MLB

StaTuesday: The Twins' Max Kepler and German-born players

Max Kepler watches the action at 2013 Twins Spring Training.

Max Kepler watches the action at 2013 Twins Spring Training.

When this season's Southern League's Most Valuable Player takes the field for the first time he'll become the 43rd German-born player to appear in the majors.

When it comes to producing major leaguers, Germany has actually had the third-most players of any European country, trailing only Ireland and the United Kingdom, with 47 each. (However, only one player born in Ireland has appeared in a major-league game since 1918, and that was for one game in 1945.)

There are actually three other active major leaguers who were born in Germany: Miami's Jeff Baker, Atlanta's Edwin Jackson and Philadelphia's Aaron Altherr.

More from FoxSports

Of the 42 previous players born in Germany, only 16 have been since 1947. In fact, there was a a30-year game between Heinz Becker (1943-47) and Mickey Scott (1972-77).

That isn't to say Kepler has an easy path to being the best German-born player ever. Here's the list of the top-10 German-born players by plate appearances (as to knock out the pitchers, although one of the below both pitched and played outfield in the 19th century). Included are: several with nicknames which we'd probably consider politically incorrect nowadays, the first baseman who took over for Hall of Famer George Sisler when he had to miss a season and a former Twins manager:

PLAYER YEARS GAMES HR SB BAVG OBP SLG
Glenn Hubbard 1978-89 1,354 70 35 .244 .328 .349
Bill Kuehne 1883-92 1,085 25 150 .232 .258 .337
Mike Blowers 1989-99 761 78 7 .257 .329 .416
Jeff Baker 2005-active 748 54 14 .264 .318 .432
Fritz Mollwitz 1913-19 534 1 70 .241 .278 .294
Fritz Buelow 1899-1907 431 6 20 .192 .238 .251
Pretzels Getzien 1884-92 303 8 17 .198 .257 .275
Ben Koehler 1905-06 804 2 31 .233 .295 .281
Ron Gardenhire 1981-85 285 4 13 .232 .277 .296
Dutch Schliebner 1923 146 4 4 .271 .333 .362

If Kepler can live up to his promise and his minor-league statistics -- he batted .322 with a .416 on-base percentage and .531 slugging percentage with 18 steals in 112 games for Double-A Chattanooga this season -- he should be able to climb up this list in no time and have a chance to be just the third German-born player to make an All-Star team, joining Hubbard and Jackson.

Follow Dave Heller on Twitter