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Max Kepler’s Value


jorgenswest
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On 11/25/2022 at 8:32 AM, Doctor Gast said:

Earlier  I texted that a Kepler/ German Marquez (CO) would be a great trade. Marquez had a down year and many (CO) fans are down on him. Marquez has been an all-star pitcher but I think Marquez is tired of pitching in hitter friendly Coors Field. Morneau & Cuddyer rejuvinated their career in CO and with this shift ban I can see Kepler could really turn it around in Coor's. I can also see Marquez really turn it around getting away from Coors and come to our pitching facilities. A win all a way around.

Another point of interest- we could also include Dobnak in the trade. I always thought Dobnak type of pitching would bode well in Coors and exchange we could receive Grichuck (a RH hitting corner OF). This might be a tougher sell. But it might be worth it, for both.

A cheap trade that'll checks a couple of important boxes & could pay very high dividends.

This would probably be the first trade of one German for another German. 

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On 11/22/2022 at 3:29 PM, jorgenswest said:

Thanks for the addition.

There might not be a match for a major leaguer here but they have a near ready catcher in Korey Lee and SS in Pedro Leon. Both are near Kepler’s BTV. Leon is probably more like Martin and Lewis where his glove fits better in CF.

Korey Lee it is...and I've never even heard of him.

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4 hours ago, nicksaviking said:

If all you care about is the defense, you could swap Kepler for Billy Hamilton and save $8M.

I mean, no one wants that, but no player is worth 8M just for their defense.

Tell the Twins Front Office.

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On 11/27/2022 at 3:29 PM, RpR said:

Kepler is worth 3 Wallners, he is a very poor fielder and his batting average was dropping fast; he belongs in AAA but really AA. or he will become another Sano.

From Jason Merkle on SBNation, a Tigers community comes this scouting report of Wallner just before he was drafted. 

1240773164_ScreenShot2022-11-28at5_36_42PM.png.228d135dff4732d1a500914d873eba24.png

The field rating of 50 and the throwing arm of 65 would seem to be in direct opposition to your description of his defense as "very poor fielder".

Jose Miranda struggled early too and look what happened. I would acquire a right fielder other than Kepler and let things shake out. I don’t think Kepler is worth even 1 Wallner. Kepler is a poor hitter, 3 years running, terrible last year.

And as I watched Wallner play, I saw nothing to think he wasn’t at least a competent or better, potentially, right fielder.

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Keeping Kepler is valuable if kept for his defense and a hopeful offensive turnaround. Healthy, he's just not as bad as he was in 2022. But I believe in the "freezer burn" idea where he's just done with the Twins. It's time to trust in Larnach and Kirlloff and Wallner, while adding a RH OF, and see what happens. 

I have no idea what team is a good trade option, I just think it's time to move him. If the Twins were hurting in the OF, and needed to add defense and a LH bat, Kepler would be interesting. So some team should be looking for this some kind of add. A solid AA or A+ would be fine. 

A FA RH OF bat is IMPORTANT, barring a trade acquisition. But it's just time to trust in your young OF, add a RH bat, and live with lesser defense vs better offense and ADD to SS, SP, RP, etc. You have to allow prospects to play at some point. And you have to deal with that and add to other spots in the lineup and rotation and pen and wherever. Kepler is a favorite of mine, but it's time to move him, add and trust in youth, and use his $8+M for something else.

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4 hours ago, Greglw3 said:

From Jason Merkle on SBNation, a Tigers community comes this scouting report of Wallner just before he was drafted. 

1240773164_ScreenShot2022-11-28at5_36_42PM.png.228d135dff4732d1a500914d873eba24.png

The field rating of 50 and the throwing arm of 65 would seem to be in direct opposition to your description of his defense as "very poor fielder".

Jose Miranda struggled early too and look what happened. I would acquire a right fielder other than Kepler and let things shake out. I don’t think Kepler is worth even 1 Wallner. Kepler is a poor hitter, 3 years running, terrible last year.

And as I watched Wallner play, I saw nothing to think he wasn’t at least a competent or better, potentially, right fielder.

Wishful thinking does not over ride reality.

