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Thread: Max Kepler - 2014

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    Max Kepler - 2014

    Player: Maximilian Kepler
    Born: 02/10/1993 (21)
    Birthplace: Berlin, Germany
    Height: 6’4"
    Weight: 205
    Position: OF
    Bats: L
    Throws: L

    Max joined the Twins as an international signing in 2009. His $800,000 signing bonus was the largest offer ever extended to a European player at that time.
    Max was added to the 40 man roster at the end of the 2013 season.

    Kepler made his professional debut in 2010 (age 17 season) in the Gulf Coast League. He’s spent the past four seasons in the minor league system for the Twins, finishing 2013 at low A Cedar Rapids. He will begin 2014 in high A Fort Myers playing LF.

    Minor League Stats:

    Year Age Tm Lg Lev Aff G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS TB GDP HBP SH SF IBB
    2010 17 Twins GULF Rk MIN 37 153 140 15 40 6 1 11 13 27 .286 .346 .343 .689 48 1
    2011 18 Elizabethton APPY Rk MIN 50 221 191 29 50 11 3 1 24 23 54 .262 .347 .366 .714 70 6 3 2 2
    2012 19 Elizabethton APPY Rk MIN 59 269 232 40 69 16 5 10 49 27 33 .297 .387 .539 .925 125 5 8 2
    2013 20 CedarRapids MIDW A MIN 61 263 236 35 56 11 3 9 40 24 43 .237 .312 .424 .736 100 2 2 1 1


    Prospect Rankings (2014):


    Fangraphs – 7
    Minorleagueball.com - 10
    Baseball America – 13 (Top 15 under 25)
    MLB.Com – 15
    BaseballProspectus - NR



    Scouting Report:
    You can read detailed scouting reports on Max here:

    http://www.minorleagueball.com/2013/6/27/4472970/prospect-profile-max-kepler-of-minnesota-twins

    http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article/min/bernie-pleskoff-athletic-twins-prospect-max-kepler-boasts-broad-skill-set?ymd=20131230&content_id=66238584&vkey=news_min

    While it’s worth your time to read both stories linked above, the highlights of Kepler’s game are:
    + Power
    + Plate discipline (Able to put the ball in play with 2 strikes, will draw walks)
    - Arm strength (Average to below average, likely destined to be LF)
    - Speed

    While the Twins had plans for Kepler to be a pure CF when he was signed, it has become apparent that Max’s future likely will be in the corner outfield. His speed has decreased as he’s adding more weight, which has limited his range. His arm has been described as "mediocre" by most scouts, which likely makes him a LF or even a 1B going forward. Although many believe that if he’s shifted to 1B he will be able to add defensive value at the position.
     
    Features on Kepler:

    Read Tyler Mason's piece on Fox Sports North: HERE

    Kepler at bat:



    Twitter:

    You can follow Max on Twitter (@Kepleroni)

    News & Notes:

    Max strained his UCL in 2013 (similar to the issues Miguel Sano encountered this season) but was able to recover with rehab, instead of surgery. Mike Berardino has a great piece covering Max's rehab and recovery.
    Last edited by iTwins; 05-12-2014 at 02:15 PM.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Double-A iTwins's Avatar
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    We're only 4 games into the Miracle's season so the numbers don't reflect too much right now; none the less, here's Kepler's stat line from the first 4 games:

    Year Age Tm Lg Lev Aff G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS TB GDP HBP SH SF IBB
    2014 21 FortMyers FLOR A+ 4 18 15 4 3 1 4 2 .200 .278 .333 .611 5 1

    Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
    Generated 4/9/2014.

    The highlight of his season so far was a 2 RBI triple in the 8th inning of the Miracle's opener. Kepler's hit helped push across 2 of the 3 runs the Miracle scored in the 8th, en route to a 5-1 win over Jupiter.

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    Senior Member Double-A iTwins's Avatar
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    Max has not had a good April. The Fort Myers LF has struggled mightily at the plate to start the season. Max is 3 for 27 (.111) to start the young season and has done little offensively since the 2 RBI triple he hit in the Miracle's home opener.

