If you attended a ValleyCats game in 2013, chances are you heard the name Tony Kemp a few times throughout the game. Monday, the Houston Astros called up the 5’6″, 165 lb. Kemp to the roster for their upcoming series against the Chicago White Sox. Before Kemp went on to have a impressive minor league career, he was a high value player out of Vanderbilt University. He was drafted by Houston in the 5th round of the 2013 amateur draft.
By the time the ValleyCats made their move in pursuit of the New York-Penn Championship, Kemp had already gotten the call up to Single-A Quad Cities. But even with only 48 games under his belt with Tri-City, Kemp had some impressive numbers and plays that would not make you question his call up to the big leagues. Batting just under .300 during his time in Troy, perhaps the most impressive attribute for Kemp was, and still is his speed. Kemp had eight extra base hits* in that small window of 48 games. And despite being a second baseman, the ValleyCats encouraged Kemp to play in the outfield in a select few games. His speed being the deciding factor there I would assume.
You can compare Kemp to a few players who are already on the Astros roster. Obviously Jose Altuve comes to mind. But Kemp is one of many Astros players in the majors and minors who have the consistency of being an automatic hitter with lightning speed. If these types of players keep filling up the ‘Stros lineup, I wouldn’t be surprised if they broke the 1976 Oakland Athletics stolen base record. I am being dead serious, 341 stolen bases sounds easy with Kemp on the roster now. Back to the subject, Kemp has the opportunity to play a huge defensive, and somewhat offensive role for a team that is less than five years away from possibly winning it all.
Kemp is the 41st ValleyCat to make it to the majors. And the 30th to make his debut for the Astros. I do wish him luck for the rest of his baseball career.
*Excluding home runs