Minnesota Twins: 5 Things that need to go right for 2018 success
Kepler hits lefties
This list could really include something about each of the Twins young outfield trio. Kepler is the one that we need to see the most from out of the trio. If he can prove the ability to be more than a platoon player will be good not because platooning is bad. Plenty of teams have utilized platoons in very effective ways. It is more about the potential that lies within Kepler’s bat.
Kepler’s total 2017 stat line was .243/.312/.425 and a .737 OPS as well as 19 home runs and 32 doubles. There is some positive momentum in those numbers. Once we take a look at the right and left handed splits it becomes apparent how much better Kepler could become.
Kepler against righties hit .272/.343/.484, a .828 OPS, and 17 home runs and 29 doubles. That was an improvement from his 2016 season. When the pitcher becomes one as the same handedness as Kepler his numbers dropped to, .152/.213/.240, a .452 OPS, two home runs and three doubles.
What will happen if Kepler doesn’t figure out this part of his game is the platoon discussion will have to become front and center. Right now, the most obvious answer would be that Zack Granite would step into that role. Even though he is also a left-handed hitter he has good splits when facing lefties. In the majors, last season Granite slashed .353/.450/.529. The downfall of Granite as a platoon is the Twins would lose a lot of power potential.
Kepler simply has the opportunity to be a very good major league player if he figures out lefties. With World Series aspirations, the Twins need as many very good season performances as possible.