    The upside is that Max has only struck out once, meaning nearly everything has been put in play. It's entirely possible he's battling a bit of rough luck to start the season (I'm only able to catch Miracle games via recap, so I can't say if he's making good contact and just unlucky or if something larger is going on.)

    Without access to more advanced splits, it's hard to say if he's struggling to make contact against a certain pitch or simply having a hard time seeing the zone in the early going.

    We can take solace in the fact that it's only April and there's still a lot of time for Max's bat to heat up. His up to date numbers are below, for those who want a complete picture.

    Year Age Tm Lg Lev Aff G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS TB GDP HBP SH SF IBB
    2014 21 FortMyers FLOR A+ MIN 8 32 27 5 3 0 1 0 4 0 0 4 1 .111 .219 .185 .404 5 0 0 0 1 0

    Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
    Generated 4/14/2014.
    Last edited by iTwins; 04-14-2014 at 07:31 PM.

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    Senior Member Triple-A DocBauer's Avatar
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    Personally, I love the potential of this kid. I think he was primed for a very good season last year before his injury setback. He held his own, in my opinion, in the AFL and learned a lot. He also looked very solid in his brief ST appearances. The season is still very young and I have no doubt the numbers will begin to climb for him soon.

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    Senior Member Double-A iTwins's Avatar
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    The beautiful thing about early season numbers is that they can very quickly be altered. After a sluggish first week in which he posted a meager .111/.219/.185 slash line, Max strung a few multi hit games together and is now boasting an improved stat line:

    Age AgeDif Tm Lg Lev Aff G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS TB GDP HBP SH SF IBB
    21 -1.7 FortMyers FLOR A+ MIN 16 65 57 8 12 1 2 8 6 4 .211 .292 .298 .591 17 1 1 1

    Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
    Generated 4/23/2014.

    As I mentioned last week, Max was posting low averages despite having only one strikeout, showing that many of his problems were coming down to poor luck.

    Through 65 PA, Max still only has 4 strikeouts and has taken 6 walks. That shows he's seeing the ball well so far and gives a good indication that his average and OBP should continue trending upward.

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    Senior Member Double-A iTwins's Avatar
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    Unlike the midwestern spring, Max Kepler is starting to heat up. Another strong week has seen Kepler's numbers climb out of the early season cellar. To date, he's batting:

    Year Age AgeDif Tm Lg Lev Aff G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS TB GDP HBP SH SF IBB
    2014 21 -1.7 FortMyers FLOR A+ MIN 21 85 76 9 16 2 2 1 14 0 1 6 8 .211 .282 .329 .611 25 3 2 0 1 0




    Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
    Generated 4/29/2014.

    The highlight of the week came on Sunday, when Kepler hit a grand slam (his first home run of the season) in route to a 10-7 win for the Miracle. I'm trying to find a video of the hit - if / when I do, I'll be sure to share it here.
    Last edited by iTwins; 04-29-2014 at 08:57 PM.

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    After being slated as one of the Miracle's starting corner outfielders heading into 2014 - Kepler has seemingly played just about every position available to him BUT corner outfield through the first month of the season.

    Byron Buxton's injury forced Max into the starting CF role for the first 22 of 25 games, and a recent injury to Dalton Hicks has shifted Max into a starting 1B role for the time being. The upside is, Kepler is showing his defensive versatility by being able to cover multiple positions - the downside...well, he's not exactly a GOOD CF (.978 fielding percentage with 1 error so far this season in CF). Through 3 games, however, he does seem to be a perfectly servicable player at 1B.

    Offensively, not much has changed for Kepler over the past week. A few more hits have bumped up his average slightly and a couple more walks have increased his OBP by 22 points from last week. His strikeout totals are beginning to climb as well. He's currently averaging 4 K's per week (or, around 1 per game) I don't think it's anything to be concerned about yet - as his walks have increased at an equal pace, but it's worth monitoring.



    Year Age AgeDif Tm Lg Lev Aff G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS TB GDP HBP SH SF IBB
    2014 21 -1.7 FortMyers FLOR A+ MIN 28 112 99 14 22 2 3 2 18 2 1 9 12 .222 .304 .364 .667 36 3 3 1

    Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
    Generated 5/8/2014.
    Last edited by iTwins; 05-08-2014 at 08:45 AM.

