Results tagged ‘ Jason Kubel ’

All-Decade Team: Infield

All-Decade.png
The year is changing to 2010, and the first decade of the 21st century is coming to an end. It has without a doubt been an interesting 10 years for the Minnesota Twins as they’ve faced contraction, made the playoffs in five of the past eight seasons, and put forth two great comebacks. 
Several Minnesota Twins’ bloggers and writers were sent questionnaires to help put together the All-Decade team, and four responded: Seth Stohs from SethSpeaks.net, John Bonnes from TwinsGeek, Nick Nelson from Nick’s Twins Blog, and Michael Rand from RandBall, all made their picks for the best of the decade.
Catcher
Who played: Matt LeCroy, A.J. Pierzynski, Henry Blanco, Joe Mauer
Seth
Stohs
John
Bonnes
Nick
Nelson
Michael
Rand
Alex
Catcher
Joe
Mauer
Joe
Mauer
Joe
Mauer
Joe
Mauer
Joe
Mauer

Joe Mauer was the unanimous selection at catcher, and the reasoning in pretty simple. After being injured during his rookie season in 2004, Mauer began taking off with his first full season in 2005.
In 2006 Mauer became the first American League catcher to ever win a batting title, and he won a second in 2008 and a third in 2009. He made the All-Star Game three times, won two Gold Glove awards, was chosen as a Silver Slugger winner twice, and capped off the incredible decade with an American League MVP award.
The decade was great to Mauer, and the greatest hope for the new decade is that Mauer will again be in Minnesota. 
First BaseWho player: Ron Coomer, Doug Mientkiewicz, Justin Morneau

Seth
Stohs
John
Bonnes
Nick
Nelson
Michael
Rand
Alex
First
Base
Justin
Morneau
Justin
Morneau
Justin
Morneau
Justin
Morneau
Justin
Morneau

Much like his good friend and teammate Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau was the unanimous selection at first base. Morneau received his first opportunity in 2003, and took over first base full time when the team traded Doug Mientkiewicz in 2004.
In 2006, Morneau broke out. He hit 30 homeruns on his way to winning the American League MVP award, and was an integral part to a historic second half comeback. In the past decade, Morneau made the All-Star Game three times, won two Silver Slugger awards, and won the 2008 Homerun Derby.
Second BaseWho played: Jay Canizaro, Luis Rivas, Nick Punto, Luis Castillo, Alexi Casilla

Seth
Stohs
John
Bonnes
Nick
Nelson
Michael
Rand
Alex
Second
Base
Luis
Castillo
Luis
Castillo
Luis
Castillo
Luis
Castillo
Luis
Castillo

Rolling along with the unanimous selections, Luis Castillo was selected as the second baseman of the decade. The Twins acquired Castillo before the 2006 season, and played in Minnesota for two years.
In 2006, Castillo was an integral part to the historic comeback, hitting .296 with 25 stolen bases. In his two seasons combined in Minneapolis, Castillo hit .299 with 3 homeruns and 67 RBI.
Third BaseWho played: Corey Koskie, Michael Cuddyer, Nick Punto, Brian Buscher, Joe Crede

Seth
Stohs
John
Bonnes
Nick
Nelson
Michael
Rand
Alex
Third
Base
Corey
Koskie
Corey
Koskie
Corey
Koskie
Corey
Koskie
Corey
Koskie

Corey Koskie was a fan favorite, and he was also the last player at third base before the position became a consistent question mark. Koskie played in Minnesota for seven season, with five coming in the decade.
In seven seasons with the Twins, Koskie hit .280 with 101 homeruns and 437 RBI. He played a solid third base defensively, and appeared in the playoffs in three seasons for the team. 
ShortstopWho played: Cristian Guzman, Jason Bartlett, Nick Punto, Orlando Cabrera

Seth
Stohs
John
Bonnes
Nick
Nelson
Michael
Rand
Alex
Shortstop
Cristian
Guzman
Cristian
Guzman
Cristian
Guzman
Cristian
Guzman
Cristian
Guzman

Rounding out the unanimous selections in the infield is shortstop Cristian Guzman. Guzman played in Minneapolis for six seasons, and five of those seasons came in the decade.
Guzman began his career in 1999, and in 2001 he established himself as he represented the Twins in the All-Star Game. In six seasons with the Twins, Guzman his .266 with 39 homeruns, 289 RBI and 102 stolen bases. 

Designated Hitter
Who played: David Ortiz, Matt LeCroy, Jose Offerman, Rondell White, Jason Kubel
Seth
Stohs
John
Bonnes
Nick
Nelson
Michael
Rand
Alex
Designated
Hitter
Jason
Kubel
Jason
Kubel
Jason
Kubel
Jason
Kubel
Jason
Kubel

Had David Ortiz played longer in Minnesota, he may have been the choice as the designated hitter of the decade. He didn’t however, and the title deservingly goes to Jason Kubel. Kubel has been in Minnesota for six years, and has played five seasons.
Knee injuries hindered Kubel’s career in the early years, but in 2007 he started becoming the player everybody expected. In five seasons as a Twin, Kubel has hit .278 with 71 homeruns and 279 RBI. He nearly hit 30 homeruns during the 2009 season, and received an MVP vote. 

