MLBbro.com is widely considered as the major leagues of Black and Brown baseball news coverage and analysis. Everything is covered from the best of times for our MLBbros to the worst. Sadly, on this occasion, there are two MLBbros that are currently going through the worst of times with horrible batting slumps.
Tony Kemp of the Oakland A’s and Trayce Thompson of the Los Angeles Dodgers both have an extended number of plate appearances without hits and one of them even has a unique twist to his struggle.
The peculiar thing about this MLBbro’s slump is that it shouldn’t come to a surprise to Tony or the Oakland A’s because… it was the same way last year! After starting the season in a massive slump, Kemp made some adjustments and finished out the season strong.
Just take a look at the comparisons.
First half stats:
Kemp started with a.203/.282./.264 hitting slash with only two homers and 14 RBI in 85 first-half games.
Second half stats:
Kemp improved his hitting slash to .278/.342/.426 with five homers and 32 RBI in his final 62 games played to finish out the season.
These slashes are comparable to his career-high numbers of .279/.382/.418 over 131 games in 2021.
How Did Tony Kemp Work Out Of Past Slumps?
Our MLBbro’s rise in production was connected to self-reflection and an overhaul of his routine during last year’s All-Star break as he started using video study of his swing.
“Everything in the cage, I completely threw out the window,” Kemp said.
“When I was striding, I could get off my back side and my hands would fire down into the hitting zone, which I wanted,” our MLBbro said. “ I started to create that backspin, do things I really wanted to do. I was able to really focus on working on the top part of the baseball. I’m not going to say I had a hard time with four seamers, but I had a better opportunity to succeed with how I was working.”
Fast forward to this year, Tony Kemp’s inability to get on base at times from the leadoff spot is at a historical low, particularly in day games.
Among qualified hitters, Tony Kemp’s 0-for-41 streak in day games is the longest such hitless streak to begin a season since 1906. Darwin Barney (2013) and Ray Mack (1943) began 0-for-25.
😂😂 – HISTORY BOOKS❕ https://t.co/2LZf54kuo6
— Tony Kemp (@tonykemp) May 21, 2023
Tony Kemp set a record for futility to start a season by going hitless in 41 at bats during day games. At least, he’s taking it all in stride and hasn’t lost his confidence. Because with his benching over the past weekend and the likelihood that he’ll lose his starting position, he’s going to need it.
The A’s have a trio of young players threatening to supplant Kemp; Andrew Hearney, Aledmys Diaz just came off the DL and rookie Jordan Diaz continues to improve. Kemp could be the odd man out.
For now, we hope this is just a terrible stretch and in the season’s second half or sooner, Kemp can recreate the magic from his video study and make some more adjustments.
Our MLBbro has become the poster boy illustrating the saying… ”Relax and enjoy the moment.”
In Trayce’s first game of the season, he got the Dodgers fan base rocking when he crushed a grand slam in the first inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks. Was he finished? Not by a long shot and I mean a LONG shot!
In the fifth inning, our MLBbro deposited a three-run shot into the left field seats to put the game away for an opening night win. But Thompson, whose brother Klay is known for splashing threes for the Golden State Warriors, had a three-pointer of his own…
Where Did Trayce Thompson’s Production Go Since Three-Homer Game?
After this magical opening night, Trayce Thompson’s production has virtually evaporated at the plate and hasn’t had a hit since April 17th.
Here’s Thompson’s Struggles By The Numbers
- Trayce has only hit one homer since opening night.
- Through May 22nd, Thompson has a hitless streak through 38 at bats which is tied for the longest streak by a non-pitcher in Dodgers history.
- His batting average is .109. It’s the second worst mark in baseball among hitters with at least 70 plate appearances.
- With a strikeout percentage of 43.6 percent of his trips to the plate, our MLBbro has the highest rate in the National League.
- Against lefties, Thompson has only two hits in 36 plate appearances.
- Thompson’s struggles contribute to the team’s overall struggles against left-handed pitching. The Dodgers rank 20th in OPS (.729) and last in batting average (.205).
His struggles are not from the lack of hard work. His mental toughness will keep him from falling into the pitfalls that gave the Dodgers no choice but to release him years ago.
“I’ve learned what not to do,” he told The LA Times. “In 2018, 17, I feel that I let circumstances get to me, as opposed to looking in the mirror and being like, ’What can I do to get better for myself and the team?’ ”
“You’re gonna have stretches where you’re not good,” he added. “Everyone goes through it. But you’ve got to prepare each day like it’s a new day, be optimistic. Have that perspective of, ‘I’m due,’ as opposed to woe is me.”
The good news for these MLBbros is the baseball season is long and there is time to turn things around. The bad news is time might be running out and these slumps could lead them to be designated for assignment.