Max Kepler Ranked Top-10 MLB Right Fielder by ‘The Athletic’… and Should Be Higher

Minnesota Twins' Max Kepler watches his ball after hitting a two-run home run off Cleveland Indians starting pitcher Trevor Bauer in the third inning of a baseball game, Thursday, June 6, 2019, in Cleveland. (Tony Dejak / AP)

When you think of right fielders, you are not typically drawn to them due to their All-Star defense. They have historically been the position managers hide away the players who only contribute in the batter’s box. 

That leads us to The Athletic’s most recent position rankings. With the Twins’ Max Kepler slotted into the eighth spot, there should be a lot of optimism from the Minnesota faithful.

After a season in which Kepler posted a .252/.336/.519 slash-line with an absurd OPS of .855 and OPS+ of 122 alongside 36 home runs, 90 RBIs, and a career-high WAR of 4.1… it’s actually surprising he isn’t ranked higher. 


Right field is a packed position at the top with the likes of Christian Yelich, Mookie Betts, Ronald Acuna Jr., Aaron Judge, and Bryce Harper. But it still baffles me that Kepler did not come in sixth or seventh on the list right behind these stars.

Michael Conforto of the Mets and Joey Gallo of the Rangers rank above Kepler on this list. While they outdid him in a few areas (Barrel%, xwOBA, Hard Hit%) Kepler was the superior defensive player over both. 

His perfect fielding percentage, eight Defensive Runs Saved, and 12.7 Ultimate Zone Rating blows both Conforto (.988 Fld%, -4 DRS, -1.3 UZR) and Gallo (.974 Fld%, 5 DRS, 5.2 UZR) out of the park. 

Kepler has not been selected to an All-Star team, as the other two have, but he has picked up a Top-20 finish in MVP voting. Kepler has certainly proven his worth as a better all-around player than Conforto or Gallo.

Throw in a team-friendly contract (five-years, $35 million with a 2024 team option) and it looks like Kepler will be with the Twins long term. Kepler is one thicc bih and a devilishly handsome man that makes everyone swoon. Give me Kepler in our lineup every day of the week.

Jack | Minnesota Sports Fan

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