Atlanta Braves: Is Something Wrong With Matt Kemp?

SAN DIEGO, CA - JUNE 28: Matt Kemp
SAN DIEGO, CA - JUNE 28: Matt Kemp /

The Atlanta Braves (37-41) have improved as a team during the month of June. Matt Kemp hasn’t been in on that party.

Let’s just get this out of the way…Matt Kemp has been a freaking stud in Atlanta. I don’t care what the Dodgers fans say. I don’t care what Padres fans say. Maybe they’re right. I just don’t care. Kemp has been great for the Atlanta Braves. Quietly, though, not in the month of June.

The numbers hide that fact because he was so good early on. Like MVP level good. Like batting title level good. Still, it’s peculiar when a team gets better as a whole, even Dansby Swanson, but then one dude falls off. That’s what’s happened to Kemp, and the numbers are kind of startling.

According to, in the months of March/April, Matt Kemp, in 13 games and 58 plate appearances, hit .321. In May, Kemp played in 28 games, with 123 plate appearances and hit a gaudy .357. Yet, in June, through 22 games played and 92 PA, he’s hit a pedestrian .239.

Why is this? Is this a slump? If you’ve ever played ball competitively, or watched any Kevin Costner baseball movie, you know that it is a superstitious game. You don’t bring up slumps with a teammate or in the media. You just let it ride. My guess is this is why Chip Caray and Joe Simpson haven’t opined on air.

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But a month isn’t a slump. It’s more like a swoon, and swoons usually happen because of one thing: Injury. Kemp has missed time with a hamstring already. I wonder if it isn’t still bothering him.

The point of this isn’t to muddy waters or start the negative chatter combine. I hope it isn’t injury. Maybe he had to carry the team so much early that he’s dialed it back a little. Who knows?

But we do know that a precipitous drop-off happened in June, and that no one around the Atlanta Braves organization, or Braves media, is talking about it.

But it matters. Matt Kemp is more than integral to this team’s success. Kemp is a cornerstone. The Atlanta Braves need him to get right. Because when he’s on, he’s one of the best hitters in the game. With Freddie Freeman coming back, the lineup backbone of Freeman, Kemp, Adams, Markakis, and Flowers isn’t a hodgepodge “hope to” lineup anymore. It’s a contender.