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I'm going to propose a Houser for Kepler swap.

 

Kepler has pretty much become a platoon bat at this point but he and Taylor could form a pretty solid RF platoon I think. Kepler is under contract for two more seasons at a reasonable $7 mil, with a 2024 option year I believe. Houser also with 3 more years of control. The Twins appear to have some corner OF depth available and a need for some sort of starting pitching. I think Kepler also came up as a 1B, so maybe there's also some available versatility, though I don't think he's played there in quite a few years.

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I'm going to propose a Houser for Kepler swap.

 

Kepler has pretty much become a platoon bat at this point but he and Taylor could form a pretty solid RF platoon I think. Kepler is under contract for two more seasons at a reasonable $7 mil, with a 2024 option year I believe. Houser also with 3 more years of control. The Twins appear to have some corner OF depth available and a need for some sort of starting pitching. I think Kepler also came up as a 1B, so maybe there's also some available versatility, though I don't think he's played there in quite a few years.

 

To me I don't see spending $7M on a .211/.305 hitter. I'd rather see Stearns go for one big bat in RF and use any available money on him.

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Looking at the MLB trade value website, between the two franchises, the Brewers have the top 6 organizational players in terms of surplus value: Burnes, Peralta, Woodruff, Adames, D Williams, and Urias. It’s a similar story comparing the franchises’ pitchers. That’s surprising to me given all of the hype about the Twins’ prospects in recent years. It also may provide an opportunity for the Brewers to fleece the Twins and attain a player who’s cheaper with more upside than Kepler.
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I'm going to propose a Houser for Kepler swap.

 

Kepler has pretty much become a platoon bat at this point but he and Taylor could form a pretty solid RF platoon I think. Kepler is under contract for two more seasons at a reasonable $7 mil, with a 2024 option year I believe. Houser also with 3 more years of control. The Twins appear to have some corner OF depth available and a need for some sort of starting pitching. I think Kepler also came up as a 1B, so maybe there's also some available versatility, though I don't think he's played there in quite a few years.

 

You must really hate Houser to trade for Kepler to use as a platoon. Houser to me has more upside as he refines his pitching.

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I'm going to propose a Houser for Kepler swap.

 

Kepler has pretty much become a platoon bat at this point but he and Taylor could form a pretty solid RF platoon I think. Kepler is under contract for two more seasons at a reasonable $7 mil, with a 2024 option year I believe. Houser also with 3 more years of control. The Twins appear to have some corner OF depth available and a need for some sort of starting pitching. I think Kepler also came up as a 1B, so maybe there's also some available versatility, though I don't think he's played there in quite a few years.

 

You must really hate Houser to trade for Kepler to use as a platoon. Houser to me has more upside as he refines his pitching.

 

Nah, I just don't see the upside in Houser at this stage. I like him just fine. He didn't really take the step forward that I thought he might this season. Obviously the GB% is great, but to me he's not more than the role he's been in: back end starter or bullpen arm. I actually think he might play better as a full time bullpen arm. Kepler is nothing special either but his upside is a 30+ HR bat who can handle RF and CF if needed. He's at least an avg defender and not a negative on the bases. In the same sense as I can see some potential upside in Houser yet, I think there's a fraction of potential upside in Kepler with the amount of contact he's able to make.

 

In my book, it's a pretty even swap at a position of relative depth for each team.

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I'm going to propose a Houser for Kepler swap.

 

Kepler has pretty much become a platoon bat at this point but he and Taylor could form a pretty solid RF platoon I think. Kepler is under contract for two more seasons at a reasonable $7 mil, with a 2024 option year I believe. Houser also with 3 more years of control. The Twins appear to have some corner OF depth available and a need for some sort of starting pitching. I think Kepler also came up as a 1B, so maybe there's also some available versatility, though I don't think he's played there in quite a few years.

 

You must really hate Houser to trade for Kepler to use as a platoon. Houser to me has more upside as he refines his pitching.

