Matt Kemp’s Atlanta Braves future

Aug 23, 2016; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Atlanta Braves outfielder Matt Kemp singles during the seventh inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 23, 2016; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Atlanta Braves outfielder Matt Kemp singles during the seventh inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports /

Matt Kemp could be anything in 2017. Let’s speculate… in a very tongue-in-cheek kind of way.

If you believe the Atlanta Braves official website, Matt Kemp weighs 210 pounds. Baseball Reference, Yahoo and FanGraphs also believe this to be true. and CBS Sports have him at 215, so at least that means they’ve probably made some updates in the last three years or so.

I wish I had Baseball Reference’s scale for me.

Speculating about Kemp’s weight and overall physical fitness is for professionals; an informal poll of friends who watch the Braves put him anywhere between 225 and 250 pounds on his 6’4″ frame. If I’m being charitable, maybe the uniform just isn’t flattering on him; if I’m being realistic, Matt Kemp looks a lot like me, and I’m fat and nobody wants me to play left field either.

My point is, I think it’s perfectly fine to say he’s on the north side of 210 pounds. Which is probably why, in a candid interview with MLB Radio, John Coppolella very politely called Matt Kemp fat.

“A big part of why he isn’t real good in left field is because he’s out of shape,” Coppolella said. “If he gets in shape, he’ll be much better.”


The offseason will be important for Matt Kemp. He could come back to camp next February in the best shape of his life, and he could come back looking like Cleveland-era Shaquille O’Neal.

And let me tell you something:  I. Am. Here. For. This.

Matt Kemp is a total shell of his MVP-level self, and yet that’s not going to stop me from speculating that he’ll drop 25 pounds and turn into a 25-25 guy. If hopes and dreams come true, a fringe All-Star fell into Atlanta’s lap for the low, low cost of Hector Olivera; if he blows up, the thought of Fat Matt Kemp becoming memeable for 2017 has its own merits.

What might Matt Kemp look like in 2017?

I’m glad I asked for you. A brief sampling:

350-pound Kemp

350-pound Matt Kemp’s offseason diet looks like this:

  • Dozen Krispy Kreme donuts for breakfast
  • Dozen Krispy Kreme donuts for lunch
  • Four cheeseburgers (or maybe one Burgerizza) and a Twix for dinner

He spends his night’s shotgunning beers and his days hoping Wii Sports will keep his skills from atrophying. Come March, Coppy invents a phantom injury that keeps him in extended spring training for a couple weeks in hopes that he pukes up all the tequila shots in Florida instead of Cobb County.

300-pound Kemp

Same as above, only Kemp mashes lefty pitching in an ‘interleague DH/corner outfield in day games following night games/Freeman needed a day off and 300-pound Kemp can be hidden at first’ kind of way. After an inexplicable April that sees him hit .385 with a half-dozen homers and actually garner some middle-of-the-order at-bats, he’s dealt to a fringe contender needing power (I’ll say Seattle, for poops and/or giggles) in July.

250-pound Kemp

We’re getting closer to realistic weights if he doesn’t spend the offseason eating lard straight from a bucket. A 250-pound Kemp is probably a bit above his current weight; a 250-pound Kemp probably shouldn’t be an everyday player.

His salary is sunk cost; Atlanta will have to pay another team to take him off their hands, if it comes to that.

So let’s platoon him.

Mallex Smith and Ender Inciarte will handle two-thirds of the outfield, so we’ll do a lefty-righty platoon with Kemp and Nick Markakis. Kemp is still mashing against lefties, and Markakis, who retains more value in the field, retains the majority of at-bats since he’s much better against righties. Now, Kemp may be getting paid nearly $100,000 per at-bat next year, but that’s better than getting nothing out of him.

225-pound Kemp

Kemp maintains his shape, maintains his skills and sees a slight drop in average/power/speed due to aging. He could hit 30 homers. He could be a quixotic curiosity in the outfield. This speculation is as boring as it is likely.

200-pound Kemp

200-pound Kemp gets into sick shape, gets lighter, doesn’t lose much in bat speed and joins Inciarte and Smith for one of the fastest outfields in the league.  At two bills, Kemp’s probably not hitting 30 homers but he could be a 20-20 threat and a young pitching staff is so grateful to have the outfield speed that it hardly matters.

150-pound Kemp

On November 13, after spending a few months hearing questions on all sides regarding his weight, Matt Kemp inexplicably elects to run the Las Vegas Marathon. He makes it four miles before bowing out.

Disappointed, he vows to do better. A week later, he runs another marathon in Tulsa and makes it seven miles.

Unbowed, Matt Kemp continues. Seattle. Memphis. Tucson. Los Angeles. Week after week, Kemp becomes the living embodiment of Forrest Gump: each day, he just starts running.

Toward the end of January, he finishes his first marathon, in Miami. By the time he reports in February, he’s finished two more: Hilton Head and Austin. He’s eating kale four times a day, drinking two gallons of water before dinner and getting mistaken for Deriba Merga by casual race fans.


Unfortunately, he arrival in Orlando is greeted with confusion—nobody knows who this emaciated sack of bones is and security refuses to believe he’s actually Matt Kemp. John Coppolella, aghast that his hopes for a skinnier Matt Kemp has led to this moment, resigns. Kemp, his heart no longer in baseball, retires to focus on qualifying for the 2020 Olympics as a marathoner. New manager Mike Matheny, having counted on Kemp’s big bat to help protect Freddie Freeman, follows Kemp and Coppy out the door.

John Hart, facing a crisis in February, turns to a familiar face to right the ship: Fredi Gonzalez.