Fresno Grizzlies outfielder Jon Kemmer didn’t have internet for most of his childhood.
There was little point in him owning a cellphone, either, since his parents’ house in the rural northwestern Pennsylvania town of Shippenville never received reception.
“Rough life,” Kemmer said kiddingly. “I ended up just playing outside a lot, worked on my friend’s farm.”
But like a child deprived of candy who indulges in sweets later in life, Kemmer is committed to using the computer these days.
He just limits it to work purposes.
Regularly watching film of opposing pitchers and video of his own swing over and over, the 25-year-old Kemmer has steadily adjusted to Triple-A baseball play.
Kemmer has been the Pacific Coast League’s most productive power hitter since the All-Star break, hitting .291 with 12 homers, 34 RBIs and a 1.021 on-base-plus-slugging percentage in 40 games.
Since the All-Star break, Kemmer has been the Pacific Coast League’s most productive power hitter.
A 21st-round pick by the Houston Astros in 2013, he is hitting .291 with 12 homers, 34 RBIs and a 1.021 on-base-plus-slugging percentage in the 40 games since the midsummer classic.
In 68 games prior to the All-Star break, the lefty hitter batted just .248 with five home runs, 27 RBIs and a .699 OPS.
“Mostly, it’s been recognizing pitches early, picking the ball out of his hand,” Kemmer said. “Earlier in the season, I was chasing stuff.
“We’re provided a lot of stats on pitches. Our hitting coach tells us what count he’ll likely throw off-speed. I take in that info, then look at film as much as possible to try to get more comfortable before I ever go up to the plate.”
Kemmer’s better play also has coincided with more playing time as a once-crowded Grizzlies outfield thinned out as other players got called up to Houston.
When you get your shot, its very big to take advantage of that opportunity.
Fresno Grizzlies outfielder Jon Kemmer
The Grizzlies have had six position players join the Astros since the July 10-13 All-Star break, including outfielders Preston Tucker, Tony Kemp and Teoscar Hernandez.
That’s created increased playing time for Kemmer.
“I just think Kemmer is one of the strongest kids who I’ve been around,” Grizzlies manager Tony DeFrancesco said. “He never stopped working, committed to whatever he was trying to do.
“He came up with a great plan. And all of the sudden, he’s one of our best hitters in the league the last few months, no doubt.”
6Number of Fresno Grizzlies position players called up by the parent club Houston Astros since the All-Star break
Kemmer, too, understood he needed to step up.
He might’ve been demoted from Triple-A with continued struggles.
But also, Kemmer knew he had to seize the moment.
“This game is all about taking advantage of opportunities,” Kemmer said. “If you don’t go and perform, there’s plenty of guys in Double-A who’ll try to perform before you’re given another shot.
“When you get your shot, it’s very big to take advantage of that opportunity.”
Jon Kemmer file
FRESNO GRIZZLIES OUTFIELDER
- Age: 25
- From: Shippenville, Penn.
- Bats/Throws: L/L
- School: Brewton-Parker College
- Drafted: 21st round in 2013 by the Houston Astros