 

Nah, I just don't see the upside in Houser at this stage. I like him just fine. He didn't really take the step forward that I thought he might this season. Obviously the GB% is great, but to me he's not more than the role he's been in: back end starter or bullpen arm. I actually think he might play better as a full time bullpen arm. Kepler is nothing special either but his upside is a 30+ HR bat who can handle RF and CF if needed. He's at least an avg defender and not a negative on the bases. In the same sense as I can see some potential upside in Houser yet, I think there's a fraction of potential upside in Kepler with the amount of contact he's able to make.

 

In my book, it's a pretty even swap at a position of relative depth for each team.

 

I get that we have some great starting pitching, but a guy that just went 10-6 with a 3.22 ERA isn't a back-end starter or pen arm in pretty much any MLB team's pitching staff.

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I get that we have some great starting pitching, but a guy that just went 10-6 with a 3.22 ERA isn't a back-end starter or pen arm in pretty much any MLB team's pitching staff.

 

Fair. Most teams aren't in the Brewers situation. I guess we could debate what level of starter he is but on a competitive team he's a 4-5. I think his ERA is a bit misleading but guys that can generate a high GB rate can do that. How to value Houser might be an interesting debate on it's own. His WHIP, K%, and walk rate all indicate he's not all that great. Useful yes, but not anybody I'd place a great value on.

 

Maybe they could aim higher than Kepler. Perhaps Larnach if you want more upside.

 

I can see where if you dream a bit maybe Houser still has Musgrove upside, but right now he's more a Miley with a lesser track record. I think he's a sell high-ish candidate. I'd currently place Ashby and Lauer over him in the rotation.

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I get that we have some great starting pitching, but a guy that just went 10-6 with a 3.22 ERA isn't a back-end starter or pen arm in pretty much any MLB team's pitching staff.

 

Don't forget people, we are spoiled with starting pitching. Because he is a #4 or #5 for us doesn't mean he would be the same for other teams. He could easily slot into a #3 for a lot of teams, maybe a #2, maybe?

 

I mean, there was a time he would have been our #2, possibly even our #1. Wasn't even that long ago...

"I'm sick of runnin' from these wimps!" Ajax - The WARRIORS
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I mean, there was a time he would have been our #2, possibly even our #1. Wasn't even that long ago...

Just to back this up. Here are the Brewers' top two starters in ERA from 2010-2019 and where Houser's 3.22 ERA would have ranked in those years:

 

[pre]Year Best 2nd Best Houser's 3.22 Rank

---- ---- -------- ------------------

2019 3.50 3.55 1st

2018 2.57 3.50 2nd

2017 2.74 3.42 2nd

2016 2.81 3.97 2nd

2015 3.77 3.89 1st

2014 3.51 3.53 1st

2013 3.35 3.87 1st

2012 3.44 3.64 1st

2011 3.52 3.54 1st

2010 3.84 4.17 1st[/pre]

 

This year he had the 5th lowest ERA of our starters... that's nuts.

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I'm going to propose a Houser for Kepler swap.

 

Kepler has pretty much become a platoon bat at this point but he and Taylor could form a pretty solid RF platoon I think. Kepler is under contract for two more seasons at a reasonable $7 mil, with a 2024 option year I believe. Houser also with 3 more years of control. The Twins appear to have some corner OF depth available and a need for some sort of starting pitching. I think Kepler also came up as a 1B, so maybe there's also some available versatility, though I don't think he's played there in quite a few years.

 

You must really hate Houser to trade for Kepler to use as a platoon. Houser to me has more upside as he refines his pitching.

 

Nah, I just don't see the upside in Houser at this stage. I like him just fine. He didn't really take the step forward that I thought he might this season. Obviously the GB% is great, but to me he's not more than the role he's been in: back end starter or bullpen arm. I actually think he might play better as a full time bullpen arm. Kepler is nothing special either but his upside is a 30+ HR bat who can handle RF and CF if needed. He's at least an avg defender and not a negative on the bases. In the same sense as I can see some potential upside in Houser yet, I think there's a fraction of potential upside in Kepler with the amount of contact he's able to make.

