Tony Kemp

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Anthony Allen Kemp

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Biographical Information[edit]

Tony Kemp began his professional career in 2013 after being taken by the Houston Astros in the fifth round of the 2013 amateur draft. He was the second player from that round to make his major league debut, after pitcher Buck Farmer.

In 2013, he won the Southeastern Conference Player of the Year honor. He was the second Vanderbilt University player to earn it, after Hunter Bledsoe in 1999. He also earned numerous All-American selections during his time at the school.

Kemp batted .273/.366/.345 with 21 stolen bases between the Tri-City ValleyCats and Quad Cities River Bandits in 2013, and in 2014 he hit .316/.411/.449 with 30 doubles, 8 triples, 8 home runs, 121 runs scored, 41 stolen bases, 73 walks and only 67 strikeouts in 131 games between the Lancaster JetHawks and Corpus Christi Hooks. He was a Organization All-Star, California League Mid-Season All-Star, California League Post-Season All-Star, two-time Player of the Week and MiLB Gold Glove recipient that year. He hit .358/.457/.420 with 15 steals for the Hooks in 2015, prompting his promotion to the Triple-A Fresno Grizzlies. He hit .273/.334/.362 with 20 steals there, bringing his season totals to .308/.388/.386 with 35 stolen bases. He was a Texas League Mid-Season All-Star, a Organization All-Star and a Futures Game selection.

Going into 2016, Baseball America ranked him the #14 prospect in the Astros chain. After beginning the campaign with a .298/.410/.405 line in 34 games for Fresno, Kemp was promoted to the majors. On May 17, 2016, he made his debut against the Chicago White Sox, scoring a run as a pinch-runner for first baseman Tyler White. The next night, also against the White Sox, he was 2-for-3 at the plate with a double and a walk. His first career hit, the double, came off hurler Mat Latos. He hit just .217 in 59 games that first season.

Tony played briefly for the Astros in 2017, when they won the first World Series title in franchise history. However, a .216 average in 17 games did not convince management to add him to the postseason roster. he spent the bulk of that season in AAA with Fresno, where he hit a solid .329 in 118 games. He got a chance to show his mettle in 2018 however, as a string of injuries opened up playing time on the major league team. He ended up playing 97 games in the majors, and hit .263 with 6 homers and 30 RBIs while playing mainly left field and center field. He went 1 for 3 with 2 runs scored in the Astros' sweep of the Cleveland Indians in the Division Series, and 3 for 11 with a double and a homer in their loss to the Boston Red Sox in the ALCS. He returned to Houston as a utility player in 2019, splitting his time almost equally between second base and the outfield, but he did not hit as well as the previous year, batting .227 in 66 games. At the end of July, a roster crunch forced the Astros to have him designated for assignment, as he had no minor league options left and on July 31st, they concluded a trade with the Chicago Cubs, sending him to the windy city in return for C Martin Maldonado. He played 44 games for Chicago, hitting ,183 with 1 homer and 12 RBIs.

On January 13, 2020, Kemp was traded again, this time to the Oakland Athletics in return for minor leaguer Alfonso Rivas. He was expected to compete for the vacant starting job at second base for Oakland.

His brother, Corey Kemp, played in the Milwaukee Brewers system in 2008 and 2009.

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