Friday

Royals make it a baker's dozen...RC reports on Bobby Keppel

RC was wrong...It CAN get worse, and it has. The Royals today jumped out to a 6-0 lead in the first inning against the Tigers, which included back-to-back-to-back home runs by Tony Graffanino, Angel Berroa, and Doug Mientkiewicz, but they still managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. The Royals actually led pretty comfortably through the first seven innings, and they entered the eighth with an 8-5 lead, but the bullpen imploded again, allowing eight unanswered runs over the final two frames to lose 13-8.


German hit his first Major League HR today!

Today was a day of firsts for the Royals. This was the first time in history that the Royals have been swept by the Tigers in a four game series. In addition, Mientkiewicz, who has spent much of his time occupying the third spot in the Royals' batting order, finally hit his first home run of the season. So did Esteban German, whose fourth inning dinger was his first career home run. To RC's disappointment, he didn't perform the "Esteban Flip" after his blast, but we did notice it in an earlier at bat after a line drive single. On the day, German went 3-for-5 with two runs scored and an RBI while raising his team-leading BA to .394. In fact, German remains as one of the true bright spots on the team, and his line of .394/.476/.465 through 71 at bats is truly remarkable. Hopefully he'll start to get regular playing time.

  • Of course, there was another "first" today. Bobby Keppel was promoted from Omaha prior to the game, and Denny Bautista's short, lackluster outing prompted Buddy Bell to summon Keppel to make his Major League debut in his first game in Kansas City. Keppel was excellent today in his debut performance, going 3.1 IP while striking out four and allowing two hits and a walk. He surrendered one run, which was charged to him after Ambiorix Burgos surrendered three hits and two runs in two-thirds of an inning after entering the game with one on and nobody out in the eighth.


    Bobby Keppel made his Major League debut today.

    Many people are asking, "Who is Bobby Keppel, and where did we find this guy?" RC has some information about him, thanks to some well-placed sources, so we're here to give you the scoop.

    Keppel was drafted as the 36th overall pick in the supplemental first round by the Mets in 2000. The Royals wanted him at #44, and were negotiating with him, but the Mets got him first. He's a sinker-slider pitcher with solid control, and low-90s fastball, and good movement, and he's still only 23-years-old (he'll turn 24 next month).

    Keppel was a star in the minors for the first few years of his professional career, rising all the way to #7 on the Mets' Baseball America prospect list in 2004. He tossed a no-hitter for Binghamton (AA) in 2003, and the word is that he is very successful at "outthinking" hitters, relying on an advanced knowledge the game. He's also an incredible athlete, as he fields his position very well, and he actually had an opportunity to play Division I basketball at Notre Dame after graduating from DeSmet High School in St. Louis.

    However, Keppel's nemesis throughout his minor league career has been injury, which has plagued him nearly every season. Last year, Keppel decided to stop pitching through his shoulder tendinitis, and he consulted Dr. Jobe in Los Angeles, who found fraying but no tear. Jobe cleaned up the shoulder and issued a good prognosis, but the Mets released him from their 40-man roster with the assumption that nobody would claim him.

    Keppel cleared waivers, but he eventually became a free agent, and he reportedly received much interest. However, the Royals -- in particular Royals' Director of Baseball Operations, Jin Wong -- were the most aggressive in pursuing him, and Allard Baird sealed the deal by calling him directly, which is quite a compliment for a minor league free agent. Keppel signed a contract that stipulated that he would be placed on the ML roster by June 2006 or become a free agent.


    Not only did Jin Wong find Keppel, it also looks like he has a little "Captain" in him!

    Keppel's numbers at Omaha this season before his promotion weren't great, as he logged a 3-4 record with a 5.00 ERA in 54 IP. He allowed 59 hits while walking 11 and striking out 27. However, his spring training outings were pretty much limited to one-inning stints, so his stamina wasn't quite up to speed at the beginning of the season, and much of the damage he allowed came in the later innings of his starts. He could be a quality middle reliever for the Royals, and it will be interesting to see how he adjusts in the coming weeks. He's certainly off to a good start, and RC hopes he continues to pitch well.


  • Unfortunately, RC hasn't exactly been very diligent with our Draft Prospect Updates of late, but we assure you that we'll be back up to speed very soon. Our next prospect update will narrow our list of candidates to five, since it's pretty clear that the Royals have focused their attention on a few players.


    Andrew Miller is still our projection for the #1 pick.

    There's really no point in continuing to track the progress of players like Matt Antonelli, Wes Hodges, and Joba Chamberlain, so we'll focus only on the players who have a legitimate chance to be selected. North Carolina's Andrew Miller still leads the pack, but you might be surprised about what we have to say. Stay tuned!
  • 18 Comments:

    At 5/26/2006 12:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Does anyone have any idea why Nunez was called up for a game and then sent back down? His line wasn't that bad was it? Why do that to the kid?

     
    At 5/26/2006 5:43 PM, Blogger Kevin said...

    I don't think it's any big deal, because Nunez had to have known he was only going to be with the club for a day. This won't affect him.

     
    At 5/26/2006 5:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

    I don't think it will affect him, but why didn't they just call up this other guy a day earlier? Just trying to understand the organization a little more...

     
    At 5/26/2006 6:03 PM, Blogger Kevin said...

    There was probably some reason why Keppel couldn't be in Kansas City a day earlier. Dave, can you elaborate on this?

     
    At 5/26/2006 6:05 PM, Blogger Dave said...

