Final 2003 Scouting Report: SP, Bob Keppel

Bob Keppel was the Mets supplementary first round selection in the 2000 draft. The Mets received this pick as compensation for the Mariners signing John Olerud. Keppel was all set to attend Notre Dame -- both of his parents are alumni of Notre Dame. He would also have played point guard for the basketball team too. If Keppel had chosen to bypass the pros and turn down the Mets, he would have been a teammate of the Mets' 2001 1st round pick, Aaron Heilman, at Notre Dame.

Keppel held his own at AA in 2003 despite being just 21 years old and dealing a strained forearm all season. Keppel, who missed a month with the injury, threw the first regular season no-hitter in Binghamton franchise history this past year. He was sent to the Arizona Fall League but had to end his season early to try and rest his forearm. The one glaring statistic that jumps out is his 59 total strikeouts in 2003. Some scouts say this could be an alarming stat.

One of the intangibles that is a consistent trait among successful pitchers is confidence, and Keppel has no shortage of that. In an interview with Keppel in 2001 (at just 19 years old and pitching for the Bombers), Bob told us: "From all the things I've heard from different people and knowing myself, there's no doubt in my mind that I can be a #2 starter for the Mets. I need to develop my curveball more to be a dominant ace starter for Major League ball club". In fact, Keppel is right on schedule according to the time table he set for himself two years ago in the same interview. "Realistically, I believe I'll need a year in St. Lucie and a year in Binghamton. My goal is to reach the Majors in 2 1/2 years, understanding of course that it could take longer". He's right on schedule.

Keppel will most likely begin 2004 at AAA-Norfolk and will be one of the youngest pitchers at that level. He has the repertoire and pitching ability to be a very successful pitcher at the Major League level.

Year

Team

W-L

IP

Hits

BB

K

ERA

2003

Binghamton

7-4

94.2

92

27

46

3.04

2003

Brooklyn

2-0

14.1

10

2

13

2.51

2002

St. Lucie

9-7

152

162

43

109

4.32

2001

Cap City

6-7

124

118

25

87

3.11

2000

Kingsport

1-2

29

31

13

29

6.83


*Stats as of 9/7/03.

Fastball. Keppel's power sinker (2-seam FB) is his best pitch and sits at 89-90 mph. His 4-seam FB sits in the 91-93 mph range and tops off at 95-96 mph. He's likely to add 2 mph to his 4-seamer.

Other Pitches. Keppel's cut SL sits in the 84-86 mph range and should eventually evolve into his second plus pitch. He uses his spl. FB as his K-pitch. Keppel's CU needs substantial improvement. For this reason, Keppel has experimented with a knuckle curve as an alternative off-speed pitch. His slider is solid but can't throw it consistently. Keppel's changeup is devastating.

Pitching. Keppel works both sides of the plate. He sets up his SPL for strikeouts and can get ground balls with the 2-seamer. Keppel is just learning how to utilize his repertoire to get hitters out. When that happens he'll be more dominant.

Projection. Keppel projects to a #2 or #3 starter. Keppel has the kind the long lean body that scouts project to add 2-3 mph to his velocity.

ETA. Late 2004. Keppel will begin 2004 at AAA-Norfolk and could earn a call-up to the Mets late in 2004. By 2005, he should be a staple in the Mets' rotation.

