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Taking stock of the Twins' young outfielder after his first 162 games in the majors.

Max Kepler was a project, albeit an expensive one. He left Germany as a 16-year-old in 2009 to sign with the Twins for $800,000, the largest bonus ever given to a European-born amateur. Back then Kepler was a lanky center fielder who oozed athleticism, raw tools, and inexperience, and for the next several years the Twins set about trying to mold him into an actual baseball player. Kepler made his pro debut in 2010 and spent three seasons in rookie-ball, upping his OPS there from .689 to .714 to .925, at which point the Twins promoted him to low Single-A for 2013.

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Minnesota has a new front office and a friendly PECOTA projection, but are Buxton and Sano ready to be stars?

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The Twins jettison their top two position prospects, while the Yankees bring an old face back into the fold.

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Another notch in the belt of german engineering.

The Situation: Last year the Twins were the upstart team of the AL. This year, not so much. With Danny Santana heading to the disabled list, Minnesota will call on Kepler to (hopefully) provide some offensive punch.

Background: The Twins signed Kepler out of Germany (for $800,000) as a player who was equal parts raw goo and toolsy prospect six years ago, hoping that someday that goo would translate into something solid. For the first few years, that seemed very unlikely while he was being derailed by injuries, but something clicked in 2013, and he’s shown marked improvement every year since. It really came together last year, as he hit .318/410/.520 in Double-A Chattanooga, earning a trip to the Futures Game and a (very) small cup of coffee at the end of the 2015 major-league season.

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More like the land of a thousand prospects, amirite?

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July 2, 2013 5:00 am

Minor League Update: Games of Monday, July 1


Zach Mortimer

On the eve of international signing day, a promising European-born prospect starred for Low-A Cedar Rapids.

Pitching Prospect of the Day: Keyvius Sampson, RHP, Padres (Double-A San Antonio): 7.0 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 10 K. Sampson has really found his groove, piling up the strikeout numbers of late. He has relied on a fastball-changeup combination to dominate hitters at the Double-A level; 28.2 IP, 21 H, 7 ER, 12 BB, 32 K in six June outings.

Position Prospect of the Day: Max Kepler, CF, Twins (Low-A Cedar Rapids): 2-4, 3B, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI. Well, it’s July 2, and we all know what that means—International signing day. Kepler has set the benchmark for players in Europe. Some believe that if he is able to succeed, it will change the game in Europe. Kepler’s skill set gives him star potential, but there is an extreme gap between current ability and his future ceiling. In a perfect world, Kepler is a five-tool monster, but let’s be thankful if he is able to stay on prospect radars; .317/.404/.707 with 5 2B, 1 3B, and 3 HR in last 41 at-bats.

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