With the very slow progress Max Kepler is making and the outfield depth would it be wise to consider a position change back to being a catcher? I thought when the Twins signed him he was a catcher originally but the Twins moved him to the OF. Not really sure how he is the 8th best prospect in the organization.
He has played a lot of first base of late. At this point, he's the heir apparent to Joe Mauer.
He IS left handed. We haven't had a major league LH catcher since I've been alive and I'm old. I don't think Kepler was ever a catcher.
In talking with Jake Mauer, Kepler can still play OF. He said, he may eat himself to 1B, but he's a solid outfielder. He compared him to Chris Parmelee, but he said he'll hit more than Parmelee. He's a very good athlete. Very good power. Good speed. I know he talked about wanting to be like Josh Hamilton, and he has that same build and tools.
He hasnt been been moved too slowly at all. He was signed with Polanco and they ended the season at the same place... kepler was just hurt for a half season. Having seen Kepler, i believe he has a chance!
There are two things you can never hide and never bet against.
One is pure athletic talent.
The other is work ethic.
There are those at TD who devote themselves to first hand witnessing as well as great connections within the Twins system for first and second hand knowledge that the rest of us can only learn from and gravitate toward. Athletically, the young man is terribly gifted from everything we have seen and heard, power, speed, and about anything else you need to be successful. I find the Mauer quote humerous about eating himself out of the outfield. I don't see this as a negative comment at all! Simply a comment how this young man is simply growing and developing. Think how big and athletic he was when the Twins signed him at the time. Physically, he's still growing and maturing.
There has never been a negative word spoken as to his work ethic, quite the contrary! My father watched and met the young man ST 2012 and found him talented to watch and humble to talk to.
While l do believe pure physical development might move him out of CF, (not a crime) I have no doubt he'd make a heck of a corner OF in the next couple of years. (Possibly with the ability to still fill in at CF on occasion) I also believe he might just make one heck of a 1B! Athletic and mobile defensively, and a good and patient hitter with good power with SB potential. I see him as a Darin Erstad with more power. And being a Husker, I've watched Erstad's full career.
A move to 1B, at least primarily, is no crime. Outstanding athletic ability in the field as well as at the plate is nothing to take for granted. This is a young man who has the ability to rake a bit, get on base, steal some bases, show some real power, make things happen, and help in the field.
One of the things that impressed me the most about him this past season was his work in the AFL. Cursory glances will see nothing. Harder looks will see a young player, coming off a shorthand injury plagued season as standing tall and holding his own.
He is one of my picks, healthy, to really take a step forward this year.
Kepler is the type of player that should be getting ink in this forum not never-will-bes such as Parmelee, Pflouffe and others of that ilk. He has promise, the other two amongst others do not.
Max is looking in great shape physically. He's working out down here, and I watched him hit off Tommy Watkins last week. Hopefully he'll stay healthy this season and have a good year.
It was definitely not meant at all in a negative way. He's in tremendous shape, but at 6-4, he's got room to grow. Josh Hamilton was a CF, but as he matured and grew, it was clear he was more of a LF. No questioning Kepler's power potential. He hits the ball hard!
Originally Posted by DocBauer
Comparing an OF to Parmelee is pretty damning. Especially a young outfielder.
Originally Posted by Seth Stohs
I am not as high on Kepler as most people are. He had one out of 4 above average professional seasons (2012 in Etown.) His 2013 numbers in Cedar Rapids (as a 20 year old) were .237/.312/.424. Compare those to 20 year old Trevor Harrison (another 1B long term candidate) who is in the same age in the same team last season (.253/.366/.416) or 21 year old Adam Walker in the same team last season ( .278/.319/.526) or a then 21 year old (a year older) Kennys Vargas in the same league in 2012 (.318/.419/.610). And I should not mention Brian Buxton (who is younger)
In my opinion it is pretty clear that there is better talent around his age group than Kepler at this point both at OF and at 1B. I think that the Twins should be smart and sell high as long as he is still ranked up there in prospects lists...
I'm on the group that hopes/thinks Kepler can contribute to the Twins. He might be 23 before that happens. He went into this season with an injury to his elbow I believe. Maybe his wrist, I can't recall. Either way, hard to get in the flow of things as a hitter when those are hurting - look at Albert Pujols the past 2 years.
That said, all of that, he still was on pace for 20 HR if he had played the full season at class A - Cedar Rapids. Not too shabby for a 20 year old. Adam Brett Walker hit 27 HR (as a 21 yr old) to lead the Midwest Lg. Also, with the injury, he still had a 9.1% BB% and a 16.3% K%.
Reports say he played pretty decent 1B, as others mentioned, showed agility at the bag.
He's on the 40 man...so he's got 2 years, before we've had to use ML options?
Maybe we should keep in mind that he has likely played much less ball in his lifetime than all the aforementioned players. Considering he started out the season hurt, I have no issues with his numbers.
Originally Posted by Thrylos
The thing we have to keep in mind with Kepler is he is young for his level. You can't compare him to some of the college kids who played in Cedar Rapids last year. He's at least two years younger than most of those guys, and those are probably the two most crucial years in the physical development of a player. I look for his power numbers to surge as he fills out. That's why I rank him higher than, say, Adam Walker.
Kind of responding to 3-4 of the messages about.
1.) the mauer quote was really about his offense.
2.) I agree that being from Germany has to be a factor in a.) being more patient, and b.) seeing what he's done, it's encouraging.
3.) It was his elbow that was hurt and cost him half of the season.
4.) Watching him play and take BP, he has a TON of natural power in that swing and will continue to gain strength.
That's not very fair to those guys. They were first round picks that are cutting their teeth in the MLB right now. They might not make it, but that doesn't mean they don't deserve to be talked about. Besides, they are on the 25-man and are only talked about in that forum. This is the MiLB forum, so we talk about Kepler. So there's that.
Originally Posted by oldguy10
I like Kepler too. Its too bad he missed a good chunk of an important development year. I think he'll still start at Ft. Meyers and start slow but end the year strong. I do think he'll move to 1B too, more to accommodate a crowed OF with the Twins (Arcia, Buxton, Hicks). I don't think the Twins would be as open about his talent if they didn't believe in him. On the positional player development, they have been pretty decent. When a guy has talent, the Twins usually do a pretty good job.
That the Twins threw him into the AFL, shows what they think of him. Yes they wanted to give him more at bats, but they probably knew he had maturity, if not the skill level, to compete with the AFL talent.
Kepler in E-town, age 19
269 PA, .297/.387/.539
Walker in E-town, age 20
252 PA, .250/.310/.496
Harrison in E-town, age 19
253 PA, .301/.383/.461
Vargas in E-town, age 20
191 PA, .322/.377/.489
Who is clearly the better player? I would argue Kepler. He was hurt last year, so to compare his A stats is not fair.
There are no statistics that measure the effects of injuries on a player's performance. The fact that the Twins thrust him in the AFL, where he was far from overwhelmed, might indicate that the field staff sees great potential for this kid. I'm very leery of any conclusions drawn from the stats about the comparative potential of Harrison, Walker, Vargas, and Kepler, but my bet is on Kepler based on what's been reported.
I'm still a huge fan of Kepler. I'm far from any kind of scout, but even I can see he has a beautiful swing. I really hope he stays healthy this upcoming season.
Judging any player coming off a difficult injury should always take that injury into heavy consideration. It can have a major effect.
Let's hope he's healthy and has a lot of opportunity this year to show all that promise that we so recently held for him.
I don't think anyone is down on him. He has talent. Results really haven't been there yet. Hopefully he stays healthy and gives doubters a reason to believe in him.