View From Kernels Games - Kepler, Goodrum, Walker, Boyd, Mauer
by, 08-19-2013 at 02:38 PM (530 Views)
The Twins farm system is ranked highly, and for good reason. For the first time in recent memory, we have a number of very high ceiling prospects at AA (Sano, Meyers, Rosario, May) and high A (Buxton). The ones at low-A (Kepler, Goodrum, Walker, Boyd, etc) in past years would have made us proud. How do they really look in comparison to the press, and in comparison to the more notable others on this list? After seeings some Kernels games, the punchline: major leaguers are hard to come by, but there is projectable potential at low-A.
Nice lanky body. Beginning to fill out, but with room for bulk. Fast bat. Swing is reminiscent of Chris Davis. Starts with hands and elbow a bit high. Has good but not Griffey Jr. wrists. Take little to no step; just a quick turn on the ball. Has enough uppercut to launch the ball yard. Good pitch recognition for the level. Clearly different than many players at this level. Smooth to flyballs in the outfield.
Will be interesting to see how he fills out. Swing can get a bit long, but is athletic enough that I never saw it hurt him. While he is "different than many players at this level" he is not "a man among boys" like Sano. Instead, think Kubel before the knee injury. When playing OF, allows baserunners to advance too easily on flares.
"No doubt about that one, but good thing he didn't launch it to dead CF" - son, commenting on a homerun to RCF.
Nice swing. Hands move directly to the ball. Line drive swing. Quick bat (quickest on team). Everything moves in sync well. Surprisingly slender frame and narrow shoulders for his power. Has a "bubble butt" to borrow a football term. Will definitely fill out and broaden out, and when he does, watch out! Excellent power potential. Surprisingly smooth in OF.
Below average pitch recognition. Looks like classic mistake hitter right now. Swung over multiple sliders and curves, wishing they were fastballs. Needs to learn an approach at the plate, and to hit the breaking ball more consistently before he is promoted. Needs to wait on the ball longer before committing -- has the hand speed to do it. Fielding will almost certainly degrade as he fills out.
"He'll hit shots that don't get 20 feet in the air, but I wouldn't want to be in the way of one of them!" - Kernels fan before the game.
Good sized young man. Long legs that go way up. Looks like he can put on 20 extra pounds while still growing. Once he finishes growing into his body, should have the potential to really drive the ball. No problem hitting the fastball. Good movement. Nice arm. Made all the plays he was supposed to make.
Not clear that he'll stay at SS as he grows. He has enough athletic ability, but it depends upon how his legs thicken (if they do). Will never be Florimon in the field, but could be average. Still developing a plan at the plate. Too willing to hit a pitcher's pitch. Swing can get a bit long (moreso than Kepler). Has some head movement - needs to consistently bury it.
"He looks a little out of proportion" - fan in front of us
It's clear why he was a supplemental first round pick. Has nice speedon his fastball, and is willing to attack with it. Sits 93 or so, but can reach back for a couple of extra mph when he needs it -- and chooses those spots well. Nice, repeatable arm slot. Seems to have a decent feel for pitching.
The fastball flattens out sometimes, and the curve is sloppy (loose break, little command). Is inconsistent with his strike foot and stride length. Will vary stride length by a good 6 inches, and angle of strike foot by 5-10 degrees. It is easy to see why he is inconsistent, because his delivery isn't fully repeatable yet.
"Ugh. That just sort of rolled in there." - son talking about his curve.
Mauer (Jake, not Joe)
Okay, he's not a player, but I loved the way he worked the game and the umpires. Example: hard shot over 3B, hit the chalk, called foul. Mauer doesn't say a word. He just looks at the ump. Then he looks down. Then he goes over to the ball mark in the chalk and smooths it out with his foot. Looks into CF, and goes back to the coaches box. 'Nuf said.
Seems to work well with the players. Works his way around the guys, without being over their shoulder.
Moving to the bullpen added a few mph to his fastball. Good movement. Has an adequate breaking ball that he can throw for strikes more often than not, though it needs sharper break. Mound presence is impressive. Can't tell what the count is if it isn't in his favor, but bears down when he needs to punch a guy out.
Class A ball is fun. The players are still learning to play, and their bodies are still growing. There is as much projection of the body evolution as there is in baseball skills. Given that, it is hard to say that there any such thing as a "sure thing" among Class A ballplayers. Still, it wouldn't be a surprise if all five of these guys made it to the majors. Kepler seems to have the lowest floor of the group. Boyd and Walker have the highest ceiling -- and interestingly, both of those depend upon the breaking ball. Goodrum is a wildcard: lots of potential, and needs to continue to harness it as he grows. Would love to see if Melatokis can become a starter, or if he could potentially be the Glen Perkins of 2018. Would love to see Mauer rise up the ranks as well.