Jason Kubel: A Potential Breakout Player in 2009

Forrest Kobayashi@forrestkobaSenior Analyst IApril 18, 2009

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - APRIL 6: Jason Kubel #16 of the Minnesota Twins runs out an infield ground ball in a game against the Seattle Mariners at the Metrodome on April 6, 2009 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Scott A. Schneider/Getty Images)

Jason Kubel, an outfielder and designated hitter for the Minnesota Twins, broke out last night.  He hit for the cycle, including a grand slam home run that won the game for the Twinkies.  Most people have never heard of the guy, considering that he plays in Minnesota, but Kubel is an interesting player that deserves a second look by most fantasy owners.

What can Kubel contribute to your fantasy roster in 2009, if you decide to roster him?

Simply put, Kubel has legitimate power.  In 2007 (and 418 at bats), Kubel smashed 13 home runs.  In 2008, he got a few more at bats (463), and proceeded to hit 20 home runs.  Those numbers represent developing power, and Kubel has an upside of 25-30 home runs this season if he can continue to take the at-bats.

Kubel won’t hurt your batting average, either.  He has had contact rates of 81 and 80 percent the last two seasons, which is solid.  His batting averages during the past two seasons have been .273 and .272, respectively.  At the prime age of 26, expect a slight improvement on that end.  He should bat .275-.280 this season.

Speed?  No, Kubel does not steal bases.  In 2007, he stole five, but in 2008, he didn’t steal a single one.  Don’t expect to get any steals from this guy.

All that being said, Kubel is a nice developing designated hitter who should have some big games for the Minnesota Twins this year.  He is worth speculating on, and is a solid pickup in all formats.  He could have a breakout season this year, so don’t hesitate to put him on your reserve list and monitor how he continues to hit.

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