    I think there were two reasons. The first is because Adam Bernero was actually supposed to come up to make the start on the 24th, but he got sick with the flu. Keppel, meanwhile, threw seven innings on the 20th, so the Royals probably didn't want him to start on just three days' rest.

    Essentially, the Royals needed a pitcher for a day to take Gobble's spot in the bullpen, and Nunez was that guy because he was already on the 40-man roster.

     
    At 5/26/2006 6:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Thanks for the clarification guys...

    If only Bell could explain the lack of playing time for German and Buck so well...

     
    At 5/26/2006 6:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

    I liked your analysis on Keppel. It was definitely a promising beginning for him yesterday, and I had no idea about his interesting past.

    I'm beginning to wonder if Andrew Miller is the best pick. I wish I had game footage to make a better decision, but Lincenum's K's are absolutely amazing, although I did notice he has quite a few more walks charged to him.

    Should be interesting,

    Jeff
    jneedham@ku.edu

     
    At 5/26/2006 10:36 PM, Blogger Flenker said...

    After doing my rain dance tonight, I saw a couple of clips of tonight's game, and saw a blooper to center that it looked like Costa could've (should've?) had. This is not the first time that I've seen him misjudge or just flat out miss a ball, there have been times when he's gone into a slide to catch and missed. Now I'm not able to watch that many games on a day-to-day basis, so it could just be that I'm seeing the bad stuff, but is he just learning on the job, or is he a liability out there? I'm a fan of his, and would like to see him succeed, so I hope I'm over-reacting to this.

     
    At 5/27/2006 12:14 AM, Blogger Dave said...

    Costa's had some good moments out there, such as his two stellar catches in his first game off the DL, but overall, he doesn't look very comfortable at all out there in center.

    He should have had that blooper you're referring to, and he also barely made a routine play on a liner to center that turned him around several times -- it was pretty ugly. He also could have caught Giambi's two-run double, but he whiffed on his jump.

    I think I'd definitely right now prefer to see Guiel in center, Costa in left, and Brown as the primary DH.

     
    At 5/27/2006 12:16 AM, Blogger Dave said...

    One other thing...How about that two-hour rain delay? Does any other team in baseball get that much time to finish an official game?

     
    At 5/27/2006 4:24 AM, Blogger Kevin said...

    The Royals sure didn't get that much time when they were up on Oakland earlier this month. It's pathetic.

    Let's get Dayton Moore onboard!

     
    At 5/27/2006 12:36 PM, Anonymous Brian S. said...

    I think Bob Dutton's article in the KC Star this morning tells us all we need to know about the Glass' mettling in player personell decicions. I truly believe that history will show that Allard had his hands tied one a couple deals that would have greatly improved the Royals youth movement and stocked our system with real prospects. Allard will go on to make another organization an excellent GM some day.

    Let me go on the record right now and say if Glass hires either Ed Wade or Randy Smith as GM over Dayton Moore, it'll prove he is simply looking for a puppet and I will officially denounce my loyalty to the Royals as long as David Glass owns the team. I'll still root for them and I'll still go to games and they'll still be my favorite team, but I WILL NOT blindly maintain ANY optimism that they will ever become the class orgainization they once were!

     
    At 5/27/2006 7:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Yeah, I really hope we don't go with Randy Smith. Then again, we did take Bell who was a loser with the Tigers too.

     
    At 5/27/2006 9:14 PM, Blogger Kevin said...

    In what may be Allard's last trade, the Royals picked up Seth Etherton from the Padres for a player to be named or cash. I'm very interested in seeing what Etherton can do in the rotation.

     
    At 5/27/2006 10:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

    I'm hoping the player to be named is actually a manager...Bell,

     
    At 5/29/2006 12:14 AM, Blogger KowboyKoop said...

    Hopefully we'll never see Fat Fatterson in a Royals uniform again...

     
    At 5/31/2006 1:15 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

    I laughed pretty hard at the Jin Wong picture and all the text about him.

    That guy is a bonafide clown. Read his bio... he worked in Group Sales for a AAA team, then an internship in ATL, and then was offered his current job in KC!

    As far as anyone can tell, his main job was to sit down behind the plate every game, charting where players hit the ball. Never looked like he really wanted to be there, would frequently leave early, and acted like he was some big shot -- which of course, he isn't.

    Then, you see him running around at bars on the Plaza quite a bit with this same big ugly blonde.

    Why a guy like that can be so high up in the organization... it just speaks as another example to how horribly Allard Baird has done with hiring people to run crucially important jobs in the organization. He can't seem to find any instructors who don't almost immediately (when they get to the big leagues or are close) blow up prospects who have great track records.

    Think about it... Jin Wong and Shaun McGinn are the two main executives in the Baseball Operations and Farm System departments? That is truly unbelievable.

     
    At 5/31/2006 2:44 AM, Blogger Dave said...

    Now now...we don't need any of that. If you want to point to something specific that you know for a fact that Wong's done wrong, then have at it. But it's pretty lame to anonymously make generalizations about him and his background.

    And as for his background, I'm not terribly concerned about where a guy starts out if he shows ability. The guy worked his way up through the Baseball Operations department very quickly, so I have to assume that someone was pretty happy with the work he did prior to his promotion to his current level.

    I could be wrong (I didn't get a chance to speak with him on the day I took that photo), but I'd prefer to hear some actual evidence of his supposed "clowniness" beyond learning about his conquests at the Plaza with a blonde, who I have to assume is his wife.

     

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