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Baseball prospectus scouting report on Kepler and Rosario

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#1 gunnarthor

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Posted 25 August 2014 - 02:51 PM

BP highlighted both in their recent ten pack.  

 

http://www.baseballp...articleid=24500

 

Rosario entered the season firmly entrenched in a deep Minnesota system and his upward trajectory carried him to the no. 60 spot in our Top 101. I caught him after his promotion to the Eastern League last season and the feel for hitting, along with some legit thunder in his stick, stuck out. There was some swing-and-miss to his game, but the 22-year-old was confidently turning around fastballs with authority and attacking offerings with a fluid stroke that unfolds with some leverage. A 50-game suspension for a banned substance started this year off on the wrong foot and delayed what looked to be merely a brief follow-up in Double-A before a promotion. When I’ve seen Rosario this season, though, it’s been apparent that there is a need for major adjustments to his approach and mindset as a hitter. His strike zone selection has been poor, compounded by his thinking he’s a power guy instead of a gap-to-gap hitter who can muscle up in spots. Neglecting to cover the outer third of the plate has led to a lot of weak roll-overs, popups, and lazy fly balls. The defense is far from a carrying tool, so with his bat’s progression stalling, so have Rosario's major-league prospects. Failure can stimulate, and Rosario certainly has offensive talent. With adjustments, Rosario can quickly get back on track, but it’s going to come down to the recognition and commitment to do so. —Chris Mellen

 

Max Kepler, OF, Twins (High-A Fort Myers)
Kepler looks the part. If you were designing a ballplayer, Kepler could be the mold. At 6-foot-4 and well-built but not oversized, Kepler could sell jeans, as the old story goes. The swing looks as good as the build, starting with a lightly open, traditional left-handed stance, continuing with a slight uppercut and above-average bat speed, and ending with a nice, two-handed finish. Despite looking the part, Kepler simply doesn't square the ball up consistently, and when he does, he doesn't do so with the authority expected from a player his size. He doesn't swing and miss a ton and has a decent eye with a sound approach, but he feels for the ball (especially against left-handed pitching) and does not drive it. Kepler therefore fails to project as a regular. He's already limited to corner outfield positions and first base, which raises the bar even higher, but right now, he's nowhere close to displaying the power necessary to live up to the expectations of his defensive position. The profile is there for more, and he's still just 21, so it's far from a lost cause, but we've yet to see any kind of power production outside of the Appalachian League two years ago and there are few signs this year that he's turning the corner. —Jeff Moore

 

 

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#2 clutterheart

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Posted 25 August 2014 - 03:18 PM

Kepler is on the 40 man so I think the team will continue to be aggressive with him.  Next year is a big year for him.  I would like him to start at AA just to put some pressure on the kid


#3 jokin

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Posted 25 August 2014 - 03:25 PM

 

 

Max Kepler, OF, Twins (High-A Fort Myers)
Kepler looks the part. If you were designing a ballplayer, Kepler could be the mold. At 6-foot-4 and well-built but not oversized, Kepler could sell jeans, as the old story goes. The swing looks as good as the build, starting with a lightly open, traditional left-handed stance, continuing with a slight uppercut and above-average bat speed, and ending with a nice, two-handed finish. Despite looking the part, Kepler simply doesn't square the ball up consistently, and when he does, he doesn't do so with the authority expected from a player his size. , but we've yet to see any kind of power production outside of the Appalachian League two years ago and there are few signs this year that he's turning the corner. —Jeff Moore

 

Except for the major signs in his current corner-turning streak since July 13?  I suspect Moore's review of Kepler has been "in the can" for at least a month.  Want power production in the FSL, a premium pitcher's league?  He's not ever going to match Adam Brett Walker in pure power, but in his last 29 games, 115 PAs, Kepler has an ISO of .175, SLG of .515 and an OPS of .918.  And these numbers have accelerated significantly in 78 PAs in the month of August: ISO .223 SLG .556 OPS .941.