 

In my book, it's a pretty even swap at a position of relative depth for each team.

 

That's fairly nuts to say you don't see more upside. He had a 4BB per 9. Reducing that to a realistic number of 3.3-3.5 will mean he's a better pitcher. Burnes went from 3.6 and 3.7 to 1.8. Woodruff went from 3 to 2.2. Peralta has lowered his every season. Houser putting less men on base with free passes as a pitcher to contact will lower the runs he allows. Say he even increases his KS per 9 then even more to a larger degree. Those 2 combined could vault him over Woodruff quality. You would have to believe cleaning up some walks per 9, would lead to batters chasing and striking out a little more. I'll harp to a guy I championed for a few offseasons ago. One Lance Lynn who was coming off a kind of season Houser just had. 3.8Bbs per9 and 7.4Ks per 9.

Dropped that walks per 9 2 years later the Ks increased and he's about to finish a 3rd straight season a top 5 Cy Young vote getter. That's some pretty big upside if you ask me. Woodruff and Houser I've believed and said before are Lance Lynn body types and hard throwers. The Brewer duo though actually mix more pitches in than Lynn who was almost just a FB pitcher with occasional slider, to now a 60s/30s mix of the 2.

Kepler is a big no for me if putting Houser as the trade offer.

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I've always liked Kepler. I thought he'd hit for a higher average. But he had a nice swing coming up as a youngster. I thought he'd be special.

 

The hard part is looking at his numbers the last couple of years and seeing anything special. If he rebounds to 2019 form - he's awesome - a left handed power bat who can play corner OF and 1B.

 

I can see a Houser for Kepler swap. Both teams have depth at those respective positions - so it makes sense. I guess we'd have to feel that we could get Kepler back on track. I don't know enough about him to say anything about that.

 

The tough part is that everyone will want a 'big' trade or FA signing. But I just don't see that happening.

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I've always liked Kepler. I thought he'd hit for a higher average. But he had a nice swing coming up as a youngster. I thought he'd be special.

 

The hard part is looking at his numbers the last couple of years and seeing anything special. If he rebounds to 2019 form - he's awesome - a left handed power bat who can play corner OF and 1B.

The part that’s mystifying with Kepler is how low his BABIP has been basically every season of his career. It’s not like he’s ridiculously slow or something. Logic would say his BABIP has to improve, but yet each year he has among the very worst BABIP in baseball.

 

Here are Kepler’s BABIP results by season…

 

[pre]Season BABIP

2015 .250

2016 .261

2017 .276

2018 .236

2019 .244

2020 .236

2021 .225[/pre]

Not just “at Night” anymore.
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Kepler kind of reminds me of Heyward. Defense first RF who looks like they should be a lot better at the plate than they actually are.

 

Max's BABIP really fell off the table after 2017. Checking Target Field park factors on StatCast they have it 2% above average for wOBA on contact from 2015-17, but 4% below average for 2019-21 so could maybe be some home stadium effect in there. His infield fly ball rate is also about 3% above average which will eat into BABIP too.

 

StatCast also has his sprint speed between 70th-80th percentile for his entire career until last year when it dipped down to 60th percentile.

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I've always liked Kepler. I thought he'd hit for a higher average. But he had a nice swing coming up as a youngster. I thought he'd be special.

 

The hard part is looking at his numbers the last couple of years and seeing anything special. If he rebounds to 2019 form - he's awesome - a left handed power bat who can play corner OF and 1B.

The part that’s mystifying with Kepler is how low his BABIP has been basically every season of his career. It’s not like he’s ridiculously slow or something. Logic would say his BABIP has to improve, but yet each year he has among the very worst BABIP in baseball.

 

Here are Kepler’s BABIP results by season…

 

[pre]Season BABIP

2015 .250

2016 .261

2017 .276

2018 .236

2019 .244

2020 .236

2021 .225[/pre]

The opposite of Yelich. He has too high a Launch Angle and a lower EV so balls are being caught rather than finding holes or are able to beat out a few. You may also wonder a shift effectiveness (didn't check)

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