Max Kepler’s breakout season was one of the biggest reasons the Minnesota Twins won their division last season. Will he be able to keep up that success?
Max Kepler put together his best season as a member of the Minnesota Twins last year, posting a .255 average, an .855 OPS, 36 homers, and 90 RBIs, all career highs on offense. His defense was elite as well, as he was the only Twin (minimum 20 innings) to have a fielding percentage of 1.000, meaning he didn’t make a single error throughout the year. These numbers, while excellent, were better than the stats posted in previous seasons. Kepler had never hit over 20 homers, had never reached 70 RBIs, or slashed anything close to his .252/.336/.519 line. This breakout has led to a lot of questions leading up to the Twins season opener in late March, questions such as:
-“Will he fall back to his old numbers?”
-“Was it a one year boost because of the new coaching staff?”
-“Will his number drop without (hitting coach) James Rowson and (bench coach) Derek Shelton?”
While these doubts are easy to develop here in Minnesota, where fans have watched many a player give Minnesotans hope, just to be let down (in a devastating fashion), it may not be time for pessimism yet. Max Kepler’s production offers three main reasons for hope in the 2021 season, so before any more worrying can take place, let’s get into it.