Just about every single fan across Dodgertown is elated the 2010 campaign is now in the past, yet Matt Kemp, although his season was not a total bust, holds both higher hopes and expectations for the journey ahead.
Although he led the Dodgers in RBI, extra-base hits, runs scored and home runs (setting a career high in the process), it was a tough year in many other ways—his batting average dropped dramatically over last season, he was caught stealing 15 times on the basepaths, he set a club record for strikeouts and at times his defense was much less than stellar.
Considering his 2010 salary was $4 million, most teams around Major League Baseball would sacrifice that expenditure in a heartbeat for a player who will produce 28 home runs, 89 RBI, 25 doubles, six triples, 19 stolen bases and 82 runs scored—despite a .249 average.
Yet the media, his own general manager, his coaching staff and the fans came down especially hard on Kemp for one reason only: They all know he has the talent to be a better player.
After the season was over, Matt Kemp himself admitted he could have been better. But what the typical misinformed fan doesn't realize is that last year was a crazy roller-coaster ride for all of the Boys in Blue, especially for Kemp.
The following slides illustrate several of the obstacles Kemp had to deal with in 2010, show several of the changes made moving forward and explain why Matt Kemp will rebound in 2011.