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    Senior Member Double-A iTwins's Avatar
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    So far, Max is posting numbers similar to the rest of the Miracle roster.

    Unfortunately, the Miracle's roster has largely been ice cold to start the season.

    Max is in the middle of the pack in nearly every offensive category for the Miracle. His .215 batting average is 9th best (of 15 eligible players) while his .315 OBP is 8th best on the team. His 2 doubles are the fewest of any regular starter - but he is second on the team in triples (3) and 7th in total bases (37).

    He only added one hit to his totals over the last week, but he has drawn 4 walks over 3 games, bringing his K / BB ratio much closer to 1:1 (15 K/ 13 BB).

    The early numbers haven't been exciting, but his rising walk totals and relatively low strikeout rate (3rd lowest, amongst regular starters) are good signs that he's seeing the ball well and should be able to get his average up in the coming weeks.

    Year Age AgeDif Tm Lg Lev Aff G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS TB GDP HBP SH SF IBB
    2014 21 -1.7 FortMyers FLOR A+ MIN 31 124 107 15 23 2 3 2 18 2 1 13 15 .215 .315 .346 .660 37 3 3 0 1 0

    Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
    Generated 5/13/2014.

  9. #9
    Kepler hasn't played for a few days - does anyone know why?

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    Senior Member Double-A iTwins's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sssuperdave View Post
    Kepler hasn't played for a few days - does anyone know why?
    Haven't heard a peep about an injury. I wonder if it's just a couple of days off? I though he'd be back tonight, but it looks like he's still sitting.

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    Senior Member Double-A iTwins's Avatar
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    Kepler returned to the Miracle lineup on May 17th after sitting out the series against Brevard County. I've yet to hear any word as to why Kepler was out for the series - there weren't any reported injuries and the team didn't really address the issue (that I can find, it can be tough to find information surrounding the Miracle. If I've missed something regarding Kepler's "time off" feel free to add it to the thread).

    Kepler has returned to playing CF (after a brief stint covering 1B). He still likely profiles as a corner outfielder, but the ability to cover all three positions is a positive point in Kepler's game. Kepler's bat, however, continues to struggle this season. After seeing some signs of life a few weeks ago, Kepler's numbers have leveled off. He's still showing decent plate discipline, so there's hope the rest of his numbers could rise to expectations - but we can no longer write off his slow start to it merely being "early in the season".

    Year Tm Lg Lev Aff G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS TB GDP HBP SH SF IBB
    2014 FortMyers FLOR A+ MIN 35 141 121 18 26 2 4 2 18 2 1 15 19 .215 .319 .347 .666 42 3 4 0 1 0
    5 Seasons 242 1047 920 137 241 46 16 22 142 18 3 102 176 .262 .344 .418 .763 385 17 17 2 6 1
    Rk (3 seasons) Rk 146 643 563 84 159 33 9 11 84 14 2 63 114 .282 .363 .432 .795 243 12 11 2 4 0
    A (1 season) A 61 263 236 35 56 11 3 9 40 2 0 24 43 .237 .312 .424 .736 100 2 2 0 1 1
    A+ (1 season) A+ 35 141 121 18 26 2 4 2 18 2 1 15 19 .215 .319 .347 .666 42 3 4 0 1 0

    Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
    Generated 5/22/2014.

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    Senior Member Double-A iTwins's Avatar
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    Kepler has had a good week. He's raised his batting average 14 points from last week and picked up some key hits for the Miracle along the way.

    His RBI double on May 24th proved to be the winning run and his 3 RBI double on May 25th helped "close out" a 6-1 Miracle win. The extra base hits have helped his slugging and OPS as well. After a slower than expected start to the season, it's great to see Kepler have a solid week.

    Year Age AgeDif Tm Lg Lev Aff G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS TB GDP HBP SH SF IBB
    2014 21 -1.7 FortMyers FLOR A+ MIN 40 162 140 21 32 4 4 2 23 2 1 17 23 .229 .327 .357 .684 50 3 4 0 1 0




    Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
    Generated 5/28/2014.

