Jump to content

Providing independent coverage of the Minnesota Twins.
The same great Twins Daily coverage, now for the Vikings.

The Store


Photo

Pleskoff: Athletic Kepler boasts broad skill set

  • Please log in to reply
40 replies to this topic

#1 Seth Stohs

Seth Stohs

    Owner

  • Administrators
  • 7,450 posts

Posted 30 December 2013 - 06:21 PM

http://minnesota.twi...rticle_66238584

MLB.com's Bernie Pleskoff wrote up a solid scouting report on Max Kepler, admittedly based on what he saw in limited time in the AFL.

#2 Tibs

Tibs

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • 786 posts

Posted 30 December 2013 - 06:57 PM

I wonder how well he can dance.
I couldn't be a player because of bad eyesight, so I decided to be an umpire instead.

#3 Thrylos

Thrylos

    Yes

  • Members
  • 4,286 posts

Posted 30 December 2013 - 07:55 PM

Lot's of batting averages, HRs and RBIs in the piece, but I think that his conclusion is somewhat intriguing:

He projects to become an imposing hitter, one that can have a role as a prime utility player.


Would love to know what he means by "prime utility player", but I suspect that he has Micheal Young in mind more than Jamey Carroll. On the other hand he says multiple times that he will be a bench player either LF or 1B.

Still I think that the Twins should sell high, while his stock is high...
-----
Blogging Twins since 2007 at The Tenth Inning Stretch
http://tenthinningst...h.blogspot.com/
twitter: @thrylos98

#4 cmathewson

cmathewson

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • 2,273 posts

Posted 30 December 2013 - 09:59 PM

Lot's of batting averages, HRs and RBIs in the piece, but I think that his conclusion is somewhat intriguing:



Would love to know what he means by "prime utility player", but I suspect that he has Micheal Young in mind more than Jamey Carroll. On the other hand he says multiple times that he will be a bench player either LF or 1B.

Still I think that the Twins should sell high, while his stock is high...



His stock is not all that high right now because of the injury. I predict his stock will be considerably higher after this year, if he stays healthy. He should bea bit of a late bloomer because of his relative inexperience in the game, sort of like Australian players.
"If you'da been thinkin' you wouldn't 'a thought that.."

#5 B Richard

B Richard

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • 514 posts

Posted 30 December 2013 - 11:23 PM

His stock is not all that high right now because of the injury. I predict his stock will be considerably higher after this year, if he stays healthy. He should bea bit of a late bloomer because of his relative inexperience in the game, sort of like Australian players.


Agreed. We ought to wait until he progresses further on his development curve before either trading him for an inferior return or mis-evaluating his true talent.
[SIZE=2]Bring a song and a smile for the banjo,
Better get while the gettin's good
Catch a ride to the end of the highway
Where the neons turn to wood[/SIZE]

#6 diehardtwinsfan

diehardtwinsfan

    Twins Moderator

  • Twins Mods
  • 4,631 posts

Posted 31 December 2013 - 06:39 AM

His stock is not all that high right now because of the injury. I predict his stock will be considerably higher after this year, if he stays healthy. He should bea bit of a late bloomer because of his relative inexperience in the game, sort of like Australian players.


I'd add to this in that if someone else doesn't pan out, there might suddenly be a need for Kepler should he make those strides forward. H could definitely be a nice trade chip at one point if everything else falls into place.

#7 cmathewson

cmathewson

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • 2,273 posts

Posted 31 December 2013 - 07:49 AM

To be clear, I don't think trading Kepler is a good idea at all. I was just responding to Thrylos' assertion that we should trade him now. Kepler is a special talent. You make room for guys like that when they're ready.
"If you'da been thinkin' you wouldn't 'a thought that.."

#8 Thrylos

Thrylos

    Yes

  • Members
  • 4,286 posts

Posted 31 December 2013 - 07:55 AM

Kepler is a special talent. You make room for guys like that when they're ready.


