Max Kepler Minnesota Twins

Age: 29 (February 10, 1993) | 6' 4" | 225lbs. | Bats: Left OF-114 RF-2 DH-4
Tm Lg YEAR G AB R H BB SO 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BA OBP SLG BB% SO% BABIP G/L/F % $4x4 $5x5
MIN AL 2018 156 532 80 119 71 96 30 4 20 58 4 5 .224 .319 .408 12 16 .236 38/16/46 11 12
MIN AL 2019 134 524 98 132 60 99 32 0 36 90 1 5 .252 .336 .519 10 17 .244 36/17/47 19 19
MIN AL 2020 48 171 27 39 22 36 9 0 9 23 3 0 .228 .321 .439 11 18 .236 32/22/46 16 16
MIN AAA 2021 3 11 0 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 .091 .091 .091 0 9 .100 n/a
MIN AL 2021 121 426 61 90 54 96 21 4 19 54 10 0 .211 .306 .413 11 20 .225 37/19/44 12 12
MIN AL 2022 67 229 33 55 34 39 11 1 8 35 2 1 .240 .342 .402 13 14 .254 44/19/37 7 7
Career 8yrs 789 2796 418 653 330 576 155 13 128 392 32 14 .234 .319 .436 10 18 .248 n/a
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From Eno Sarris today at The Athletic:

... The changes were ostensibly made to find a more consistent ball and a more consistent offensive environment for players, but that hasn’t been the lived-in experience around baseball.

“The balls are a little mushy some days, and then the next day they’re 2019 balls,” said Twins outfielder Max Kepler. “I feel like there’s a mixture of balls, it’s not just one ball.”

Phillies hitting coach Kevin Long told The Athletic’s Jayson Stark something similar.

“You just want consistency, and there was a lot of inconsistency,” Long said. “And then I picked up the balls in L.A. They were completely different. They were darker. They seemed to be harder. They just seemed to be a different baseball. But I don’t know. That’s just from feel and look and appearance. I mean, I’m not a scientist. I can’t tell you for sure. I just know the ball seemed to be traveling much better.”

But at some point, the players need to play, and need to figure out how to play this year, with this ball.

“I noticed early on this year that I hit three balls that my hitting coach said should’ve been homers, according to launch angle and exit velocity, and I thought that’s interesting,” Kepler said. “I was getting info from other players with the same sort of reviews, that some balls just aren’t going and they’re getting all of them, so I thought if I could find a balance between fly balls and line drives, then I’ll be sitting pretty.”

When it comes to Kepler, the adjustment — which is apparent in the numbers — has brought him immediate rewards at least when it comes to one facet of his game.

Max Kepler benefitting from lower angles
SEASONLAUNCH ANGLEAVG
202213.00.259
202116.30.211
202021.90.228

It makes sense that hitting in lower angles would produce a better batting average, since the best angles for line drives (around zero to 16 degrees) are lower than the best angles for home runs (16 to 32). So, the lower average launch angle for Kepler is showing us some signal that his batting average will be better. Good adjustment!

“It could be, it could be. I don’t know if batting average is the thing anymore, though,” Kepler said with a smile.

... For the other guys adding line drives, we’ll have to see if it was a good decision. The dumbest thing about all of this is that the humidors could have a much different effect as we head into the wetter months of peak summer, when they’ll draw water out of the balls instead of putting it in. You’d hate to change your approach to fit a situation just to see it change, but that’s the life of baseball players today.

“Too much information maybe,” shrugged Kepler. “We’re getting to a point where we’re overflowing with info, in all aspects of life and you don’t know what to believe sometimes.”

Alex Patton Alex
May 20

Statcast xBA: .252

Statcast xSA: .442

Alex Patton Alex
Jan 27
2020: EV 88.5 HardHit 38% Barrel 5% HR/FB 14% LA 21.9 Pull 44% Cent 31% Oppo 25%
2021: EV 89.8 HardHit 43% Barrel 11% HR/FB 13% LA 16.3 Pull 43% Cent 35% Oppo 23%
Alex Patton Alex
Dec 16 '21