Monday, July 23, 2007

Cue-Ball Isn't A Total Scratch

Kubel Not As Bad As His Rap
Twins OF/DH is pretty average for 4th OF

By The Bullpen Catcher
Jason Kubel (photo courtesy of, the Twins scruffy left-handed outfielder/designated hitter, is the latest in a series of Minnesota players to have the tag of "we're waiting for him to play to his potential."

Sure Kubel destroyed his knee in Arizona Fall League in 2004, and sure he was a hell of a prospect then, but let's face it -- he is what he is. The tired mantra associated with Kubel (when he gets healthy, just you wait) has to go. He simply isn't the same kid who hit .347 between Class AA New Britain, AAA Rochester and the Twins in 2004 (24 HR, 107 RBI). That knee ain't gettin' any newer.

That said, let's assume he is who he is. Put away the what-ifs. Trash the potential. Look at the facts. Kubel's played 80 games so far this year -- the most in a single season during his short major league career -- and his hitting about .250 with 17 2B, 8 HR, and 40 RBI.

While not exactly A-Rod numbers, those aren't too bad to stomach, are they? Consider again that he is the fourth outfielder (Twins top three should be Hunter, Cuddyer and Rondie White) and a second-year player on a Major League roster, these aren't bad numbers. He's played 13 games as a DH, and it's safe to say he's not cut out for that role. But as someone making the Major League minimum ($387,500) he's sufficient. Frankly, we cheered these stats from fourth outfielders Bobby Kielty and Dustan Mohr. Remember when Mohr/Kielty were the ballyhooed platoon in right during the 2002-2003 seasons?

Mohr averaged 120 games, 366 AB, 95 H, .260 BA, 23 2B, 11 HR, and 41 RBI.

Rusty Kielty over the same two seasons averaged 125 G (62 with Toronto after the trade for Shannon Stewart), 358 AB, 94 H, .263 BA, 20 2B, 13 HR, and 52 RBI.

The problem simply isn't Kubel. The problem is Rondell White. The problem with Rondell White is he doesn't play -- ever. The knock on Rondie when he came to the Twins was he was oft-injured. Guess what? They were right. Kubel's doing his job. The potential may still be there for Kubel, but I don't want to hear it anymore. He's doing his job at this time. Now it's time for another outfielder to allow him to play his role and grow.

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