According to at least that one scout type, Kepler has a utility/bench type ceiling. Plenty of room on a bench. He does not sound that special and his numbers so far are not that special. A single above average pro season in four.
-----
Blogging Twins since 2007 at The Tenth Inning Stretch
http://tenthinningst...h.blogspot.com/
twitter: @thrylos98

#9 cmathewson

cmathewson

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • 2,273 posts

Posted 31 December 2013 - 09:49 AM

I would not base my opinion on Kepler's upside on one scout's evaluation, especially when several other scouts rate his upside much higher. Even then, it seems to me the scout was talking about his versatility, not whether he is a future bench player. He was injured last year. The year before that, he was very good, especially as one of the youngest players at his level. Let's give him a healthy year before we give up on him, shall we?
"If you'da been thinkin' you wouldn't 'a thought that.."

#10 Shane Wahl

Shane Wahl

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • 4,076 posts

Posted 31 December 2013 - 10:44 AM

I have no problem keeping Kepler around 10 on the Twins list of prospects right now. He needs a full season to get going. He wasn't that ridiculous in the AFL. He did better at the plate than players like Schoop and Moran.

#11 Steve Lein

Steve Lein

    Senior Member - MiLB Report Contributor

  • Members
  • 555 posts

Posted 31 December 2013 - 12:31 PM

I've said this many times on this site and elsewhere in reference to Kepler:

He's a guy that hasn't really 'wowed' anybody yet with his stats (except for his 2nd year at Elizabethton power binge) but I can say from watching him in person several times, that those stats don't demonstrate his potential, but his actions and play on the field does.

One example is when I got to watch him play several games with the Beloit Snappers roster that included Eddie Rosario and Miguel Sano at Spring Training the year of his 10HR breakout at E-Town. I have a notebook on all his at-bats I watched in 3 games: 13 PA's, 7-11, 3 2B's (here is one of them on video), 2 BB's, 1K. Every one of his hits were line drives, and had a couple of 'loud' outs. He was the best in-game hitter on that roster while I watched, and it wasn't even close. Not Sano, not Rosario, not even any of the Twins MLB-ers who came over to get some extra at-bats. During those games, he was the best player on that roster no doubt about it, so I was actually very surprised he never played for Beloit that season.

He is definitely the first player I've watched whom my eyes told me was better than his stats or everything else I had read and researched about him. I think he'll be a stud in the future, and will be an elite 1B defender with his athleticism (I would compare his athleticism at 1B to Mauer's at Catcher). Many people seem to not know, that until the year before he signed with the Twins and was playing on national teams, the only position he had ever played was 1B.

I'll probably get mocked for some of those statements, but I'm bullish on him. He is one of my favorite prospects in the Twins organization, likely behind only Sano and Buxton. i think this year will be a big one after having his 2013 ruined by injury.

Edited by Steve Lein, 31 December 2013 - 12:41 PM.

Scouting Report: Power: 30, Hitting: 50, Arm: 60, Defense: 40, Speed: 40. "Line drive swing and shows good contact and on-base abilities. Double's power at his peak. Strong arm from 2B or the OF, stiff hands. Not a fast runner, but above average instincts on the bases. Skinny body doesn't look the part, but can sneak up on you. ACL surgery sapped much of his athleticism." (Probably)


#12 jokin

jokin

    Twins News Team

  • Twins News Team
  • 7,028 posts

Posted 31 December 2013 - 01:23 PM

I have no problem keeping Kepler around 10 on the Twins list of prospects right now. He needs a full season to get going. He wasn't that ridiculous in the AFL. He did better at the plate than players like Schoop and Moran.


So....are you tipping your hand on the long-awaited final installment of your prospect list?:D

#13 jorgenswest

jorgenswest

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • 1,611 posts

Posted 31 December 2013 - 02:36 PM

According to at least that one scout type, Kepler has a utility/bench type ceiling. Plenty of room on a bench. He does not sound that special and his numbers so far are not that special. A single above average pro season in four.


I wonder if there were any players with less experience in the AFL this year. We will learn a lot more as he hits AA in 2014 or 2015.

I did not read this scout's projection as a ceiling. At 20, the floor is flame out in AA and the ceiling is solid every day LF. I look forward to your reports as he hits AA and AAA.

