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Thread: Ask Baseball America - The Rule 5 Draft and Max Kepler

  1. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Lein View Post
    Ya, I don't see a reason why the Twins can't, or wouldn't want, to put him on their 40-man roster to protect him. Just is weird having a guy that is only going to be in A-ball there.
    Why do you want the Twins to change the way they handle their prospects? Usually by the time a player that was drafted reaches AAA he is 26 and makes his pro debut at 28. Too bad we can't learn anything from Tampa and draft some quality arms.

  2. #22
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    I think I'd wait as long as possible to add his name to the 40-man. He'd be my last option. I'd be more inclined to add him to the AAA protected to not lose him in the minor league phase and not have to lose an option. I'm trying to remember about Romero. Once he was taken off the 40-man, did the option clock re-set? In other words, if he is added once again to the 40-man, will he have less than 3 options?

  3. #23
    Twins Daily Writer All-Star Jeremy Nygaard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ScottyB View Post
    I think I'd wait as long as possible to add his name to the 40-man. He'd be my last option. I'd be more inclined to add him to the AAA protected to not lose him in the minor league phase and not have to lose an option. I'm trying to remember about Romero. Once he was taken off the 40-man, did the option clock re-set? In other words, if he is added once again to the 40-man, will he have less than 3 options?
    Options are options. He had a year where he was on an optional assignment, so he has two left.

  4. #24
    Senior Member All-Star Thrylos's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Seth Stohs View Post
    I would be shocked if the Twins don't add Jorge Polanco and Max Kepler. They're both no-brainers in my mind, especially considering they have so many players that will (or could) come off of the current 40 man.
    I would actually be shocked if they did so... All they need to do is to add them to the AAA roster to protect them from the MiLB portion of the draft. Very low probability that they are taken in the MLB portion. Extremely low. They need to protect other players (pitchers) who may be taken and probably need about 5 spots for real talent at the MLB level.
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  5. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thrylos View Post
    I would actually be shocked if they did so... All they need to do is to add them to the AAA roster to protect them from the MiLB portion of the draft. Very low probability that they are taken in the MLB portion. Extremely low. They need to protect other players (pitchers) who may be taken and probably need about 5 spots for real talent at the MLB level.
    I agree with Seth. I'd be shocked if they didn't put Santana and Kepler on the 40-man roster for 2014.

    If Clete Thomas can get 250+ ABs on our team, we have room for Kepler. He doesn't have to be in the bigs. Just means there's the 3 year window.

    Leave Thomas, Mastrioanni, Parmalee, Ramirez, and Presley off the 40-man. They've already proven they can't contribute much at the major league level.

    And btw, Santana was already on the 40-man for 2013.

    40-Man Roster | twinsbaseball.com: Team

  6. #26
    Twins Daily Writer All-Star Jeremy Nygaard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by twinsfan34 View Post
    And btw, Santana was already on the 40-man for 2013.

    40-Man Roster | twinsbaseball.com: Team
    He was talking about Polanco.

    Polanco gets added before Kepler. But I think Kepler gets protected too... even though he won't get drafted.

  7. #27
    Senior Member Big-Leaguer righty8383's Avatar
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    I'm not concerned about the options. If he's not ready to stick in the ML after 3 years, he probably wasn't as good as we all hoped anyways. And just because he is expected to start next year in Fort Myers, a player of his age and perceived ability should be able to start climbing the ladder more than one level per season. So we can figure out what to do about that if/when the time comes. I would add him for the aforementioned reason that there will be plenty of spots available.

  8. #28
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    ...not to mention that the decision doesn't have to be made until after we see how he does against the tougher competition in the AFL. If he does really well, some team would definitely take the risk. If he is over his head, maybe he wouldn't be completely ready by 2017 anyway. But even Denard Span, who seemingly took forever to develop, was 'ready' at 24 (though the Twins sent him down for what I believe was an arbitration clock adjustment).