Overlooking Jason Kubel

While Justin Morneau has put himself on pace for career numbers and Joe Mauer has put himself on pace for historical numbers, the third wheel in the Minnesota Twins’ left-handed combination has been widely overlooked.

Jason Kubel entering the season had career highs of 20 homeruns and 78 runs batted in. With yet another productive game in the series opener with Cleveland on Friday night, Kubel continued to make progress toward a career year.
Kubel currently has 20 homeruns to match his career high, and is only 10 RBI shy of his career high in that category. With 46 games remaining in the season, Kubel finds himself on pace for 29 homeruns, 100 RBI, and quite possibly most impressive, a .312 batting average.
No doubt already overlooked behind Morneau and Mauer, Kubel has been overlooked among everyday designated hitters as well. Out of seven qualified designated hitters, Kubel finds himself at the top or in the upper tier in most categories.
Kubel vs DH.pngThe numbers include totals from games where the players have moved into other positions onoccasion, and while Kubel is behind Adam Lind of Toronto in the homerun and RBI departments, he has nearly 80 fewer at-bats.
With Kubel playing in the outfield on occasion, his numbers at the plate can be compared to other outfielders. Nelson Cruz was an American League All-Star this season, and Kubel stacks up quite well:
Kubel vs Cruz.png
While Kubel has hit five fewer homeruns, he has outdone Cruz in the batting average category by over 40 points and has 10 more RBI. He also has a higher slugging percentage and his on-base percentage is nearly 50 points higher.
Stacked up against his fellow designated hitters and All-Star Nelson Cruz, Kubel proves to be no slouch. Amongst all American Leaguers, Kubel ranks 10th in batting average, 7th in OPS, and 6th in slugging.
On pace for career numbers, totals that will place him near the 30/100 mark if correctly projected, Kubel has been one of the league’s best. Nonetheless, he has been lost by the general baseball fans behind superstars Justin Morneau and Joe Mauer.

On Pace: Hitters

With a 5-hour, 16-inning game, the Minnesota Twins have played 81 games in the 2009 season; signifying the completion of half of the season. Through the midway point, the Twins find themselves one game above .500 with a record of 41-40 (compared to 44-37 last season).

The Twins have some work to do in the second half if they hope to make the playoffs. Some players will need to step up, while others will need to continue their first half production. After three months, many players are on pace for career numbers.
** Denard Span is on pace to hit for a .292 average, hit 9 homeruns, and drive in 58 runners. More impressive is his projection to walk 74 times, collect 171 hits and score 97 runs from the leadoff spot.
** Joe Mauer is on pace to knock out a career high 34 homeruns and collect 110 runs batted in. In addition to those eye-popping numbers, Mauer is projected to collect 201 hits despite missing the first month of the season. Some other key projections include a .390 average and 78 walks compared to only 69 strikeouts.
** Justin Morneau is on pace to reach a career high in the homerun department with 38 and in the RBI category with 131 runs batted in. Some other key projections include 191 hits and 42 doubles; all while hitting .311.
** Jason Kubel is on pace to hit a career high 28 homeruns and drive in a career high 90 runners. The career high projections also carry over into the hits and average categories where Kubel is on pace to collect 163 hits and hit for a .304 average.
** Michael Cuddyer is on pace to hit .280 with 25 homeruns and 92 runs batted in. The thus far healthy right fielder is also projected to collect 38 doubles and an astonishing 10 triples.
** Joe Crede is on pace to provide some of the best production from third base in quite some time. The powerful right-hander is projected to hit 28 homeruns, drive in 83 runners, and possibly most impressively, be the best defensive third basemen in all of baseball.
** Delmon Young has had a down year, but is starting to heat up which could alter his projections. The youngster is on pace to hit 8 homeruns, drive in 62 runners, and collect 124 hits in only 132 games.
** Brendan Harris is on pace for a solid year with projections of 9 homeruns and 48 runs batted in (compared to projections of 9 HR and 47 RBI midway last season) over the course of a projected 149 games. Harris is also on pace to tie a career high 149 hits and a .280 batting average.
** Nick Punto is on pace for 37 runs batted in, Matt Tolbert is on pace for 32 runs batted in, Brian Buscher is on pace for 6 homeruns and 26 runs batted in, Carlos Gomez is on pace for 2 homeruns and 26 runs batted in, Jose Morales is one pace to hit .356, and Mike Redmond is on pace for 16 runs batted in.
Due to lack of games, both Alexi Casilla and Jason Pridie were excluded from the list.
The second half of the “On Pace” series, the pitchers, is due up next.
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