Houston Astros: Tony Kemp needs to be the DH the rest of the playoffs

The Houston Astros swept the Indians in the ALDS. In that game, Tony Kemp played DH and was very effective in that spot. Here’s why he needs to stay in that spot the rest of the playoffs.

My, oh my, what a series. The Houston Astros jumped out of the gate red hot in the ALDS and finished it on Monday red hot. In a three-game sweep, the Astros won 7-2, 3-1, and finally an 11-3 thrashing to end the series.

During the first two games, the Astros used Tyler White as their primary DH. During the month of August, White had one the best spurts baseball saw this season. He hit .325 with an OBP of 1.095 while also collecting 23 RBIs and 14 extra base hits, eight of which were home runs.

This stellar play matchup White up with the likes of JD Martinez during that same stretch. He also parlayed this into nearly becoming an everyday starter for the Astros. He slumped a little bit in the month of September but still ended the season with some pretty good numbers. The organization recognized all of this and plugged him in as the starting DH in the first two games of the ALDS.

White had eight plate appearances in those first two games against the Indians and did not disappoint. He recorded three hits, including one double, while also reaching base three other times. Pretty good production if you ask me, however, the Astros elected to replace him as DH in what ended up being the third and final game of the series.

Tony Kemp got the nod at the DH spot instead and was placed ninth in the batting order for the Houston Astros. This was a peculiar move in spite of what Kemp brought to the plate this season. White had been the better hitter and provides way more pop than Kemp and it’s not like White wasn’t producing.

However, what Kemp displayed Monday afternoon 100% validates AJ Hinch’s decision to insert him into the lineup over White. Kemp went to the plate five different times in that final ALDS game. He drew two walks and managed one single in the game. He also scored two of the eleven runs on Monday.

Kemp has an uncanny eye for the baseball when he is in the batter’s box. It was on display on Monday and all season when he drew 32 walks. This ability to get free passes to first base right before the likes of George Springer, Jose Altuve and Alex Bregman get to the plate is a surefire way to score runs no matter who the opponent is.

Kemp also has a ton of speed that plays well out of the nine-hole and before those guys. On a deep ball, Kemp has more than enough ability to go from first to third or even all the way home. This mobility on the base paths is something that White could never dream of adding to the starting lineup. Kemp also adds another lefty bat to the lineup to break up a very long string of righties while White just adds to it.

Having Kemp as the DH to start the ALCS is the way to go, no matter who the team is facing. His eye, speed, and baserunning ability add new levels and dimensions to this team. In fact, placing Kemp in the starting lineup also gives the team another incredible bat, in White, off of the bench for pinch-hitting situations.

White almost instantly becomes the team’s best pinch hitter and best pure hitter off of the bench. He can easily hit to any part of the field for a single or a double and he adds great power off of the bench.

Keeping Kemp in the DH spot is the best course of action for the Houston Astros. Time will tell if Hinch agrees but let’s hope he does because this team is much more dangerous with Kemp in the nine-hole as the DH and White being a slugging pinch hitter.

For the season, Tony Kemp his .263/.351/.392. He also slugged fifteen RBIs, hit six home runs, and stole nine bases. He mostly played in the outfield but DH’d and played second base some.