  9. #29
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    Houston could easily afford to give a guy like Kepler a bunch of ML at bats and have him learn on the job. They're openly tanking.

    I guess it would be what their scouts think but if they say something like - love this guy, great body, good work ethic, fast learner, just needs time, I think Houston bites.

  10. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by golfboy1 View Post
    The main reason I wouldn't add him isn't for this year but down the road. What happens in 3 years when he runs out of options? You have no choice but to keep him on the team or risk losing him.
    That's a good problem to have. It's kinda like delaying service time -- if the guy is good enough that you're still talking about him 3+ years down the road, burning an option year or giving him a month extra service time will be very small potatoes.

    If they like Kepler now, or even if they are down on him at the moment but liked him recently, they would be pretty foolish to risk losing him for a 40-man roster spot, particularly given the current construction of the 40-man roster.

  11. #31
    Quote Originally Posted by spycake View Post
    That's a good problem to have. It's kinda like delaying service time -- if the guy is good enough that you're still talking about him 3+ years down the road, burning an option year or giving him a month extra service time will be very small potatoes.

    If they like Kepler now, or even if they are down on him at the moment but liked him recently, they would be pretty foolish to risk losing him for a 40-man roster spot, particularly given the current construction of the 40-man roster.
    I like Kepler, but I don't see him being ready to stick at the ML roster in 3 years with NO option of sending him down. He batted .237 at low A ball & he doesn't project as a great OF or a great baserunner so his bat will have to carry him.

    I think we are overvaluing Kepler. He wasn't rated as a top 20 prospect in the MWL & while he has a chance to be a good ML player so do hundreds of other players in A ball. Heck, even on CR I would rate quite a few players higher than him.

    Houston could take him since they really don't seem to care what their record is but they would have to leave one of their own prospects exposed to the draft. I think if we protect Kepler now & he continues to develop I am more concerned we would lose him thru waivers or be forced to keep him on the ML roster when he could use more seasoning.

    We always worry about losing someone in the draft but nobody has drafted a Twins player since 2008 & that was a player named Jose Lugo...who I don't even remember. He was eventually returned & hasn't done anything.

  12. #32
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    I checked the past 3 years, a player in low A being drafted is exceedingly rare and in fact there's only been one player from that level who's managed to stick in the past 3 years, even he was a RP.
    Lendy Castillo Minor League Statistics & History - Baseball-Reference.com

    Lots of AA/AAA players drafted, very few below there. I think teams realize the amount of development lost due to players, especially hitters, being overmatched by large jumps from A ball just isn't worth it. Since Kepler is a corner player a team couldn't even justify it on the basis of defense. I'd leave him unprotected, the risk just isn't that high imo.

  13. #33
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    For the record, I am pretty down on Kepler myself, pending his AFL performance. He was the international man of mystery for awhile, but he's at an age now where he really should be showing some production. I agree the risk of losing him at this time is probably quite low.

    I just don't think it would hamper the Twins or Kepler to protect him now if they feel it is warranted.

  14. #34
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    There has only been 1 position player that was drafted from A-ball and went on to play a game with their new MLB team in the last 10 years. That was a defensive minded shortstop with speed. A not great defensively OF/1B that can't pinch hit, can't pinch run, can't be a defensive replacement is not going to get drafted let alone stick with a team.

    The options are a very important consideration. Most players aren't able to stick by age 23. Cuddyer, Bartlett, Mientkiewicz, Koskie, and Span all had their first full season at the age of 25. Morneau, Hunter and Jacque Jones had their first success at 25 as well. Jason Kubel was 26. Committing to a course of action that tosses a player under the bus because they aren't ready at the age of 23 seems foolhardy.

  15. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oxtung View Post
    The options are a very important consideration. Most players aren't able to stick by age 23. Cuddyer, Bartlett, Mientkiewicz, Koskie, and Span all had their first full season at the age of 25. Morneau, Hunter and Jacque Jones had their first success at 25 as well. Jason Kubel was 26.
    While I understand and mostly agree with your larger point (he's unlikely to be selected), I believe if added now, Kepler would be 24 when he "had" to stick in the majors. Ages 21-23 would be his three option years.

