Max Kepler is known for many things. Being devilishly handsome. Elite defense in the outfield. And most importantly, hitting into the god damn shift.Well, thanks to a new set of rules set to be implemented next season, we could be looking at the new-old Max Kepler.
The Impact on MLB
Starting in 2023, teams will now have to have two fielders on either side of second base. They must also keep both feet completely within the dirt of the field. Theoretically, this means more hits for those who are unable to hit to the other field. More hits equals more runs. That’s what the game needs to stay relevant. Every out as a result of the shift is a possible hit and/or run taken away!With this new ban, duds that only pull the ball may start to see success at the plate once more. The likes of Joey Gallo and Anthony Rizzo may soon see their groundouts turn into base hits once more. This could not only breathe life into what many are calling a “dying game”, but rejuvenate our Max Kepler.
The Impact on Kepler
2022 has been fucking rough year for Kepler. He was hot around May but that disappeared the second his name came up in trade talks. You’ll see there is a large concentration of outs in shallow right field, which is where teams play him.But there is also another issue with Kepler. He’s hitting too many ground balls. 45.7% of balls put into play have been ground balls. That’s a tremendously large number for someone that has never been considered a contact hitter. I’d rather see a fly ball out to show there has been some sort of adjustment at the plate. No longer having the shift to worry about is nice. But if you hit a feeble ground ball to the right side, it doesn’t matter. Shift or not, you’re out. Even if Kepler returns to last years number of 37.1% (for Ground Balls), he’ll see that batting average creep up.
If Kepler can come close to his 2019 level of offense, I’ll be happy and so will the Twins. That is the player we all envisioned him being. We need him if we have any hope in hell of being competitive in this shit division. Let’s all welcome 2023 with open arms.
Former professional High School Baseball player. 12 Handicap Golfer. Patrick Reusse blocked me for calling him old.