9 under the radar trade targets the Mets should pursue
The Mets are looking for a replacement for Michael Conforto. Could Max Kepler be the guy?
Kepler’s best season was in 2019 when he hit 36 homers, 32 doubles, slugged .519, had an OPS of .855, an OPS+ of 123, and fWAR of 4.5. He is coming off of a down season in 2021 where he slashed .211/.306/.413/.719 with 19 homers, 21 doubles, 54 RBI’s, and 61 runs scored. His OPS+ was 98, his wRC+ was 95, and his fWAR was 1.9.
The lefty’s Savant metrics show that he had some bad luck this year. All of his metrics are above average, with his lowest being expected batting average in the 54th percentile. Kepler commands the strike zone really well, being in the 93rd percentile in chase rate and 77th percentile in walk rate. His hard-hit metrics are also fairly good, he was in the 61st percentile in hard hit rate and average exit velocity, and 71st percentile in barrel rate.
Kepler is an outstanding defender in right field, where he gets most of his playing time. In 2021, he had a DRS of nine and an OAA of seven. He was in the 95th percentile in OAA, 78th percentile in outfielder jump, and he’s got some speed too (60th percentile in spring speed).
Kepler is under contract for two more seasons, plus he has a club option for 2024. The Twins started a rebuild last year, non-tendering Eddie Rosario and trading Jose Berrios to Toronto for prospects who won’t be ready for a couple of years. Since they won’t be contending until after Kepler’s contract is over, they may make him available this winter.