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    I'd be remiss if I started this week's updated with anything other than this:

    Max Kepler played second base for the Miracle last night.

    This was Max's first appearance at 2B EVER in the minors. He's been used all over the field this season, mainly at CF and 1B - but is commonly believed to be a corner outfielder by the time he's big league ready, so the start at 2B was a bit of a surprise.

    For what it's worth - he did a solid job. He had 2 defensive opportunities during the game and made both plays. That's good enough for a 1.000 fielding percentage, for those scoring at home.

    On offense, the past week was a bit up and down (much like the entire season has been). A rain out and a day out of the lineup have given Max only 3 games since last update. He had a solid outing on May 29th, drawing 2 walks and scoring a run in 2 official at bats. That was followed by a terrible 0-4 outing on May 30th, "highlighted" by 3 strikeouts. Last night featured an average 1-4 outing, as the entire Miracle offense strugged to drive in runs.

    Here's where Max's numbers stand for the season:

    Year Age AgeDif Tm Lg Lev Aff G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS TB GDP HBP SH SF IBB
    2014 21 -1.7 FortMyers FLOR A+ MIN 44 178 153 24 34 5 4 2 23 2 1 19 27 .222 .322 .346 .668 53 3 4 1 1

    Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
    Generated 6/3/2014.

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    Senior Member Double-A iTwins's Avatar
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    It appears the excitement of Kepler starting at 2B may be misplaced. Mike Berardino (who was just as surprised at Kepler at 2B as the rest of us) is now saying that the whole thing may be typo. It sounds like Eddie Rosario started at 2B for the Miracle last night, while Kepler played CF (a decision that makes a whole heck of lot more sense).

    If it was a typo, it was a doozy - Baseball Reference and all the other media outlets ran with it. Even the recap of last night's game lists the plays at 2B going to Kepler.

    So, either Kepler played his first game at 2B EVER or someone with the Miracle made a mistake and we've got a comical story to share. Stay tuned!

  15. #15
    Owner MVP Seth Stohs's Avatar
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    Yeah, earlier this morning I e-mailed someone in ft. Myers and they said the same thing. Rosario at 2B, Kepler in CF. They were working to change that on the box score.

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    Senior Member Double-A iTwins's Avatar
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    Max left last night's game in the 7th due to injury. This afternoon, the Miracle announced that he would be going on the 7 day DL.

    I haven't heard any specifics regarding the type of injury Max suffered, but I'll add any info as I find it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by iTwins View Post
    Max Kepler played second base for the Miracle last night.
    That would be weird playing a left handed thrower at 2B

  18. #18
    Senior Member Triple-A DocBauer's Avatar
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    Kepler was one of my top minor leaguers picked to click this season. This was/is based on his talent/potential, what he has shown thus far, including last season when he got the late start, and a sense that he wasn't scared or overmatched in the AFL despite not so hot statistics. His slow start is disconcerting to be sure. However, he's still showing plate discipline which is a positive indicator.

    He is still very young. And while I don't pretend to understand the level or quality of baseball he played in Germany, I don't think it's hard to speculate it lacked some of the type of talent and competition you'd see here in the States. And again, while vastly athletic, he's very young. By no means am I saying they are complete parallels to one another, but consider all-star Torri Hunter as a somewhat similar comp. A young, athletic kid from a smaller town, in a location that wasn't known for turning out top baseball talent. It took Hunter 7 seasons in the minors, with a couple short term call ups to Minnesota, before he stuck for good. There's still over a half of a full season left to start finding his stroke.

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    Senior Member Double-A iTwins's Avatar
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    Max is back!

    Per Mike Berardino, Max Kepler will be activated from the 7 Day DL today. He had missed time (out since 6/3) due to a left forearm strain.

  20. #20
    Senior Member Double-A iTwins's Avatar
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    Max returned to the Miracle lineup with a bang last night. He went 2-4, with a two run home run in the Miracle's 4 to 7 loss to St. Lucie.

    After seeing Max struggle for most of the season, it was nice to see him return to the lineup and show some of the power he's known for. Hopefully this marks a turning point for Max and he can keep it up during the 2nd half of the Miracle's season.

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