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View Full Version : Jeff Keppinger: A true contact hitter



mbgrayson
05-02-2008, 10:02 AM
Yahoo notes the following for Jeff Keppinger yesterday:

May 1 SS Jeff Keppinger, a contact hitter deluxe, has swung and missed only 10 pitches this season in 113 at-bats.

After one month, he is hitting .301/.350/.416 for an OPS of .766. He has 9 walks, and only 4 strikeouts, in 122 plate appearances. He is hitting .320 vs. lefties, and .295 vs. righties. His BABIP is .299, meaning that he has actually been a little unlucky so far.

We had a discussion the other day about his fielding in a minor league thread. He has one error so far in 93 chances, and has a solid 'zone rating' as well. See HERE (http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/stats/fielding?groupId=8&season=2008&seasonType=2&split=82&sortColumn=zoneRating) for the current NL shortstops ranked by zone rating. Kepp in 7th out of 15. (Zone rating= The percentage of balls fielded by a player in his typical defensive "zone," as measured by STATS, Inc.)

Overall, Country Kepp has been very solid so far. Given that his current salary is listed on ESPN at $402,500, he is a great deal.

LincolnparkRed
05-02-2008, 10:05 AM
He is also second in GIDP at 7, one off of Pedro Feliz. Phillips only has 3 by the way

RedsManRick
05-02-2008, 10:10 AM
Keppinger is the answer to the leadoff question. For some reason, Dusty doesn't seem to see that.

*BaseClogger*
05-02-2008, 10:13 AM
I will toot my own horn by pointing out how much I tooted Kepp's horn since October...

Chip R
05-02-2008, 10:15 AM
Keppinger is the answer to the leadoff question. For some reason, Dusty doesn't seem to see that.


If only he could play CF.

oneupper
05-02-2008, 10:24 AM
Kepp's propensity for DPs have him sitting LAST in WPA among REDS hitters.
Very surprising.

http://www.fangraphs.com/winss.aspx?team=Reds&season=2008

I like him for leadoff, too. DPs not so much of an issue after the pitcher spot.

RedsManRick
05-02-2008, 10:34 AM
Kepp's propensity for DPs have him sitting LAST in WPA among REDS hitters.
Very surprising.

http://www.fangraphs.com/winss.aspx?team=Reds&season=2008

I like him for leadoff, too. DPs not so much of an issue after the pitcher spot.

Exactly. We know he's going to make a lot of contact and he's not going to slug much. That's a recipe for double plays when you try to make him an "RBI guy" by batting him behind our slow, high OBP guys.

jojo
05-02-2008, 11:52 AM
If only he could play CF.

Sure......why not?

RedsManRick
05-02-2008, 12:07 PM
Sure......why not?

Well, that was easy. Good call. Not sure I'd want him between Dunn and Junior, but between Dunn and Bruce wouldn't be so bad.

wheels
05-02-2008, 03:27 PM
My goodness....Some guys just materialize out of nowhere.

Country's one of the main reasons I love Baseball.

HokieRed
05-02-2008, 03:50 PM
I know everybody loves Kepp, but here's a hard question. If he OPSes .760 and is mediocre at best at SS, do you make a spot for him? Is he a regular? Do you put him on 3b and move EE to left--where EE may have to go? As much as I like Keppinger, I'm not convinced he's an everyday player on a contender.

Kc61
05-02-2008, 03:56 PM
I know everybody loves Kepp, but here's a hard question. If he OPSes .760 and is mediocre at best at SS, do you make a spot for him? Is he a regular? Do you put him on 3b and move EE to left--where EE may have to go? As much as I like Keppinger, I'm not convinced he's an everyday player on a contender.


OPS doesn't always tell the story. OPS is great for determining top of the line hitters, who combine OBP and slugging. When dealing with a lead-off type, a tablesetter, the OBP component will be high but the SLG often low. And the OPS, in turn, won't be overly impressive.

So OPS doesn't really tell you very much about a table setting hitter. Now, it's fair to say you only want high OPS guys on your team. But in the real world, a couple of .760 OPS guys -- where .370 is the OBP component -- isn't that bad.

jojo
05-02-2008, 04:25 PM
I will toot my own horn by pointing out how much I tooted Kepp's horn since October...

After the Dust settles, Keppy is basically average-slightly above offensively (mainly due to an above average OPB ability) for a shortstop while being a minus defender there. An average middle infielder at league minimum is a nice thing but as the legend grows because he doesn't K or make obvious errors, he'll quickly become a prime candidate for the "overrated Reds" thread....

