. This season is only his sixth in the Major Leagues. He was drafted as the number one pick in the 1999 MLB Amateur Draft, just ahead of a young high school pitcher from Spring, Texas: Josh Beckett. He has had multiple run-ins with substance abuse that has limited his time on the field.
Matt Kemp, however, is only 27 years old. He is in his seventh year at the Major League level after being taken in the 6th round of the 2003 Amateur Draft, out of Midwest City, Oklahoma. He reached the big leagues at 21 years of age, compared to Hamilton who did not reach The Show until 26. That is a five year difference that definitely helps Kemp’s case.
Now we will take a look at their career stats. Hamilton sports a career .313 batting average, which trumps Kemp’s career .296 split. Neither of which are going to keep you up at night. Moving on to hits, where Kemp had a decent margin with 882 to Hamilton’s 749 knocks. This category definitely goes to Kemp. I am a big fan of extra base hits in general, and I love to see guys who hit the gaps. So, I compared two-baggers between them and found out that they are extremely comparable. Hamilton holds a slight edge with 147 doubles, edging out Kemp with 145. I told you these guys were pretty close.
Onto the “big boy” statistics that everyone loves: Home runs and RBI’s. The home run category is also very, very close. Kemp has 140 career long balls, while Hamilton has sent 136 balls into the bleachers during his career. RBI’s are also neck and neck, with Kemp checking in at 485, while Hamilton sits at 469. The only stat that really favors one or the other is stolen bases. Kemp embarrasses Hamilton with a 146: 38 split. But Hamilton is in a lineup more known for long balls, while Kemp’s squad has a harder time scoring runs, especially at Chavez Ravine.
Now comes the hard part. Picking one or the other is extremely difficult. They will both be fixtures in their team’s lineups for quite some time. Kemp is younger and has more steals, but Hamilton has the edge in batting average and doubles. Both play excellent defense and have elite athleticism for big guys. But I have to give the edge to Josh Hamilton. He stats are neck and neck with Kemp in one fewer years at the yard. To the average statistical nerd, Kemp looks like the clear favorite. But you have to keep in mind what Josh went through all those years. For most people to bounce back and be sober is a huge accomplishment. To come back to the game he loves and dominate, that takes guts. Josh Hamilton has a slight edge to Matt Kemp in my mind. How about yours?