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Max Kepler (OF, MIN) - Fantasy Baseball Draft Sleepers

BALLER MOVE: Draft target ~pick 230

CURRENT ADP: ~250 overall

ANALYSIS: After an obscure 2018 where he batted .224 with 20 HR, 80 R and 58 RBI, Max Kepler is still refining his overall game. Possessing good plate discipline skills is not something that's easily taught, but this is where Kepler makes a difference. The 24-year-old posted a career 15.4% K% in the minors to go along with a 10.6% BB%.

Kepler doesn’t possess earth-shattering power numbers for a player as big as himself. His best power season in the farm system was his Double-A year in which he hit nine bombs in 112 games as he slugged .531. He’s shown a steady rate of improvement through his three big league seasons, bashing 17, 19, and 20 HR per year. Kepler's 2018 year end number wasn’t the only stat that enhanced for the tall lefty.

Hitting the baseball to the pull side is the easiest way to knock it out of the park, it doesn’t take a scientist to figure that out. Kepler did a good job pulling his fly balls in his first two seasons at a 33.9% rate, but in 2018 it fell to 24.1%. Instead of hitting to the pull side, more of his batted balls flew to the deeper part of the park as he hit the ball to center field much more often. If Kepler can find the happy medium of pulling his fly balls while maintaining his 2018 FB%, his HR/FB should return to his career rate or possibly even higher.

Currently being selected at an ADP of 247, he’s going around outfielders with some playing time concerns like Randal Grichuk, Ian Happ and Jay Bruce. At this point in the draft, Kepler is a safe option to provide you with your counting stats and to fill out your final outfield position(s). With a secure floor, he has a ceiling that has still yet to be determined. Aware of how it could all click for him this year; the return value on Kepler will be lucrative.

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