    From your list, it should be noted that Bartlett, Mientkiewicz, Koskie, and Jones were all college draftees. Those ages you list were generally their fourth full pro seasons, a level Kepler will be attaining next year (giving him a pass for his first "full" rookie ball season at age 17). Even if added to the 40-man now, Kepler would still be getting 6+ full seasons of minor league play.

    Also, Kubel only played 30 games in the minors after age 22, and probably only "needed" them due to injury. Morneau played 72 at age 23, arguably did not need them, and played none thereafter. Cuddyer played 55 at age 24, arguably did not need them, and played none thereafter.

    Guys who are capable of becoming MLB regulars are generally capable of sticking in the majors by age 23-24 (or, if college drafted, age 25).

  16. #36
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    What do we think of Jorge Polanco? Similar age as Kepler (actually ~5 months younger), better recent health and arguably stats in Low-A.

    It would be interesting to see if any notable MLB players ever went unprotected but were not claimed...

  17. #37
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    I think looking at who WAS taken as a comparator for whether Kepler WILL be taken is a bit of a non-sequitur.

    The real question (although much harder to answer) is how many 20 year old, $800,000 bonus babies that were already ranked as one of their teams top-10 prospects were left unprotected? That is pretty much the equivalent of the Twins not protecting Kohl Stewart next year. OK, maybe Torii Hunter is a better example to use after the .248/.330/.348 line he put up in his second full year (albeit in high-A).

    And remember, while his 2013 season in total wasn't overly dominant, teams are looking more at projection, and he was at a line of .261/.343/.459 before he went in the tank the last week of the season. Also, as we discuss so much with AB Walker II, Kepler's walk rate, strikeout rate and W/SO numbers have been very good the last two years (over 10%, under 20%, and ~0.7). Finally, remember that Kepler played this whole season with an injured elbow but, like Oswaldo Arcia in 2011, was still able to play through it. Oswaldo came back with a monstrous 2012 season, so we may not yet have seen Max's best. I think other teams could also take the chance the 'injury' would allow them to put him on the 60-day DL and 'hide' him from the 25-man roster. Remember, it's only a $25,000 gamble and Kepler has done nothing to indicate he wasn't worth his $800,000 signing bonus!

    Is it too early to start crafting jokes for when Kepler establishes himself as the leagues best hitting left fielder (ala Willingham)... you know, about the Beattle's song...

    Bang, Bang Maxwell's Silver Hammer came down upon his (the pitcher's) head,
    Bang, Bang Maxwell's Silver Hammer made sure that he (the Tigers and Justin Verlander) was dead

  18. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by TRex View Post
    I think looking at who WAS taken as a comparator for whether Kepler WILL be taken is a bit of a non-sequitur.

    The real question (although much harder to answer) is how many 20 year old, $800,000 bonus babies that were already ranked as one of their teams top-10 prospects were left unprotected?
    Great point. It would be an awesome study to look at past guys left unprotected and see if there were any notables (high draft picks, big bonuses, future MLB success). I might try this. The tricky part might be finding past 40 man rosters... looks like the Internet Archive has some of those. For example, a quick glance shows November 40-mans for the Twins there back to 2007, but it skips 2009-2010.

    The fact that Kepler is in the Arizona Fall League suggests he is still highly regarded, and might be more "ready" than Low-A would normally indicate.

    Also, his full name is Maximilian.

  19. #39
    Super Moderator MVP ashburyjohn's Avatar
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    In addition to the many points raised about the dilemma of adding Kepler to the 40-man, I would add that it means there is no slack left for a "lost season" in the next three, say a strained hammie costing him 6 weeks in May and then a broken collarbone ruining the final half of his season.

  20. #40
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    You risk losing him now, or you risk losing him when he is out of options.......I'd like to keep him, and worry about the future in 3 years.
    Lighten up Francis....

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