Matt Kemp is an outfield prospect in the Los Angeles Dodgers organization. The 2003 sixth-round pick had a breakout season in 2005, breaking Adrian Beltre's Vero Beach record for home runs with 27 while hitting .306, driving in 90 runs and stealing 23 bases. He then led the Phoenix Desert Dogs to the Arizona Fall League title by hitting .383 and slugging .606, capping it off with a 4-for-4, two-homer performance in the championship game.
The former basketball star began his pro career in 2003 in the Gulf Coast League and has moved a rung at a time since. He spent most of 2004 with Columbus, with a late call-up to Vero, his home for all of the 2005 season. The 21-year-old outfielder helped the Dodgers to the best overall record in the Eastern Division of the Florida State League. He's agreed to chronicle his 2006 season in an exclusive journal for MiLB.com.
Hello again everybody. Everything is going good so far in the 2006 season. We are playing good and having fun. We have been on the road the past two weeks and I'm a little anxious to get back home. Right now we are playing in Birmingham against the Barons. This is a nice city although the fans are a little rough around here.
We are already 26 games into the season. We are in first place and Montgomery is only one game behind us. So far the Southern League is fun except for these long bus rides. I think that's probably the worse thing about the Minor Leagues is the long bus rides. But spending all that time on a bus with your team makes you get to know them better.
The start of the season took a little getting used to. We all started off slow but we have picked it up a lot. The strike zone is a little different this year but we've gotten used to it. Watch out for the Jacksonville Suns -- I think we have a chance for a repeat.
Matt's Mailbag / Send Matt an email >
Hey Matt! I'm an autograph collector and baseball has been a passion of mine for some time. The two combined are a great mix. I am always disappointed when some jerk runs out on the field, throws items at players or hurls insults.
How has your experience been thus far with the fans, do players get frustrated with people seeking their autographs?
The only frustrating thing about fans is when they give you a notebook of your cards and they want you to sign all of them. Most players won't sign them all because they're put on the internet for selling.
Most players work on their weakness so much that they concentrate on that weakness at the plate. It messes you up. You can't think at the plate. At this point in my career the thing I need to work on is just being patient at the plate.
Matt Kemp is an outfield prospect in the Dodgers organization and a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.