Standard Fielding --Wallner ( Miranda's fielding is also a liability)

Year Age Tm Pos Lg G GS CG Inn Ch PO A E DP Fld% Rtot Rdrs Rtot/yr Rdrs/yr RF/9 RF/G lgFld% lgRF9 lgRFG Awards
1 Season OF   16 16 14 138.2 31 29 0 2 0 .935 -1 -4 -4 -34 1.88 1.81 .989 2.23 2.20  
1 Season RF   16 16 14 138.2 31 29 0 2 0 .935 -1 -4 -4 -34 1.88 1.81 .988 2.19 2.16  
1 Season DH   1 1                                    
1 Season TOT   16 16 14 138.2 31 29 0 2 0 .935 -1 -4 -4 -34 1.88 1.81 .989 2.23 2.20  
2022 24 MIN OF AL 16 16 14 138.2 31 29 0 2 0 .935 -1 -4 -4 -34 1.88 1.81 .989 2.23 2.20  
2022 24 MIN RF AL 16 16 14 138.2 31 29 0 2 0 .935 -1 -4 -4 -35 1.88 1.81 .988 2.19 2.16  
2022 24 MIN DH AL 1 1                                    
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On 11/22/2022 at 2:29 PM, jorgenswest said:

Thanks for the addition.

There might not be a match for a major leaguer here but they have a near ready catcher in Korey Lee and SS in Pedro Leon. Both are near Kepler’s BTV. Leon is probably more like Martin and Lewis where his glove fits better in CF.

Catcher Korey Lee sound like a option. Don't think we getting #7 in Astros prospects for Kepler.

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On 11/25/2022 at 7:32 AM, Doctor Gast said:

Earlier  I texted that a Kepler/ German Marquez (CO) would be a great trade. Marquez had a down year and many (CO) fans are down on him. Marquez has been an all-star pitcher but I think Marquez is tired of pitching in hitter friendly Coors Field. Morneau & Cuddyer rejuvinated their career in CO and with this shift ban I can see Kepler could really turn it around in Coor's. I can also see Marquez really turn it around getting away from Coors and come to our pitching facilities. A win all a way around.

Another point of interest- we could also include Dobnak in the trade. I always thought Dobnak type of pitching would bode well in Coors and exchange we could receive Grichuck (a RH hitting corner OF). This might be a tougher sell. But it might be worth it, for both.

A cheap trade that'll checks a couple of important boxes & could pay very high dividends.

Kepler/ German Marquez trade and include Dobnak to balance 8.5 vs 11 million.

Marquez has large splits, away number in 2nd half way better than at Coord Field.

But who do you bump from rotation for Marquez?

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6 hours ago, MoyBoy74 said:

Kepler/ German Marquez trade and include Dobnak to balance 8.5 vs 11 million.

Marquez has large splits, away number in 2nd half way better than at Coord Field.

But who do you bump from rotation for Marquez?

Maeda has been absent for a long time, I would incorporate him slowly into the rotation. Ober hasn't had much experience of pitching a lot of innings so I'd also take him slowly. I'd throw in Varland, Winder and SWR into the group of long relief/ spot start. Marquez could be our top pitcher.

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On 11/22/2022 at 6:09 PM, Riverbrian said:

He's not really league average with the bat. He's below league average and if you say close, you'll also need to factor in his position. 

SS, CF and C will drag that league average closer to where Max lives. 

Using 100 AB's as a qualifier. He is ranked 37th OPS amongst RF. 

If Kepler was a SS he would rank 24th. 

If he was a CF he would rank 23rd. 

If he was a C he would rank 26th. 

Below league average in RF is offensively painful and if you choose a defensive specialist at that position. You better have a bat at a defensive position to make up the difference. We currently don't have that guy on the roster. 

Bottom Line... I don't see a trade match. Let's be honest... if this was an ARB case... He would probably be non-tendered. The Contract is going to pay him 8M... so the Twins might as well keep him and see if the shift rules help him. 

But... whatever you do... Do not pencil him at RF and say covered. Bring in a big bat to play in a corner. 

Not looking at last year, looking at this year.  I think the shift rule changes will help him.  If the Twins believe that as well, those numbers for a league avg offense are not bad.  Teams also value the known vs. the unknown, which helps his cause.

That being said, I would have no problem if the Twins looked to upgrade and recruit over him.

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1 hour ago, Fire Dan Gladden said:

Not looking at last year, looking at this year.  I think the shift rule changes will help him.  If the Twins believe that as well, those numbers for a league avg offense are not bad.  Teams also value the known vs. the unknown, which helps his cause.

That being said, I would have no problem if the Twins looked to upgrade and recruit over him.

Projection is what those big boys do in those offices. That ability separates the men from the boys. Kepler has been handed a job two years in a row and I believe missed those projections so a third year in a row has me concerned.   

I'm OK waiting to see how the shift rule changes benefit Max so I'm ok with a roster spot. 

However... If the new rules do indeed benefit him... I'd also have to imagine that he wouldn't be the only player who benefits from them... which means the bar gets raised. 

