Minnesota Twins: Six players poised for breakout seasons

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1. Max Kepler

In some minds, Max Kepler is a player that’s already broken out in the big leagues, but in my mind, that’s not the case. Simply put, he’s shown glimpses of potential, but hasn’t sustained enough success, particularly at the plate, to suggest he’s broken out by any means.

Notably, the outfielder only has a .239 average in a little over two full seasons with the Twins, although much of this has to do with him struggling against left-handed pitchers. Specifically, he bats a career .176 against lefties.

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Nevertheless, the potential in the 24-year-old is far beyond what he’s shown so far in his career with the Twins. In the minors, he was a career .281 hitter, so he’s clearly capable of being a better contact hitter. Not to mention, he’s bound to increase his power production after slugging a combined 36 in the last two seasons. Basically, as Kepler continues to fill out his body, he should only get stronger and knock out more balls over the fence.

Ultimately though, it comes down to him figuring out left-handed pitching as that’s his Achilles heel. If he can do so, expect a fantastic season from the promising, young outfielder. In reality, he has all the tools to become a great major league player, but he just has to put them all together. Look for hitting coach James Rowson to work with Kepler in the offseason and help him through his struggles as he did with the likes of Buxton and Polanco last season.

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Along with outfield mates Byron Buxton and Eddie Rosario, the Twins already make up a solid outfield grouping, but with a break out year from Kepler at the plate, they may become one of the best outfields in the league. So, let’s hope that Kepler indeed breaks and plays an even bigger role on the 2018 Twins.