*BaseClogger*
05-02-2008, 05:26 PM
After the Dust settles, Keppy is basically average-slightly above offensively (mainly due to an above average OPB ability) for a shortstop while being a minus defender there. An average middle infielder at league minimum is a nice thing but as the legend grows because he doesn't K or make obvious errors, he'll quickly become a prime candidate for the "overrated Reds" thread....

yet many still want to move him to "super-sub" when AGon returns...

*BaseClogger*
05-02-2008, 05:27 PM
OPS doesn't always tell the story. OPS is great for determining top of the line hitters, who combine OBP and slugging. When dealing with a lead-off type, a tablesetter, the OBP component will be high but the SLG often low. And the OPS, in turn, won't be overly impressive.

So OPS doesn't really tell you very much about a table setting hitter. Now, it's fair to say you only want high OPS guys on your team. But in the real world, a couple of .760 OPS guys -- where .370 is the OBP component -- isn't that bad.

Bingo. I have been trying to put this thought into words several times when people start tossing around OPS as if OB% and SLG% are treated equally...

SMcGavin
05-02-2008, 05:28 PM
I know everybody loves Kepp, but here's a hard question. If he OPSes .760 and is mediocre at best at SS, do you make a spot for him? Is he a regular? Do you put him on 3b and move EE to left--where EE may have to go? As much as I like Keppinger, I'm not convinced he's an everyday player on a contender.

I leave him at SS. His range is better than people think, and I'm of the opinion that he is pretty close to average defensively. As you said I don't think his bat is good enough for 3B. I see Kepp as a cheap league-average guy, not someone you build a team around but the kind of guy that is really useful to have.

reds44
05-02-2008, 05:36 PM
He is also second in GIDP at 7, one off of Pedro Feliz. Phillips only has 3 by the way
Keppinger is a DP waiting to happen with the amount of times he hits the ball up the middle and his lack of speed. Even more of a reason to bat him 1st.

jojo
05-02-2008, 05:36 PM
yet many still want to move him to "super-sub" when AGon returns...

The distracted and injured Gonzo of '07 was an above average shortstop who earned every penny the Reds paid him.....

Rojo
05-02-2008, 05:46 PM
Kepp gives you less than ideal pop for third, but what there's a problem there right now and, as I've mentioned, its nice to have at least one bat like his in the line-up.

SMcGavin
05-02-2008, 07:43 PM
George Grande on Kepp tonight:

"Can't measure size until you look at a person's heart, and he's got a big one"

Sea Ray
05-02-2008, 07:52 PM
After the Dust settles, Keppy is basically average-slightly above offensively (mainly due to an above average OPB ability) for a shortstop while being a minus defender there. An average middle infielder at league minimum is a nice thing but as the legend grows because he doesn't K or make obvious errors, he'll quickly become a prime candidate for the "overrated Reds" thread....


Why is he still a minus defender with so many of you guys? What does he have to do to change that rap? He is very steady and as this thread shows his range is above average.

He brings steadiness defensively to a position which has lacked such since Larkin left. He also adds a dimension (contact/high average) that no one else on this team can. His DPs are largely the result of Dusty not puting him in the leadoff spot.

If he were arbitration eligible I'd still pay the money for him to be my starting SS on this team.

Sea Ray
05-02-2008, 08:04 PM
I leave him at SS. His range is better than people think, and I'm of the opinion that he is pretty close to average defensively. As you said I don't think his bat is good enough for 3B. I see Kepp as a cheap league-average guy, not someone you build a team around but the kind of guy that is really useful to have.


I kind of like him at SS but 3rd would work out. I've said it before and some of you have disagreed, but I still think his offensive skills compare very much with Bill Mueller. I'd argue that time is proving me right...

jojo
05-02-2008, 08:27 PM
Why is he still a minus defender with so many of you guys? What does he have to do to change that rap?

Demonstrate that he's a neutral or plus defender at shortstop.

HokieRed
05-02-2008, 08:50 PM
It's dangerous to start settling for league average guys at key positions. They get in, become the incumbent, always look pretty solid, the team is mediocre. Read Ron Oester. I'm not saying this is Kepp. I think the book is out on him. But here's another way to think about it. The Reds have had great SS's for 50 years, basically 4 guys with some brief fill-ins between: McMillan, Cardenas, Concepcion, Larkin. How's Kepp rate with them? I'm saying that's the standard we should be looking for if we want to be really good--not just three games over .500 in the Central and maybe win the wild card, but really good, dominant.