#14 twinsfan34

twinsfan34

    Paul DeVos

  • Members
  • 677 posts

Posted 31 December 2013 - 05:01 PM

I've said this many times on this site and elsewhere in reference to Kepler:

He's a guy that hasn't really 'wowed' anybody yet with his stats (except for his 2nd year at Elizabethton power binge) but I can say from watching him in person several times, that those stats don't demonstrate his potential, but his actions and play on the field does.

One example is when I got to watch him play several games with the Beloit Snappers roster that included Eddie Rosario and Miguel Sano at Spring Training the year of his 10HR breakout at E-Town. I have a notebook on all his at-bats I watched in 3 games: 13 PA's, 7-11, 3 2B's (here is one of them on video), 2 BB's, 1K. Every one of his hits were line drives, and had a couple of 'loud' outs. He was the best in-game hitter on that roster while I watched, and it wasn't even close. Not Sano, not Rosario, not even any of the Twins MLB-ers who came over to get some extra at-bats. During those games, he was the best player on that roster no doubt about it, so I was actually very surprised he never played for Beloit that season.

He is definitely the first player I've watched whom my eyes told me was better than his stats or everything else I had read and researched about him. I think he'll be a stud in the future, and will be an elite 1B defender with his athleticism (I would compare his athleticism at 1B to Mauer's at Catcher). Many people seem to not know, that until the year before he signed with the Twins and was playing on national teams, the only position he had ever played was 1B.

I'll probably get mocked for some of those statements, but I'm bullish on him. He is one of my favorite prospects in the Twins organization, likely behind only Sano and Buxton. i think this year will be a big one after having his 2013 ruined by injury.


This is great. Glad you get to (and go to) see these guys in person. For those who've played baseball, as many who are on Twins Daily likely have, you can tell a lot from those in person encounters if you can get close enough to the players. That's one reason I love minor league baseball. I can usually get within 5-10 seats of the field of most any game for on the cheap, meanwhile MLB games I typically rely on free tickets to get that close instead of popping down $90+ for a ticket.

I've love to see any more stuff you have like this. I was 'positive' on Kepler, but with this, I'm higher.

MLB Network showed a few AFL games (only one of Glendale other than the AFL All-Star Game), he's bigger than websites say "6'4'' 180" and also was nice to see him on 1B. He's very agile.

If my wife would let me, and if I had more vacation, I'd love to venture down to Ft. Myers this Spring to see a number of these guys play in person.

Hoping for a health 2014 for him, so we can talk about when he might come up in 2015 (mid season or Sept).

#15 Halsey Hall

Halsey Hall

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • 771 posts

Posted 31 December 2013 - 06:47 PM

If my wife would let me, and if I had more vacation, I'd love to venture down to Ft. Myers this Spring to see a number of these guys play in person.

Hoping for a health 2014 for him, so we can talk about when he might come up in 2015 (mid season or Sept).


After having watched Max since he got here, in my springs at Ft Myers, I'm really high on him. It might take a couple years, but he could be alot better than projected.

As far as watching in Ft Myers, it looks as though the locker room won't be ready for Minor League spring training and it will be moved to the Sox fields. A final decision will be made this week, but that info was given yesterday. This really p's me off.

#16 DocBauer

DocBauer

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • 588 posts

Posted 31 December 2013 - 09:40 PM

Thank you so much Steve for your personal and very relavent observations. At the end of the day, most of us have box scores and various scouting reports made to us to wet our appetites on the potential of prospects, without real life data to fall back on.

As stated in another thread on Kepler, my father saw him in ST 2012 and was impressed by their short conversation, and told me "he just looks like an athlete when you watch him. Smooth in everything he does."

Also, as previously stated, you can't hide pure athleticism, which Kepler seems to have in abundance. Talent without work means nothing. But there has never been a negative word mentioned as to his ethic or attitude.

While he may not have had a dominating season to hang his hat on to this point, though 2012 at Eliz. may come close, he has shown spurts and quality overall skills. Based on his 2012, had he not had the injury problems early in the year, I think he would have made a believer out of everyone at CR this past season. Now, at his VERY young age and limited experience, would it have been enough to get him promoted to FtMyers at some point is difficult to say.

