Mets buy-low trade candidate: Max Kepler
Max Kepler has been an extra-base hit machine and defensive star in right field for several years, but coming off of a down year that was also shortened by injury, his value might be at its all-time low.
Kepler played in 115 games last season. He slashed .227/.318/.348/.666 with nine homers, 18 doubles, 54 runs scored, and 43 RBI’s. His OPS+ was 93. He dealt with a nagging wrist injury that caused him to miss time throughout the second half of the season, sapped his power, and ultimately ended his season with an IL stint in the middle of September.
His Baseball Savant page reflects his wrist injury. His average exit velocity (51st percentile), hard hit rate (49th percentile), and barrel rate (45th percentile) were below his usual numbers. However, a lot of the other numbers still look good. He was in the 88th percentile in strikeout rate, 84th percentile in walk rate, 80th percentile in chase rate and xBA, and 78th percentile in whiff rate.
Kepler was also in the 97th percentile in Outs Above Average (OAA). He had 12 OAA in right field this year, even with missing significant time due to injury. He was in the 72nd percentile in arm strength and 68th in jump too.
The lefty is under team control for 2023 for $8.5 million and he comes with a $10 million club option for 2024. For Kepler’s athleticism in the field and the type of production he’s capable of at the plate, that’s pretty cheap. Factor in that the Mets need a left-handed power bat and this is a guy who should definitely be on their radar this offseason.