 

The concerns about hitting left-handers is probably justified, and there's still a long way to go for Kepler to have hopes of becoming a solid every-day major leaguer....  but I think he's still got a good shot at being a decent platoon starter as a corner OF or 1B.  He needs to continue to be pushed, this time to AA, where he'll have plenty of protection in a loaded 2015. Rock Cats lineup

Edited by jokin, 25 August 2014 - 03:27 PM.

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#4 Badsmerf

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Posted 26 August 2014 - 06:53 AM

I'm with you jokin. Seems like a scouting report from a while ago. We might have to wait to see an updated report on him. I don't see how someone could say he isn't squaring up with the ball in August. That iso is pretty nice for a 21 yo in the fsl. I look at him more like a Markakis profile. I haven't compared numbers or anything, just seems like a good fit.
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Do or do not. There is no try.

#5 Cris E

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Posted 26 August 2014 - 07:10 AM

I just sent a link to this thread to Jeff Moore. It's unlikely they'd have time or interest in following up with the staff to see what changed (if anything), but I bet they do care about publishing stale notes. The shelf life of a scouting report on a 21 year old has to be pretty short if the kid is learning anything at all.

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#6 nicksaviking

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Posted 26 August 2014 - 07:24 AM

Kepler is on the 40 man so I think the team will continue to be aggressive with him.  Next year is a big year for him.  I would like him to start at AA just to put some pressure on the kid

 

Agreed.History shows that you need to put pressure on Germans early and often before things get out of control.Poland would apprciate the move.

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#7 spycake

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Posted 27 August 2014 - 12:02 PM

Kepler also had a .172 ISO over 29 games from April 25 - June 19.Heck, he had a .187 ISO last season (admittedly shortened by injury).

 

That kind of "peak" ISO just isn't that impressive, for a corner player who is no longer particularly young for his league.

 

I'm pretty sure that's the more likely conclusion here, rather than BP somehow missed Kepler's last month.It's a mildly encouraging performance, to be sure, but not anything to change scouting reports over (yet).

Edited by spycake, 27 August 2014 - 12:04 PM.


#8 jokin

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Posted 27 August 2014 - 04:58 PM

Kepler also had a .172 ISO over 29 games from April 25 - June 19.Heck, he had a .187 ISO last season (admittedly shortened by injury).

 

That kind of "peak" ISO just isn't that impressive, for a corner player who is no longer particularly young for his league.

 

I'm pretty sure that's the more likely conclusion here, rather than BP somehow missed Kepler's last month.It's a mildly encouraging performance, to be sure, but not anything to change scouting reports over (yet).

 

According to BRef, Kepler is actually younger for the FSL than he was for the Midwest League.  And presuming he moves to New Britain next year, he'll go from 1.3 years too young in A last year, to 1.6 years too young for A+ this year, to 3.7 years too young for AA next year.

 

I agree with you though, in the big picture,  Kepler's still a work in progress, and his translation to a better power output can't be truly determined from one year in the FSL, and he's had a career characterized by fits and starts.  And only playing in 61 games last year in Cedar Rapids hasn't helped his progression any, either.  Yet the Twins are still showing faith in him by again sending him to the AFL.  

 

Clearly, staying healthy and continuing to show signs at the plate- like the ones he's shown since July 13- are going to be critical for Kepler in 2015- for the Twins to continue to show their confidence in his prospect status.  Before this recent run, I gave him quite a bit less than a 50-50 shot that he can ever become a contributing major league starter.  As of now, this latest run has been encouraging enough that I think he's now closer to 50-50 at becoming a contributing platoon starter, who in that role can potentially give you low-double digit HR and an OPS+ in the 120s.  Hopefully, something clicks this fall and next spring and he raises the odds of reaching his full potential 


#9 diehardtwinsfan

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Posted 27 August 2014 - 05:37 PM

The run is encouraging, that's for sure... I'd be hopeful that he started in AA if he continues the run and does better than 'holding his own' in the AFL. He's already seen his first option burned, so there's probably a bit more incentive than most to push him along...