In every sport, you find talented young athletes who have all the skill set in the world but who played at a lower level of competition, or weren't able to concentrate on a single sport, and need a little time to devote themselves to adjusting and learning and growing. Not comparing their game, but consider Torii Hunter for example.

A little time, coaching, experience, and it starts to click. Kepler is one of my chief picks to click this year for the Twins prospects. Ft Myers wouldn't surprise me, but betting a short sting at CR just to start and then a promotion. This will be his year. AA in 2015, alternating between OF corners and 1B.

#17 Paul

Paul

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • 153 posts

Posted 01 January 2014 - 11:44 AM

From the little I've seen of the kid, I still think he's the surest thing in the system with the exception of Buxton.

#18 Rosterman

Rosterman

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • 987 posts

Posted 01 January 2014 - 12:14 PM

He came over here young, can't speak the language. Started at the "academy" so to speak. Has overall athletic talent. A bigger guy with a certain skill set and some power. The Twins now have four years to put him thru the system, fast or probably slow. A next year. AA with a callup in 2015. A full year of AAA with a callup as needed in 2016. On the bench in 2017. See where he sits against other 1B and OF prospects in 2018.

We are looking at him making an impact at age 24 or 25. Even if he ends up being a bench guy, filling in for injured players and doing some DH/LF/1B, he would be valuable, and a trading chip if he compares to Kubel at the same age.

Th Twins are not going to throw him away. They have invested in him. He will follow slightly behind Buxton in the minors, for sure, but let us see. Start at Cedar Rapids and then back to Ft. Myers where they can keep a good eye on him. New Britain at age 22. That will be his showcase.
Joel Thingvall
www.thingvall.com
rosterman at www.twinscards.com

#19 lightfoot789

lightfoot789

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • 582 posts

Posted 01 January 2014 - 12:15 PM

Kepler is a very solid outfielder and can be a better than average 1st baseman with his athleticism and size. That being said: What do the Twins do as a system with Vargas; Hicks; M. Gonzalez; & Kepler; as potential 1st basemen this year? Who starts in Cedar Rapids (if anyone)? Who starts in Ft. Myer? Who starts in New Britian? Does Harrison end up at 1st base long term? Whoever is penciled in at 1st Base will have another 4-5+ years to unseat Mauer anyway. Will that be considered a wasted prospect (letting them age and mis-used to their fullest)?

#20 Wookiee of the Year

Wookiee of the Year

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • 135 posts

Posted 01 January 2014 - 12:47 PM

I'm pleasantly surprised by the positive reviews of Kepler here. My perception is that to date, he's all pedigree without performance, so I've tended to be a bit lower on him.

Next year stands to be a defining year for him. Now that he's on the 40 Man and the option clock is ticking, he needs to live up to some of the potential people think he has. The positive reviews here reassure me there's a decent chance he'll do that.

#21 Thrylos

Thrylos

    Yes

  • Members
  • 4,286 posts

Posted 01 January 2014 - 01:03 PM

Kepler is a very solid outfielder and can be a better than average 1st baseman with his athleticism and size. That being said: What do the Twins do as a system with Vargas; Hicks; M. Gonzalez; & Kepler; as potential 1st basemen this year? Who starts in Cedar Rapids (if anyone)? Who starts in Ft. Myer? Who starts in New Britian? Does Harrison end up at 1st base long term? Whoever is penciled in at 1st Base will have another 4-5+ years to unseat Mauer anyway. Will that be considered a wasted prospect (letting them age and mis-used to their fullest)?


Here is my take:

AAA: Colabello/Rodriguez
AA: Vargas/Ziegler
A+: DJ Hicks/Gonzalez
A: Kepler/Haar

With Vargas, Hicks and Kepler getting mid season promotions. You can flip Ziegler and Rodriguez but since Colabello started at AA, I suspect Ziegler will do too...

