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Thread: Norris Hopper and Jeff Keppinger....what is their future?

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    Red's fan mbgrayson's Avatar
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    Norris Hopper and Jeff Keppinger....what is their future?

    Both Norris Hopper and Jeff Keppinger have gotten a surprising amount of playing time thanks to the medical issues of Ryan Freel, Josh Hamilton, and Alex Gonzalez.

    A quick look at their stats:

    Norris Hopper, age 28
    2007 MLB: 298 Plate Appearances, .340/.375/.401 for an OPS of .776. Has only walked 15 times, and struck out only 30 times. 13 steals in 19 attempts.

    2006 AAA: 403 PA, .347/.378/.392 for an OPS of .770. Only walked 20 times, and struck out 25 times. 25 steals in 32 attempts.

    Remarkably similar numbers this year in Cincinnati compared to 2006 in Louisville. What you see is what you get; high average, decent OBP(because of average), no power, good speed.

    Jeff Keppinger, age 27
    2007 MLB: 228 PA, .341/.406/.493 for an OPS of .899. Has walked 20 times and struck out only 11 times. 2 steals in 3 attempts.

    2007 AAA: 251 PA, .368/.424/.469 for an OPS of .893. Walked 23 times and K’d 14 times. 1 steal in 2 attempts.

    2006 AAA: 490 PA, .316/.368/.389 for an OPS of .757. Walked 40 times and struck out 30 times. 0 steals in 4 attempts.

    Also remarkably similar numbers in Cincinnati compared to AAA. With Kepp you get; high average, good OBP, little power, little speed, and a great contact rate.

    Both of these two are the real deal. Their high averages are not a fluke, given their near league leading averages in AAA. I think both of these guys are very valuable to the Reds in 2008. They make Ryan Freel very expendable, although Freel is under contract.

    Do either of these guys start? Hopper’s defense is average, but many think Keppinger lacks the range to start at shortstop.

    I think they are spare parts, but very good spare parts. They are capable of coming off the bench and spelling a starter anywhere in the outfield, or 2nd, 3rd, or short. Great job to WK for bringing these two along....
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    Re: Norris Hopper and Jeff Keppinger....what is their future?

    Folks on the game thread were critical of Kepp's range last night. With reason, the base hit through the middle would have been reached by true shortstops with good range.

    But despite his modest range, Kepp is extremely sure handed at short. Low error guy.

    If Gonzo were to get you back pitching, or if the Reds could use Gonzo's salary slot for pitching, I'd say move him and give Kepp the shortstop job, perhaps with a rangier guy as a backup. Perhaps he's not the ideal shortstop, but he has excellent OBP skills which the Reds need. Otherwise, keep both and use Kepp extensively in a utility role, he can play anywhere except centerfield and catcher.

    Kepp and Hopper add a lot to this club. Hopper gets base hit after base hit. He really has that skill which, again, the Reds don't have otherwise. He really is a good compliment to Hamilton in centerfield being right handed, leadoff hitter, decent defensively.

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    Big Red Machine RedsBaron's Avatar
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    Re: Norris Hopper and Jeff Keppinger....what is their future?

    They are both very useful backup players and, given their ages, probably at their peaks right about now. As spare parts they have value. As center-pieces, they would be way over-valued.
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    Re: Norris Hopper and Jeff Keppinger....what is their future?

    Quote Originally Posted by RedsBaron View Post
    They are both very useful backup players and, given their ages, probably at their peaks right about now. As spare parts they have value. As center-pieces, they would be way over-valued.
    Lock up the thread, conversation over.

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    The Lineups stink. KronoRed's Avatar
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    Re: Norris Hopper and Jeff Keppinger....what is their future?

    Quote Originally Posted by RedsBaron View Post
    They are both very useful backup players and, given their ages, probably at their peaks right about now. As spare parts they have value. As center-pieces, they would be way over-valued.
    RedsBaron for manager.
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    Stat Wanker Hodiernus RedsManRick's Avatar
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    Re: Norris Hopper and Jeff Keppinger....what is their future?

    Jeff Keppinger = Chris Stynes
    Norris Hopper = Bip Roberts

    Not perfect, but I think it works.
    Games are won on run differential -- scoring more than your opponent. Runs are runs, scored or prevented they all count the same. Worry about scoring more and allowing fewer, not which positions contribute to which side of the equation or how "consistent" you are at your current level of performance.

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    I hate the Cubs LoganBuck's Avatar
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    Re: Norris Hopper and Jeff Keppinger....what is their future?

    I like Keppinger and Hopper for reserve roles, and they would make difficult pinch hitters as well. With Hamilton's durability being a question, they provide depth. Freel and Castro must not be back however. Otherwise the bench becomes a quagmire.

    Hopper
    Keppinger
    Ross/Valentine
    Cantu
    Freel
    Castro
    The Sox traded Bullfrog the only player they've got for Shottenhoffen. Four-eyes Shottenhoffen a utility infielder. They've got a whole team of utility infielders.

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    Waitin til next year bucksfan2's Avatar
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    Re: Norris Hopper and Jeff Keppinger....what is their future?

    Quote Originally Posted by RedsManRick View Post
    Jeff Keppinger = Chris Stynes
    Norris Hopper = Bip Roberts

    Not perfect, but I think it works.
    If Hopper turns into Bip Roberts I would be estatic. Didn't Roberts win a batting title? I think too often we try to compare players to players in the past. I don't think Keppy is a clone to Stynes. Stynes was more of a hard nosed ball player who got by on grit and determination. I think Keppy is a smoother ball player who will hit for a high average, play average defense, and not hurt the club at all. IMO he is an ideal second baseman but unfortuantly for him the reds have Phillips cemented in that position for the forseeable future. I think too often we look and say well Keppinger can do this or that, however, if the guy can hit .320-.330 I think you have to find a spot in the lineup for him.

