Jason Kubel Deserves Some Respect

Duane WinnCorrespondent IMay 19, 2009

CHICAGO - APRIL 07:  Jason Kubel #16 of the Minnesota Twins drops his bat to run against the Chicago White Sox during the Opening Day game on April 7, 2008 at U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

It seems that Jason Kubel of the Minnesota Twins is one of those MLB players who is destined to remain under the radar.

Under appreciated.



However, this state of affairs may not last very much longer if Kubel continues to swing the bat with nearly the same ferocity as his more famous teammates, Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau.

Kubel is hitting .336 with five home runs and 20 RBI, ranking him third or better for the Twins in each of those categories. Better still, he ranks second on the Twins in hits and runs scored, third in on-base percentage, and third in slugging percentage.

Solid enough numbers, but they're positively eye-opening when one considers that Kubel hasn't exactly sprinted out of the gate in either April or May during his Major League career.

In 2008, a career year for Kubel in which he authored lifetime bests in homers and RBI, and fell within .001 of matching his highest average, April (.237) and May (.247) ranked among his most unproductive months.

It's pretty clear that Kubel has taken his offense to a new level. On occasion, Kubel has even displayed a flair for the dramatic that seems more worthy of Mauer or Morneau.

During a two-game stretch against the Angels on Apr. 17-18, Kubel garnered eight hits which included hitting for the cycle in a game—a feat that included a grand slam to lift the Twins to a come-from-behind victory.

The feat earned him nationwide notoriety, but the spotlight didn't last long.

A month later, Kubel still isn't a household word, and it may be that there's just a fly-beneath-the-radar element to him that he'll never be able to shake.

The jury is still out whether he can become an everyday player rather than a designated hitter or platoon player.

Yet, this shouldn't diminish Kubel's considerable contribution to the Twins' cause this season.

He has been one of the few constants in a season which has already contained more valleys than peaks for the Twins.

The question is whether Kubel can maintain his offensive pace.

Kubel will turn 27 on May 25. According to sabermetrics guru Bill James, this is the age at which most MLB players produce a career year.

Such a year for Kubel would mean one less question for the Twins to answer as they search for a winning formula that they hope will lead them to an American League Central Division title.


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