Potentially Harrison moves to 1st base in Fort Myers, with Goodrum moving to third and Polanco to short. We shall see. I don't think that Mike Gonzalez will be a Twin for long... If Colabello is gone, you can move Ziegler and Gonzalez up a spot.

Still too early to tell.
-----
Blogging Twins since 2007 at The Tenth Inning Stretch
http://tenthinningst...h.blogspot.com/
twitter: @thrylos98

#22 lightfoot789

lightfoot789

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • 582 posts

Posted 01 January 2014 - 01:08 PM

Makes sense

#23 diehardtwinsfan

diehardtwinsfan

    Twins Moderator

  • Twins Mods
  • 4,631 posts

Posted 01 January 2014 - 04:53 PM

I think you have to put Kepler in A+ ball.

#24 kab21

kab21

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • 2,393 posts

Posted 01 January 2014 - 07:31 PM

I'm pretty sure that Kepler was fluent in English when the Twins signed him.

I also think he starts in Ft Myers playing OF/DH/1B. He will start almost every day but he will move around since the OF is crowded and Hicks might start there.

#25 Seth Stohs

Seth Stohs

    Owner

  • Administrators
  • 7,450 posts

Posted 02 January 2014 - 12:16 AM

I think Kepler spends a short time in Cedar Rapids, unless they're going to play him in LF. Then again, Buxton will start in New Britain, so the OF in Fort Myers will likely include Walker, maybe Ray again, and Murphy, so Kepler could be in that group too. He's going to play, wherever he is, and there is zero need to rush him.

And yes, Kepler spoke five languages fluently by the time that he signed with the Twins.

#26 cmathewson

cmathewson

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • 2,273 posts

Posted 02 January 2014 - 08:31 AM

Why in the world would they send him back to Cedar Rapids? This is his first option year. He has three. He needs to progress.
"If you'da been thinkin' you wouldn't 'a thought that.."

#27 Steve Lein

Steve Lein

    Senior Member - MiLB Report Contributor

  • Members
  • 555 posts

Posted 02 January 2014 - 11:23 AM

^ Agree. While his performance up to this point may say keep him in Cedar Rapids at least a month or two, i think they need to push him because of the options. As I mentioned prior, I think they mistakenly held him back in E-town for the second year already.

He played in the AFL this year, and while it may just have been to get him at-bats, he did okay for his age and the competition he was facing.

Put him in Fort Myers and rotate him in LF/DH/1B.

Scouting Report: Power: 30, Hitting: 50, Arm: 60, Defense: 40, Speed: 40. "Line drive swing and shows good contact and on-base abilities. Double's power at his peak. Strong arm from 2B or the OF, stiff hands. Not a fast runner, but above average instincts on the bases. Skinny body doesn't look the part, but can sneak up on you. ACL surgery sapped much of his athleticism." (Probably)


#28 TheLeviathan

TheLeviathan

    Twins News Team

  • Twins News Team
  • 5,035 posts

Posted 02 January 2014 - 12:06 PM

I hope my fancrush on him turns out better than the last athletic outfielder I had a similar fancrush on. (Benson....ugh)

#29 cmathewson

cmathewson

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • 2,273 posts

Posted 02 January 2014 - 12:42 PM

I hope my fancrush on him turns out better than the last athletic outfielder I had a similar fancrush on. (Benson....ugh)


You and me both (Hicks)
"If you'da been thinkin' you wouldn't 'a thought that.."

#30 DocBauer

DocBauer

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • 588 posts

Posted 02 January 2014 - 12:45 PM

^ Agree. While his performance up to this point may say keep him in Cedar Rapids at least a month or two, i think they need to push him because of the options. As I mentioned prior, I think they mistakenly held him back in E-town for the second year already.

He played in the AFL this year, and while it may just have been to get him at-bats, he did okay for his age and the competition he was facing.

Put him in Fort Myers and rotate him in LF/DH/1B.


Agreed. I hope his progress and time at CR and exposure in the AFL means he's ready for Ft Myers. My only caveat is that with time missed to start last season, I wonder if he might not be better served to tear up CR for a month or so to get his legs under him and then move up.