Starting Pitchers Team
Jeremy Griffiths AAA - Norfolk Tides
Patrick Strange AAA - Norfolk Tides
Jake Joseph AAA - Norfolk Tides
Phil Seibel AAA - Norfolk Tides
Bob Keppel AA - Binghamton Mets
David Mattox AA - Binghamton Mets
Joseph Cole AA - Binghamton Mets
Neal Musser AA - Binghamton Mets
Lenny Dinardo AA - Binghamton Mets
Matthew Peterson A- St. Lucie Mets
Kevin Deaton A- St. Lucie Mets
Joselo Diaz A- St. Lucie Mets
Wayne Ough A- St. Lucie Mets
Kenneth Chenard A- St. Lucie Mets
Scott Kazmir A - St. Lucie Mets
Yunior Cabrera A - Capital City Bombers
Matthew Lindstrom A - Capital City Bombers
Miguel Pinango A - Capital City Bombers
Adam Elliot A - Brooklyn Cyclones
Brian Bannister A - Brooklyn Cyclones
Shane Hawk A - Brooklyn Cyclones
Ryan Danly A - Brooklyn Cyclones
Vincent Cordova A - Brooklyn Cyclones
Yusemeiro Petit R - Kingsport Mets
Andrew Sides R - Kingsport Mets
Jose Gomez R - Kingsport Mets
Almenar Aristides R - Kingsport Mets
Jose Sanchez R - Tronconero Mets
Javier Perdomo R - Tronconero Mets
German Peguero R - DSL Mets
Heriberto Peralta R - DSL Mets


COMMENTS


The Mets have excellent depth to their RHP SP. Peterson, Keppel, Elliott and Petit have the best ceilings. Some others to watch include Mattox, Lindstrom, and Pinango. Peterson has the best ceiling, his fastball rides up and into right-handed hitters, and up and away from left-handed hitters. A cut FB would complement this movement as it moves right to left and the 4-seamer up and left to right.

1. Matthew Peterson (RHP) remains the RHP with the highest ceiling and has been outstanding in 2003 despite a delay due to a minor arm ailment. Peterson will be rule 5 draft eligible after 2003.

2. Patrick Strange (RHP) has had a cup of coffee with the Mets in 2003. He remains a good prospect, but needs to develop another quality pitch and his spl. FB sits in his back pocket waiting to be reused. Strange's minor surgery to remove a bone spur hasn't slowed him in 2003 at all. Strange is on the 40-man roster.

3. Jeremy Griffiths (RHP) also probably needs another plus pitch to be a quality SP, but his deceptive motion projects him to be a closer as he repeats his arm slot on FB, SL and CU. Griffiths is on the 40-man roster.

4. Bob Keppel (RHP) has good command and an extensive arsenal of pitches. Keppel's best pitch is a 2-seam FB that ranges from 87 mph to 91 mph. His 4-seam FB ranges from 91-95 mph and is his 6th best pitch. He still needs to fill out and maintain the velocity on his fastball. Keppel will be rule 5 draft eligible after 2003.

5. David Mattox's (RHP) 5-pitch repertoire all possess good movement. Since he lacks dominant pitches, he'll be as good as his command. Mattox was lost in the Rule 5 draft.

6. Miguel Pinango (RHP), the strike-throwing machine, had an outstanding season with a 13-6 record. Pinango will be rule 5 draft eligible after 2003.

7. Adam Elliott (RHP) challenges Peterson and Keppel as having the highest ceiling after Kazmir. Elliot will be rule 5 draft eligible after 2005.

8. Wayne Ough (RHP) is now in the mix with the improved command and addition of a quality CU. Ough will be rule 5 draft eligible for the second time after 2003.

9. Luz Portabanco (RHP) remains a SP prospect that might change should remain unproductive. He possesses the repertoire to be a front end SP. Portabanco will be rule 5 draft eligible for the first time after 2003.

10. Kenneth Chenard (RHP), along with Ough and Nick Maness, possesses the best stuff of any pitchers in the organization. However, he's like Casper the Ghost because he disappears on to the DL much to often. Chenard is rule 5 draft eligible for the third time after 2003.

11. Matthew Lindstrom (RHP) has good stuff, but he lacks experience and coaching. His start at Columbia was surprisingly good. Might be holding off shift to bullpen. Lindstrom will be rule 5 draft eligible for the first time after 2004.

12. Jose Gomez (RHP) is still recovering from Tommy John surgery that he had in 2001. He may never regain the 99 mph FB he had in 2001. In limited action, Gomez FB has been sitting in the 91-93 mph range topping off at 95 mph.

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