SMcGavin
05-02-2008, 09:16 PM
Demonstrate that he's a neutral or plus defender at shortstop.

From a post I made a few days ago:



It looks like this (out of 28 qualifiers):
RZR: 12th
OOZ: 26th (3 plays worse than an average SS)
FLD%: 6th (2 errors better than an average SS)

The more data I see on Keppinger's defense, the more I am led to believe that he is just about average.


The ranks may have changed in the past few days, and you can call small sample size, but to this point he's been very average.

jojo
05-02-2008, 09:20 PM
From a post I made a few days ago:



The ranks may have changed in the past few days, and you can call small sample size, but to this point he's been very average.

Even ignoring sample size, it's flimsy evidence.

*BaseClogger*
05-02-2008, 09:20 PM
It's dangerous to start settling for league average guys at key positions. They get in, become the incumbent, always look pretty solid, the team is mediocre. Read Ron Oester. I'm not saying this is Kepp. I think the book is out on him. But here's another way to think about it. The Reds have had great SS's for 50 years, basically 4 guys with some brief fill-ins between: McMillan, Cardenas, Concepcion, Larkin. How's Kepp rate with them? I'm saying that's the standard we should be looking for if we want to be really good--not just three games over .500 in the Central and maybe win the wild card, but really good, dominant.

Look up the SS for the last few World Series winners. Unless an upgrade is attainable--which I don't think it is--average is just fine if you can be above-average elsewhere on the diamond...

*BaseClogger*
05-02-2008, 09:21 PM
Well jojo, how would you rate AGon's defense last season? Because Kepp was better than him last year...

jojo
05-02-2008, 09:21 PM
Look up the SS for the last few World Series winners. Unless an upgrade is attainable--which I don't think it is--average is just fine if you can be above-average elsewhere on the diamond...

Which sadly the Reds aren't....

SMcGavin
05-02-2008, 09:21 PM
Even ignoring sample size, it's flimsy evidence.

Because of...?

*BaseClogger*
05-02-2008, 09:22 PM
Which sadly the Reds aren't....

And upgrading a position the Reds are average at is the least of their concerns...

*BaseClogger*
05-02-2008, 09:23 PM
The distracted and injured Gonzo of '07 was an above average shortstop who earned every penny the Reds paid him.....

Demonstrate that he was an above-average SS...

jojo
05-02-2008, 09:25 PM
Well jojo, how would you rate AGon'd defense last season? Because Kepp was better than him last year...

The archives are littered with my thoughts on this issue and no Kepp was not a better defensive shortstop than Gonzo last year.

jojo
05-02-2008, 09:25 PM
Demonstrate that he was an above-average SS...

Search the archives.

*BaseClogger*
05-02-2008, 09:27 PM
Search the archives.

Perhaps you should have done that so you would have stumbled upon SMcGavin's post...

SMcGavin
05-02-2008, 09:28 PM
Perhaps you should have done that so you would have stumbled upon SMcGavin's post...

Don't worry about my post, it's "flimsy evidence".

*BaseClogger*
05-02-2008, 09:30 PM
I do love searching the archives!

jojo: what am I looking for? This is ridiculous...

*BaseClogger*
05-02-2008, 09:35 PM
I guess BP stats suck, but in about 150 less PA's in 2007 Keppinger had a 2.8 to 1.9 WARP advantage. Can't see how that gap can be made up by another metric...

jojo
05-02-2008, 10:08 PM
There is absolutely no reason for this to get snooterific.

Listen, it's easy to see where this thread might be headed. I and others have waxed poetic about defensive metrics in the recent past (including discussions about Gonzo's value) so I'm not willing to hijack this thread with a 15 page rehash of defensive metrics and stats vs the eyes etc.

To wet your appetite, Dewan's +/- rated Gonzo as +4 and Keppy as -6 at short in '07.

Basically, a survey of metrics suggests Gonzo was a neutral to +5 run defender. Keppy was something like a -5 to -15 defender there. Gonzo was likely a win better over the course of a season defensively.

As a side note, learning to effectively utilize the search function is vital to unlocking the many nuggets of gold buried in the archives. It's an essential skill well worth refining IMHO.

Sea Ray
05-02-2008, 10:19 PM
There is absolutely no reason for this to get snooterific.

