Bits: Kemp, Ramirez, Marte return 

September, 18, 2013
Several National League playoff teams welcomed back key offensive players to the lineup Tuesday, and fantasy owners certainly needed to pay attention. Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp (hamstring) went 4-for-4 in his first start since July, with a pair of doubles and three RBIs, while shortstop Hanley Ramirez (back) singled, drew three walks and scored three runs in the 9-3 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks. Meanwhile in Pittsburgh, left fielder Starling Marte (finger) singled in three at-bats in his first start in a month, though the Pirates fell to the San Diego Padres, 5-2.

Kemp’s performance is mighty enticing to fantasy owners, as the consensus first-round pick from draft day enters Tuesday outside the top 100 outfielders on the Player Rater. He’s owned in 98 percent of standard leagues, so his owners waited, but who knows how many of them still have something to play for. Even now, nobody can be sure what statistics he’ll deliver. Kemp’s 39-homer, 40-steal season of 2011 seems a long way off. He’s at five home runs and nine stolen bases in more than a third of a full-season’s at-bats, hardly comparable. It’s not likely he’ll be running much the final 10 days of the regular season, and the risk for fantasy owners is that the Dodgers, with the NL West division title nearly secured, play Kemp sporadically. As for next season, it’s tough to view Kemp as a top-10 pick. The second round makes more sense.

[+] EnlargeHanley Ramirez
Jeff Gross/Getty ImagesDespite an injury-plagued season, 45 of Hanley Ramirez's 98 hits have gone for extra bases.
Ramirez has had issues staying healthy in 2013, but his numbers are tremendous, with a .343 batting average, 18 home runs and 10 steals in roughly half a season of at-bats. Shortstops just don’t do that. In fact, no player is currently doing that (including the batting average), no matter the at-bats. Ramirez is higher on the Player Rater than all but five at his position, despite playing in only 80 games. Again, the risk for those needing every last game in fantasy is that the Dodgers rest him for October, using Nick Punto or Dee Gordon instead, and as with Kemp, he is likely a top-20 option for 2014 drafts. I’d take Ramirez over Kemp.