Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Prospect #11 Max Kepler

Center Field
Signed as International Free Agent from Germany (2009)
Levels Played in 2009: Not Available
Opening Day Age: 17

With the new revenues generated from Target Field, the Twins not only have been able to spend more money of major league roster but they also have been able to be a major player in the international markets. Max Kepler is a prime example of this. Still only 17, Kepler has future star written all over him. He was given the highest signing bonus ever ($800,000) for a player acquired out of Europe.

Kepler is a super athlete. His parents were both ballet dancers, which gives him his grace when manning the outfield. When Kepler signed with the Twins his parents quickly moved from Germany to Fort Myers, Florida and enrolled him in a local high school as a junior. The feeling was the development process was going to be slow considering that high school hours run into playing professional baseball. That quickly changed when it was discovered that Kepler received his GED in the off season.

Kepler is a physical specimen and a work out machine. When he signed is was a 6 foot 3 and a lean 175 pounds. Now, entering camp he is now over 200 pounds. Kepler is a 5 tool shed. He already has line drive power, incredible speed, and shows great athleticism when playing defense. Although not playing a professional game yet, it is possible that Kepler might develop into a better prospect down the road then Aaron Hicks.

Kepler is going to begin 2010 season in extended spring training and will head the the Gulf Coast League with what could be a potentially loaded lineup as he will be joining fellow 2009 signees Miguel Sano, Jorge Polanco as well as Dominican League standout Wander Guillen. Kepler's development will be closely watched as he could be ready for full season ball sooner rather then later posing the question if he might make his major league debut before his 21st birthday.

ETA: 2014-2015
Projection: All star caliber CF with 30/30 potential. Will definitely be a fan favorite.
MLB Comparison: I read a comparison by Phil Rogers that said Mickey Mantle. I could not help but smile but its a little drastic. However, I will say he definitely fits the mold of a Matt Kemp.

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