If I'm the GM... Kep gets a roster spot but he competes for playing time with Gordon, Larnach, Kirilloff, Wallner, Garlick.

If he can't out perform the guys he is competing with for playing time. He gets the Tyler Duffey treatment and is released before the deadline. 

I like Gordon, Larnach, Kirilloff, Wallner as potential but not comfortable with any of those names for firm this is our guy declarations. I don't really want two outfield positions with two large question marks (3 question marks if you consider Buxton's Historical Health).

So I really really really really really want a big OF offensive Top of the Order Bat. It's the top priority on my list. 

Big year for Kepler in my eyes. He sinks or swims this year.  

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13 hours ago, Steve71 said:

Wallner may be good or bad, but a 16-game sample is not anything to rely upon IMO.

My eyeball test is that he took some bad routes to balls but has a very strong arm.  He certainly needs some work there.

I said in other posts, he has potential, if he makes a concerted effort, to improve to be another Judge; without that effort to improve, he should never leave the MInor Leagues.

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32 minutes ago, Riverbrian said:

Projection is what those big boys do in those offices. That ability separates the men from the boys. Kepler has been handed a job two years in a row and I believe missed those projections so a third year in a row has me concerned.   

I'm OK waiting to see how the shift rule changes benefit Max so I'm ok with a roster spot. 

However... If the new rules do indeed benefit him... I'd also have to imagine that he wouldn't be the only player who benefits from them... which means the bar gets raised. 

If I'm the GM... Kep gets a roster spot but he competes for playing time with Gordon, Larnach, Kirilloff, Wallner, Garlick.

If he can't out perform the guys he is competing with for playing time. He gets the Tyler Duffey treatment and is released before the deadline. 

I like Gordon, Larnach, Kirilloff, Wallner as potential but not comfortable with any of those names for firm this is our guy declarations. I don't really want two outfield positions with two large question marks (3 question marks if you consider Buxton's Historical Health).

So I really really really really really want a big OF offensive Top of the Order Bat. It's the top priority on my list. 

Big year for Kepler in my eyes. He sinks or swims this year.  

I agree this is a big year for him.  Walk year...

The big argument FOR Kepler at this point is the shift change.  The data out there says Kepler has lost the 2nd most hits in the majors due to shift over the last few years (I have posted it elsewhere), something to the tune of a 50 point drop in his BA.  It was the difference between .220 and .270.  A Kepler with a .270 BA is probably in the discussion for an extension.  That is the reason for optimism and probably a roll of the dice for $8M.  I am also not as high as others on any of the OF names you mentioned, including Gordon.

In an ideal world, Kepler is your 4th OF acting as insurance for Buxton and still playing 100 games per year.  But the reality is that outside of Nimmo, there are no surefire OF FA that would be a huge upgrade over Kepler.

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17 hours ago, Fire Dan Gladden said:

But the reality is that outside of Nimmo, there are no surefire OF FA that would be a huge upgrade over Kepler.

I'll take any degree of upgrade. ?

Even if I agree with you Kepler.

OK, Buxton and Kepler Check... Check. 

We still have Buxton's health and the remaining collection of Larnach, Kirilloff, Gordon, Garlick and Wallner. 

I'm still in that Really Really Really need some OF pop boat. ?

 

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On 11/27/2022 at 7:31 PM, jorgenswest said:

On Fangraphs Kepler is projected for a wRC+ of 110.

It also projects his dWAR to be negative. He’s been a mid-to-high 90s wRC+ hitter his whole career. The shift ban helps all hitters, not just Kepler, so I would not assume his wRC+ would increase much because everyone else should hit a bit better too, at least lefties.

21192D99-E36B-4226-B49E-59D597FF73CD.jpeg.f3dbb0ac184c9a0de3eaf283b39219b8.jpeg

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3 hours ago, Richie the Rally Goat said:

It also projects his dWAR to be negative. He’s been a mid-to-high 90s wRC+ hitter his whole career. The shift ban helps all hitters, not just Kepler, so I would not assume his wRC+ would increase much because everyone else should hit a bit better too, at least lefties.

21192D99-E36B-4226-B49E-59D597FF73CD.jpeg.f3dbb0ac184c9a0de3eaf283b39219b8.jpeg

I agree about benefitting everyone to differing degrees. I do wonder if they are trying to account for the shift rule at all in their projections. I am guessing Steamer is building on the same model as previous seasons. This may be a projection that is not using the rule change in their model.

Honestly I don’t think he will be 109 but I think he will be closer to 109 than 95.

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