Jason Kubel
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Jason Kubel

Jason Kubel
AAAA8569 Jason Kubel.jpg
Kubel with the Minnesota Twins
Outfielder / Designated hitter
Born: (1982-05-25) May 25, 1982 (age 37)
Belle Fourche, South Dakota
Batted: Left Threw: Right
MLB debut
August 31, 2004, for the Minnesota Twins
Last MLB appearance
June 6, 2014, for the Minnesota Twins
MLB statistics
Batting average.262
Home runs140
Runs batted in564
Teams

Jason James Kubel (born May 25, 1982) is an American former professional baseball player. He played in Major League Baseball (MLB) for the Minnesota Twins, Arizona Diamondbacks, and Cleveland Indians.

A Belle Fourche, South Dakota native, Kubel was drafted by the Twins in the 12th round of the 2000 MLB draft after playing at Highland High School.

Early life

Jason Kubel was born May 25, 1982 in Belle Fourche, South Dakota to Myron and Debbie Kubel. His family moved to Palmdale California, where he played baseball at Highland High School in Palmdale, California. Kubel had a .491 batting average during his sophomore and junior years at Highland. He was ranked the number 50 high school prospect by Baseball America.[1] Kubel signed a letter of intent to play college baseball for the Long Beach State Dirtbags.[2]

Professional career

Minor leagues

In 2004 Kubel played outfield in the Twins' minor league system, starting out with the AA New Britain Rock Cats, where Kubel batted .377 in 37 games before being promoted to the Twins' AAA affiliate, the Rochester Red Wings. His impressive play landed him a place in the 2004 All-Star Futures Game.[3] Kubel's play impressed manager Ron Gardenhire enough to warrant a call-up to the majors for the Twins' American League Central Division championship run in September. Kubel played well over the course of 23 games, batting .300 over 67 plate appearances.

Kubel suffered a serious knee injury in the Arizona Fall League later that year, which caused him to miss the entire 2005 season.[4]

Minnesota Twins

Kubel's clutch June 13, 2006 grand slam.

Kubel returned to action in spring training 2006, made the Twins' opening day roster, and started in right field on Opening Day. However, he got off to a slow start at the plate and was optioned to Triple-A Rochester on April 16, 2006. Kubel returned to the Twins lineup on May 23, 2006, as a replacement for the injured Shannon Stewart. He hit well in his return, including a walk-off grand slam against the Boston Red Sox in the 12th inning at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome on June 13, 2006.[5] After that, continued soreness in his knees limited his playing time and success for the rest of the 2006 season.

Kubel's 2007 statistics showed improvement, playing 128 games with 418 at-bats. On July 6, 2007, Kubel drove in a career high seven runs in a 20-14 victory over the Chicago White Sox.

Kubel in a 2008 plate appearance at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome.

During the 2008 season, Kubel primarily served as the designated hitter slot due to the acquisition of left fielder Delmon Young from the Tampa Bay Rays. Kubel hit well in the clutch and provided much needed power in the middle of the Twins' lineup.[6]

The 2009 season proved to be Kubel's most productive to date. On April 17, Kubel hit for the cycle against the Los Angeles Angels in the Metrodome. After a double in the 1st inning, single in the 3rd, triple in the 6th, and strikeout in the 7th, Kubel capped the Twins' 7-run 8th inning with an upper deck grand slam to right-center field, which would prove decisive in the Twins' 11-9 victory. Kubel finished the game 4 for 5 with 2 runs scored and 5 RBI. On June 4, Kubel hit two three-run home runs in an 11-3 win over the Cleveland Indians and hit another pair of three-run home runs to help defeat the Kansas City Royals on October 4. For his efforts, Kubel would be honored with a 24th-place finish in AL MVP voting that year.[7]

The 2010 Minnesota Twins increasingly called on Kubel to play in the field, due to a number of roster changes and injuries. Following the trade that sent center fielder Carlos Gómez to the Brewers for all-star shortstop J. J. Hardy, and the off-season acquisition of veteran slugger Jim Thome to fill the designated hitter position, Kubel found himself being used as a utility player and pinch hitter. However, due to the defensive shifting resulting from Justin Morneau's ongoing health issues, Kubel settled in as the Twins' right fielder, platooning with Michael Cuddyer. On April 12, Kubel hit the first home run in a regular-season game at Target Field, helping the Twins christen their new stadium in a 5-2 victory over the Boston Red Sox. On May 16, Kubel hit a grand slam off legendary closer Mariano Rivera to help the Twins beat the Yankees[8]. It was only the fourth grand slam that Rivera had surrendered in his career.