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    Re: Norris Hopper and Jeff Keppinger....what is their future?

    I'm a big Keppinger fan, I like what he brings to the table. I've never thought much of Hopper, but he just keeps on doing what he does, so IMO, those 2 make some people expendable. I'd like to see Wayne try to ship out Freel(don't let my screen name fool you ) and Gonzo for pitching. I know people worry about Hamilton's health and keeping Freel around as insurance, but I would have no problem bringing up Bruce if something along those lines happens.

    An Outfield of Dunn, Hamilton, Griffey, Hopper and guys like Jay Bruce, Buck Coats or even Dickerson waiting in the wings in AAA would work out just fine, IMO.

    Kepp is solid enough for me at SS, limited range and all.

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    THAT'S A FACT JACK!! GAC's Avatar
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    Re: Norris Hopper and Jeff Keppinger....what is their future?

    Add to that mix Cantu. He had a very solid '05 season. Don't let the '06 season numbers fool you. He struggled with injuries.

    It's actually quite nice to be in the position of having so many of these pieces, and yet trying to figure out who plays.

    SF made a good point on all these players and who to play on another thread.

    With Gonzo being hurt, and it being the end of the season who no hope, wouldn't it have been wise to do a little experimenting with Phillips at SS, and maybe trying Kepp and/or Cantu at 2B? What would it have hurt?
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    Re: Norris Hopper and Jeff Keppinger....what is their future?

    No Juan Castro, please.
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    He has the Evil Eye! flyer85's Avatar
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    Re: Norris Hopper and Jeff Keppinger....what is their future?

    they look to be bench players(something the Reds have sorely lacked in recent years). Thinking they are more than that is likely asking for trouble. Guys whose value is almost entirely tired to batting average(Hopper) really worry me, and guys who have a decent amount of their value tied up in batting average(Keppinger) concern me.

    In the case of Hopper, if his BA drops to what is still considered good( around 300 for Hopper), his offensive value disappears. To have offensive value he really needs to hit over .320, and he is still a marginal offensive OF at that point.
    Last edited by flyer85; 09-21-2007 at 04:47 PM.
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    Re: Norris Hopper and Jeff Keppinger....what is their future?

    Hopper is one of those guys that'd I'd fully support to "sell high". He's got the shiney BA. He's got the crafty bunt thing going. He plays a passible CF. Package him with Freel, or Coffee or a couple of minor leaguers, but I'd be working the phones for to see if someone will bite on the lead-off bunter deluxe. He's got the "tools" (and I use that phrase loosely) some baseball guys drool over.

    Kepp. He's the new Freel. First go-to guy in the infield. Can fill in nicely and hits well. He'd be a solid bench addition that is heads-and-shoulders above what we've had reciently.
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    Passion for the game Team Clark's Avatar
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    Re: Norris Hopper and Jeff Keppinger....what is their future?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kc61 View Post
    Folks on the game thread were critical of Kepp's range last night. With reason, the base hit through the middle would have been reached by true shortstops with good range.

    But despite his modest range, Kepp is extremely sure handed at short. Low error guy.

    If Gonzo were to get you back pitching, or if the Reds could use Gonzo's salary slot for pitching, I'd say move him and give Kepp the shortstop job, perhaps with a rangier guy as a backup. Perhaps he's not the ideal shortstop, but he has excellent OBP skills which the Reds need. Otherwise, keep both and use Kepp extensively in a utility role, he can play anywhere except centerfield and catcher.

    Kepp and Hopper add a lot to this club. Hopper gets base hit after base hit. He really has that skill which, again, the Reds don't have otherwise. He really is a good compliment to Hamilton in centerfield being right handed, leadoff hitter, decent defensively.
    These are the same folks who forget about the far ranging plays up the middle he has made this year. Kepp, like any infielder just got caught in a bad spot last night. It happens. He has the range. Not Gonzo range but he can do it. If Kepp plays 100 games and gets 350 AB's next season I would be happy as a fan. Same with Hopper.
    It's absolutely pathetic that people can't have an opinion from actually watching games and supplementing that with stats. If you voice an opinion that doesn't fit into a black/white box you will get completely misrepresented and basically called a tobacco chewing traditionalist...
    Cedric 3/24/08

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    Passion for the game Team Clark's Avatar
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    Re: Norris Hopper and Jeff Keppinger....what is their future?

    Quote Originally Posted by flyer85 View Post
    they look to be bench players(something the Reds have sorely lacked in recent years). Thinking they are more than that is likely asking for trouble. Guys whose value is almost entirely tired to batting average(Hopper) really worry me, and guys who have a decent amount of their value tied up in batting average(Keppinger) concern me.

    In the case of Hopper, if his BA drops to what is still considered good( around 300 for Hopper), his offensive value disappears. To have offensive value he really needs to hit over .320, and he is still a marginal offensive OF at that point.
    Agreed but in now way do I start working the phones as some have suggested. These guys are getting established and no playoff team wins with a a weak bench. Neither of these guys can bring the bullpen help that is needed and both are cheap. Hang on to them! Not to mention their attitude about their roles is phenomenal.
    It's absolutely pathetic that people can't have an opinion from actually watching games and supplementing that with stats. If you voice an opinion that doesn't fit into a black/white box you will get completely misrepresented and basically called a tobacco chewing traditionalist...
    Cedric 3/24/08


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