Results tagged ‘ Germany ’
Editor’s note: Lost and Found is an offseason series in which one underrated prospect from each of the 30 MLB clubs will be discussed in a short, snappy post. The more obvious choices in Minnesota’s system include upper-echelon prospects Aaron Hicks and Kyle Gibson, who enjoyed bounce-back/healthy campaigns this year, but you have already heard of them. Have you heard of…
Lost: Max Kepler, a raw, speed-oriented outfielder, received an $800,000 bonus (a European record) to leave his native Germany at 16 in 2009, “hid out” in the Gulf Coast League at 17 in ’10 before playing short-season ball in ’11. He is the kind of guy that, scouts say, “looks good in a uniform.”
2011: .262 AVG, 15 XBH — 1 HR, 24 RBI, 23–to–54 K-to-BB ratio, 1 SB in 50 G at Rookie-level Elizabethton
Found: According to reports, Kepler has lost some of his speed but more than made up for it by flashing increased skills with the bat, leading some to believe that he can hit and hit for power. The Justin Morneau comparison has already been made.
2012: .297 AVG, 31 XBH — 10 HR, 49 RBI, 27-to-33 K-to-BB ratio, 7 SB in 59 G at Rookie-level Elizabethton
So Kepler was lost, now he is found. Now, about the Twins’ returns: I’m stretching it a little in saying Kepler was ever “lost.” More accurately, he is under the radar. We live in a world of baseball where guys like Bryce Harper and Jurickson Profar can get to the Majors before their 20th birthdays and Kepler, while he has a high ceiling too, is more of an old-school 19-year-old in that he probably has three to four more years of developing to do. He doesn’t have a defensive position yet (CF? LF? 1B?), and he is still learning how to play American baseball. As it stands, he is his organization’s 18th-ranked prospect. Time (in full-season ball) will tell whether he keeps moving up that list.