Wait … Matt Kemp is a star again?

Kemp has gone from a punchline on worst contract lists to the front of the comeback player race — and not even the Dodgers saw this coming.

It’s always good to take these wide-lens surveys of the game, whether you’re a writer, a fan or the commissioner. We should always be open to discussion about baseball’s place in the culture and its bid for your disposable dollars. Baseball has always been subject to evolutionary forces, is evolving right now as these words sink into your left cerebral hemisphere, and will evolve in the future even after we’ve all tapped into the universal subconscious. You can’t stop it.

While we’ve been preoccupied with the possible directions of this evolution, it feels like a couple of key parts have been overlooked.

One: The game is still really fun and compelling. Sure, you run into contests where the strikeouts and pitching changes seem interminable. There are a few markets where there are currently too many low-stakes games, an unfortunate by-product of too many teams rebuilding at the same time. But in a few years, those same teams will be all-in trying to win.

Honestly? It’s not bad. It’s not as stately as the previous logo, which looked like it belonged on a medieval battle flag, but it’s not bad. Especially when you pretend the mane is actually a Jaromir Jagr mullet.

Will Atlanta’s hot play earn Brian Snitker top manager honors and Freddie Freeman an MVP trophy? Curtis Compton/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP

Most Emergent Team: The boring way to put this is that it goes to the team that has increased its average win total in my simulation model since the beginning of the season. That team would be the Atlanta Braves, who have improved their forecast from 73.2 wins to 89.0. This is real, Braves fans.

The Vanishing Team: The converse of the Braves has been the Baltimore Orioles, whose forecast has dropped from a sad 72.7 to a tragic 56.6. And they haven’t even traded Manny Machado, Zach Britton and Adam Jones yet.

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