Kubel started out the 2011 season hitting extremely well by peaking his batting average at .354 in May. This brought on speculation the Twins may try to trade Kubel to make room in an otherwise crowded team outfield. Due to injuries by fellow outfielders Delmon Young,[9] Denard Span,[10] and call-up Jason Repko,[11] Kubel's position was critical to the Twins before finally getting hurt himself [12] and missing all of the month of June.

Arizona Diamondbacks

On December 19, 2011, Kubel signed a two-year, $15 million deal with an option for a third year with the Arizona Diamondbacks.[13] The Diamondbacks designated Kubel for assignment on August 27, 2013.

Cleveland Indians

The Diamondbacks traded Kubel to the Cleveland Indians for a player to be named later on August 30, 2013.[14]

The Indians declined their club option on Kubel's contract for the 2014 season on November 1, 2013, making Kubel a free agent.

Second stint with Twins

Kubel signed a minor league deal to return to the Twins on December 13, 2013.[15] Kubel was designated for assignment on June 8, 2014, and released on June 16. Kubel ended his 2014 season with a .224 batting average, one home run, 13 RBI, and 59 strikeouts in 176 plate appearances.

Personal life

Kubel is the brother-in-law of Michael Tonkin.[16] They briefly played together for the Twins in 2014.

At the conclusion of his career as a professional baseball player, Kubel became a Little League coach.[17]

See also

References

  1. ^ Bresnahan, Mike (April 14, 2000). "Two Of A Kind". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2018.
  2. ^ Greenidge, Gerard (May 2, 2000). "Dirtbags blow by Hurricanes". web.csulb.edu. Retrieved 2018.
  3. ^ "Futures Game History | MLB.com: History". Mlb.mlb.com. May 24, 2013. Retrieved 2013.
  4. ^ Sheldon, Mark (October 26, 2004). "Kubel on the road to full recovery". MLB.com. Retrieved 2010.
  5. ^ "Kubel's grand slam lifts Twins in 12th | twinsbaseball.com: News". Minnesota.twins.mlb.com. Retrieved 2013.
  6. ^ Lemire, Joe (May 18, 2009). "Mauer continues to display why Minnesota needs him long term". Sports Illustrated. CNN.com.
  7. ^ "2009 Awards Voting". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved 2013.
  8. ^ "NY Daily News".
  9. ^ "Delmon Young carted off, placed on DL with ankle sprain | HardballTalk". Hardballtalk.nbcsports.com. Retrieved 2013.
  10. ^ "Twins place Denard Span on 7-day concussion disabled list | HardballTalk". Hardballtalk.nbcsports.com. Retrieved 2013.
  11. ^ "Sore quad lands Jason Repko on DL; Ben Revere on the way - Minnesota Twins news | 1500 ESPN Twin Cities - Minnesota Sports News & Opinion (Twins, Vikings, Wolves, Wild, Gophers) | Sportswire: Minnesota Twins". 1500espn.com. Archived from the original on January 1, 2014. Retrieved 2013.
  12. ^ "Twins to recall Ben Revere; Jim Thome or Jason Kubel headed to DL | 1500 ESPN Twin Cities - Minnesota Sports News & Opinion (Twins, Vikings, Wolves, Wild, Gophers) | Sportswire: Minnesota Twins". 1500espn.com. Archived from the original on January 1, 2014. Retrieved 2013.
  13. ^ "D'Backs ink Jason Kubel to two-year contract". Rotoworld.com. December 19, 2011.
  14. ^ Gilbert, Steve (August 30, 2013). "D-backs strike deal sending Kubel to Indians". Indians.com. MLB.com. Retrieved 2013.
  15. ^ "Jason Kubel returns to the Twins on minor league deal - HardballTalk". hardballtalk.nbcsports.com. December 13, 2013. Retrieved 2014.
  16. ^ Miller, Phil (May 17, 2010). "Short hops: Strasburg, Harper, Tonkin, Morneau, etc". Startribune.com. Retrieved 2013.
  17. ^ Jon Heyman [@JonHeyman] (November 20, 2014). "jason kubel, who never thought hed make majors & made $31M, is coaching little league & not actively seeking playing job" (Tweet) – via Twitter.

External links

Achievements
Preceded by
Ian Kinsler
Hitting for the cycle
April 17, 2009
Succeeded by
Michael Cuddyer

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