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Saturday, March 16, 2019

2019 FANTASY BASEBALL DRAFT SLEEPER: MAX KEPLER OUTFIELDER MINNESOTA TWINS

When the Minnesota Twins inked outfielder Max Kepler to a contract extension earlier in spring training, it signaled that the team was all-in on their young slugger and that they envision some good times ahead in terms of numbers.  Having turned 26 this past February, Kepler came off a 2018 campaign that was decent but also lacking in some areas as the numbers came in as follows:

.224
20 HR
58 RBI
80 R
4 SB
.236 BABIP
15.7 K/9
11.6 BB/9

Looking at the numbers above, the home runs were pretty decent and the runs scored not too shabby as well.  The .224 average was hideous though and that statistic really carried the day for Kepler in terms of how the fantasy baseball community viewed him.  While that number was quite ugly, it is imperative that you dig in deeper under the hood on Kepler and on that front, things actually look pretty promising.  For one thing, Kepler's .236 BABIP was tremendously unlucky and that alone helped drive the average down.  In addition, Kepler actually was terrific both with his walk rate (11.6 BB/9) and strikeouts (15.7 BB/9) as those numbers combined together look more like someone who can hit .300.  With Kepler looking like he has another level of power to tap into, we could be looking at 25 homers with a vastly improved average and solid counting numbers in runs and RBI this season for the price of a very late-round pick.  While Kepler is quite boring on the surface due to the fact he doesn't steal bases, upside plays like this in the late rounds can serve as league winners. 

2019 PROJECTION:  .267 23 HR 74 RBI 88 R 6 SB  


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