The Minnesota Twins enter 2022 in somewhat of a retooling stage, and as the lockout drags on, we thought it would be fun to take a look at the Top 10 players the Minnesota Twins have right now, inspired by our friends at Nolan Writin’ and Reviewing the Brew.
For this list, we only included players who are currently the team’s best, meaning we left off players like Alex Kirilloff, whose potential is high but hasn’t performed as much as other players on this list or Kenta Maeda, who has performed well in the past but was awful last year and will miss most of (if not all) of this year.
We start off the list with right fielder Max Kepler. Kepler hasn’t been the Twins’ best player over the last couple of years, as injuries and some struggles with left-handed hitting have taken their toll on the outfielder, but there’s no denying he’s among the Twins’ best players.
First, there’s the speed. Kepler tied for second on the Minnesota Twins with 10 steals last season. On a team that is desperate for any type of speed, he offers some baserunning ability that allows the team to get into scoring position.
Next, there’s the ability to get on base and limit strikeouts. Despite a brutal .211 batting average last year, Kepler earned a .306 on-base percentage. That’s still not a very good number, but very few players can earn an OBP that’s 95 points higher than his batting average.
He’s also a strong defender. He plays extremely well in right field, and his ability to shift over to center field in a pinch is a huge plus, especially when Byron Buxton often is missing time. It’s part of what makes him a positive WAR player, even in his off years.
Lastly, there’s the power. Despite playing 121 games and only earning 90 hits, Kepler still managed 19 home runs, 4 triples, and 21 doubles, good enough for a .413 slugging percentage. He finished sixth on the team in that category, and his advanced numbers suggest he could be in line for even better numbers this year.
Despite a down year in typical baseball numbers, Kepler still finished in the 60th percentile or higher in average exit velocity, max exit velocity, hard-hit percentage, xwOBA, xSLG, barrel percentage, walk percentage, and sprint speed. He should bounce back.
He has a big year coming up in 2022, and he needs to prove that he can return to 2019 form, but for right now, Max Kepler is the perfect player to start off this list of Top 10 players.