Listen, it's easy to see where this thread might be headed. I and others have waxed poetic about defensive metrics in the recent past (including discussions about Gonzo's value) so I'm not willing to hijack this thread with a 15 page rehash of defensive metrics and stats vs the eyes etc.




Thank you. I doubt we'll ever agree on proving defensive prowess using stats and numbers.

Until AGon comes back there's no use in comparing the two. One thing we can all agree on is right now Kepp is a better SS than a guy with a cracked bone in his knee. If AGon comes back we can evaluate him anew. Due to his age and recent happenings, we cannot assume he'll be anything like he was 5 yrs ago. We'll judge him like we'd judge a rookie. Clean slate.

Not only is Kepp the best SS we have, I argue he's the one guy in our lineup we can least afford to lose. As a result, he's wearing down a little IMO. I'm sure Dusty would like to give him a breather or two every week but he really can't. It's really amazing that it's gotten to this point.

Sea Ray
05-02-2008, 10:23 PM
It's dangerous to start settling for league average guys at key positions. They get in, become the incumbent, always look pretty solid, the team is mediocre. Read Ron Oester. I'm not saying this is Kepp. I think the book is out on him. But here's another way to think about it. The Reds have had great SS's for 50 years, basically 4 guys with some brief fill-ins between: McMillan, Cardenas, Concepcion, Larkin. How's Kepp rate with them? I'm saying that's the standard we should be looking for if we want to be really good--not just three games over .500 in the Central and maybe win the wild card, but really good, dominant.

Kepp doesn't rate with those guys. If your point is we need to develop another athletic SS then I'm with you. My point is that as of right now, he's by far the best option we've got at SS.

If we want to be really good then we need some all stars somewhere. As of right now our lone representative to the All Star game would probably be Harang or Cordero. No hitter would even make it as a reserve. In other words Kepp could be the SS on a contending team if guys like Phillips, Griffey and Dunn were hammering the ball like they're being paid to do.

jojo
05-03-2008, 12:54 AM
Until AGon comes back there's no use in comparing the two

This is a good point.

fearofpopvol1
05-10-2008, 10:29 PM
Congratulations, Jeff Keppinger. Kepp had his first career 5 hit game this evening.

In addition, Kepp leads the majors in batting average with RISP. The Mets interviewed Kepp after the game tonight and it was funny. They told him that stat about RISP and he looked shocked, but seemed humbled.

BCubb2003
05-10-2008, 10:35 PM
Sigh. I had a 9-game streak in the Beat the Streak contest, and went with Keppinger for the rained-out game, then switched to Chipper Jones today. Jones went 0-for-four, and Keppinger gets five hits.

Will M
05-10-2008, 10:42 PM
the 2 days off helped. Kep is a nice player but I don't see him playing 162 games. he was starting to look a little tired.

mbgrayson
05-10-2008, 11:23 PM
Kepp's line after tonight's 5 for 5 game:
.317/.360/.410 for an OPS of .770

Kepp now has 7 Ks this year. That is the lowest among all qualified MLB shortstops. He strikes out 5.4% of his PAs. That is good enough to make him the third toughest guy in MLB to strikeout. Only Yadier and Bengie Molina have a lower K%. See the MLB leaders of this useless stat HERE (http://www.fangraphs.com/leaders.aspx?pos=all&stats=bat&lg=all&qual=y&type=1&season=2008). THen click on the colmn header for K%....

He really is a good contact hitter....

Matt700wlw
05-10-2008, 11:24 PM
Kepp - yeah. He's good.

Keep him around.

mbgrayson
05-10-2008, 11:48 PM
A few other Kepp contact hitting stats...even more obscure and obtuse....

Kepp is 21st in MLB at percentage of the pitches he swings at being in the strike zone(55.51%).

Kepp is 5th in MLB in contact %....92.96%....

Kepp's 5.4% strikeout rate is actually up from last year, when it was 5% even.

wally post
05-11-2008, 01:53 AM
He is a machine. Looked great tonight!

KittyDuran
05-11-2008, 01:00 PM
Saw a lady at the Dragons game last night with a Keppinger jersey on ...:)

KronoRed
05-11-2008, 01:09 PM
Bat him leadoff

penantboundreds
05-11-2008, 02:19 PM
Bat him leadoff twice on doubleheaders and just once when they only play once.....maybe we should put Freel at 9 and the pitcher 8 (pull the NL central way)