Kemp Killing Fastballs, Sliders
Last night, Matt Kemp went 4-for-5 and hit his National League-leading 22nd home run of the season as the Dodgers pummeled the Twins 15-0. Kemp doubled and notched a pair of singles on fastballs, and hit a 449 foot bomb on a slider. Following another big game, Kemp has a .336/.422/.636 line and ranks behind just a pair of Joses (Bautista and Reyes) in Wins Above Replacement.
L.A.'s center fielder has put himself in MVP contention by throttling fastballs and sliders. Look at his in-play slugging percentage on fastballs, compared to the league average:
Kemp's in-play slugging percentage vs. fastballs
League average in-play slugging percentage vs. fastballs
Look at all that red! Kemp's overall slugging percentage against fastballs is .780. That makes a mockery of the .439 league average, and is way above Kemp's .500 slugging percentage last season. Twelve of Kemp's homers have come against fastballs. Only Curtis Granderson has hit more home runs against heaters.
Here's Kemp's in-play slugging percentage versus sliders:
Kemp's in-play slugging percentage vs. sliders
League average in-play slugging percentage vs. sliders
Kemp is slugging .631 against sliders, compared to the .341 league average and his .446 mark in 2010. He has cracked seven homers on sliders, the highest total among MLB hitters.
Kemp's percentage of fastballs seen hasn't changed much over the course of the season, but pitchers seemingly got the scouting report on the slider and are throwing it less often. Kemp got a slider about 26 percent of the time in April, but that figure dropped to 20 percent in May and is slightly under 19 percent in June.