TERRE HAUTE — Wherever his baseball career takes him — and like probably every player in the Prospect League, he has thoughts of playing beyond college — Kyle Kempf will probably use the same approach that won him a job with the Terre Haute Rex approximately 14 months ago.
Which is a good thing.
Fresh from his second Prospect League All-Star Game appearance in as many seasons — a game July 17 in which he produced the only run in the West Division’s 2-1 loss by hitting a triple and scoring on teammate Tyler Wampler’s grounder — Kempf entered the home stretch of the 2013 season ranked sixth in the league in hitting with a .323 average and also had a homer, 16 RBIs, 22 runs, 12 doubles, three triples and 15 stolen bases in 39 games.
That followed up his rookie season in 2012 during which he finished fourth in the league in batting at .365 and added two homers, 44 RBIs, 38 runs, 12 doubles, two triples and 24 stolen bases in 57 games.
It’s probably not an exaggeration to say he’s in the argument as the best player in the league during that two-year stretch. Considering he started the 2012 campaign with a temporary contract, there’s no denying he’s been the league’s most pleasant surprise.
“I was kind of nervous to start off,” Kempf said recently when asked about his Rex beginnings. “I hadn’t played in a year [coming after a redshirt freshman season at the University of Southern Indiana], and a lot of the guys were bigger than me.
“But it’s all just baseball. At the end of the day, whatever happens happens,” the 5-foot-10, 180-pounder continued. “The first two games my timing was really bad, but [former manager] Brian Dorsett worked with me on some things and gave me a lot of confidence. I started getting hits, I was having a lot of fun, and it just started to click.”