One of several young and talented players on the Dodgers' roster, Matt Kemp is hitting .317 with six home runs and 23 RBIs over 54 games and 145 at-bats. Kemp went 6-for-14 with Los Angeles in April. He then batted .329 with four home runs, 20 RBIs and a 14-game hitting streak at Triple-A Las Vegas before being recalled by the Dodgers again on June 8. Last season, Kemp became the first Dodgers player to hit four homers in his first 10 games with the team since Jimmy Wynn in 1974. Kemp recently answered some questions from MLBPLAYERS.com.
MLBPLAYERS.com: This is your second season with the Dodgers and your second time in a big-league playoff chase. How exciting is this for you?
Kemp: Of course it's exciting. I'm on a great team and we have a good chance of doing real well this season. Hopefully we can get there, get to the World Series and win it all.
MLBPLAYERS.com: Your team is scuffling a bit as we speak. What will it take to turn things around?
Kemp: We have a good team. We have good hitters and good pitchers. We know what we need to do to be successful. Every team goes through their little slumps. That's what we're experiencing right now. But on the positive side, there is a lot of baseball left. We think we'll come out on top.
MLBPLAYERS.com: How has your season been so far?
Kemp: To me, the season is still early. I started off pretty good and then I slowed up a bit. I am having a lot of fun though and I enjoy doing what I do. Everything has worked out so far.
MLBPLAYERS.com: You made your debut last season with the Dodgers. How do you compare the two experiences?
Kemp: This year is different. I feel a lot more comfortable at the plate. I'm a better player than last year and I think it shows.
MLBPLAYERS.com: Your power and run producing numbers are pretty similar to last year, but your batting average is 75 points higher. When you look at what you have done offensively, does that surprise you in any way?
Kemp: Not really. I've been working hard. The more you get out there, the more things seem to come together. Some things come to you a bit easier with experience. Hopefully I can just keep it going.
MLBPLAYERS.com: You're one of several talented outfielders on this Dodgers roster. What is your role right now?
Kemp: I'm going out there, but not on an everyday basis. I'm getting a lot of at-bats, and when they call on me to go out there, I'm ready to do what I have to do to help the team win.
MLBPLAYERS.com: We've primarily focused on what you are doing at the plate so far. How do you feel about your defensive game right now?
Kemp: Defensively, I feel great. I think I've improved quite a bit from last year. I worked hard in Spring Training on my defense and I think it shows. I take a lot of pride in going out there and contributing on the defensive side of things.
MLBPLAYERS.com: How big of a role does your running game play in your overall game?
Kemp: It is a part of my game. I think it is at least. You have to get on base to steal bases and I have not really tried to steal a lot of bases this year. But with 50 games and a whole lot of baseball left, we'll see how that goes.
MLBPLAYERS.com: How many people are following your season right now back home in Oklahoma?
Kemp: I have a lot of family following me. They call me and check up on me. They're real excited about me playing up here with the Dodgers.
MLBPLAYERS.com: You are not the only native of Oklahoma on your team. How far does Brad Penny live from you?
Kemp: He's about an hour way. He lives in Broken Arrow and I live in Midwest City. Both cities are pretty similar.
MLBPLAYERS.com: Growing up a good basketball player, what did you think of the New Orleans Hornets recently playing so many of their games in Oklahoma City?
Kemp: It was actually really exciting. The team did well and I think that Oklahoma is in line for the next NBA team. That would be great for our community and our state as a whole.
Jeff Moeller is a freelance writer based in Los Angeles.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.