2001 Scouting Report: Pitcher, Bob Keppel

Robert (he prefers to be called 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 the first of three, highly regarded right-handed pitchers the Mets selected early in the draft. Matthew Peterson was selected in the second round and Josh Reynolds in the third.

Keppel was all set to attend Notre Dame -- both of his parents are alumni of Notre Dame, and 2 older sisters are currently attending. Keppel was set to replace Aaron Heilman in Notre Dames rotation as Heilman was expected to sign with the Minnesota Twins who had taken Heilman in the supplementary phase of the first round in 2000. But, Heilman didn't sign and instead became the Mets top pick in 2001. As Heilman was Keppel's host on his visit to Notre Dame, Keppel looks forward to pitching with Heilman in a Mets uniform.

Keppel hails from a suburb of St. Louis where he was a second team all-St. Louis in basketball playing point guard. He would also have played basketball at Notre Dame. Keppel, a community-active high school student, looks forward to continue his involvement with community programs.

Keppel, who just turned 19 in June, is on the same fast track that the Mets had for Patrick Strange in 1999 (when Strange also was an 18 year old who didn't turn 19 until August 1999.) Keppel has not been as dominant as Strange was in 1999. But with his 5-pitch repertoire, Keppel won't struggle as much in AA as Strange has, whenever Keppel gets to Binghamton. Despite having great control, Keppel shares another trait with Strange, he hits a lot of batters - 12 to date, leading the Columbia staff. This demonstrates Keppel 's willingness to pitch inside. He also throws a number of wild pitches due to his use of his split-fingered fastball to strikeout hitters on "a pitch in the dirt."

Keppel also shared a starting job with fellow amigo Matthew Peterson. They would rotate starts while the other relieved. So Keppel has only started 10 games out of 19 appearances.










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* Stats As of 7/16/01

Repertoire: 2-seam fastball (FB), 4-seam faster ball, split-fingered fastball (SPL), slider (SL), and change up (CU).

Fastball: Keppel throws a 4-seamer fastball in 90-93 mph fastball range. He projects to add about 3-4 mph as he fills out. Keppel throws a 2-seamer fastball with sinking action. This is his best pitch.

Other pitches: Keppel has added a hard SL in the 84-86 mph range which is a touch faster than normal. He uses his SPL as his strike out pitch starting in the strike zone and dropping out of the strike zone with good downward movement. The change is a workable pitch.

Pitching: Keppel works both sides of the plate and uses the 4-seamer, CU and SL against left-handed hitters. 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 starter. Keppel has the kind the long lean body that scouts project to add 3-5 mph to his velocity. If his fastball's improvement is 4-5 mph, then Keppel would be upgraded to a potential #1 type starter.

ETA: 2004. Due to his repertoire, control, willingness to use both sides of the plate, and poise, Keppel should experience only minimal bumps in the road as he progresses in the Mets farm system. So for him to be ready by opening day 2004 is not much of a reach, but later in the season is more likely.

Right-Handed Starting Pitchers Team
Jae Weong Seo AAA - Norfolk Tides
Patrick Strange AA - Binghamton Mets
Nick Maness AA - Binghamton Mets
Aaron Heilman A - St. Lucie Mets
Josh Reynolds A - St. Lucie Mets
Jeremy Griffiths A - St. Lucie Mets
Kenneth Chenard A - Capital City Bombers
Matthew Peterson A - Brooklyn Cyclones
Jason Weintraub Kingsport


1. This list includes right-handed pitchers who are capable of becoming a #2 starter or better. Twentieth round selection Trevor Hutchinson who slid badly in this draft due to excessive financial demands would be included as well, if he signs - the Mets are having cordial negotiations with Scott Boras, his agent. Seo, who is currently the best pitcher in this group, has the least upside.

2. Of the three pitchers selected early in the 2000 draft, Matthew Peterson projects to have the highest upside with a body that projects easily an addition 3-5 mph to a low 90s fastball that occasionally hits 95 mph. He has the makings of a dominant curve ball. He has also made excellent progress on his change up under the tutelage of Bobby Ojeda.

3. Josh Reynolds was selected out of Southwest Missouri State University. Reynolds did not face what was considered a high level of competition in college, so his promotion to St. Lucie was surprising. Like the others, Reynolds has a low 90s fastball. Reynolds has a good slider that could develop into a dominant pitch.

In what is quickly becoming my favorite task at NYfansonly.com, I had an opportunity to sit down and talk with Mets' pitching prospect, Bob Keppel. Keppel was born on June 6, 1982 and grew up in St. Louis, Missouri...a Cardinals' fan of all things! While the Cardinals-Mets rivalry may not be what it used to be in the mid-80's, Keppel's allegiances were changed forever when the Mets made him the 36th pick in the 2000 draft...Continued...

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