|Prospect in the Spotlight: Jason Kubel|
Written by Daniel Paulling (Contact & Archive) on September 27, 2004
Height 5-11; Weight 190 lbs; Bats L; Throws R; Position OF; DOB 5/25/82; Team Minnesota Twins
In the 2000 draft, the Minnesota Twins selected Jason Kubel in the twelfth round. This late in the draft, teams are just trying to pick guys they think can fill out a minor league roster or can do a little something at the major league level. Teams had avoided drafting Kubel because they did not like his defense or running speed, along with the fact that he was short. Well, the Twins took him and were rewarded with their pick. He quickly began to hit in his second year in professional ball and he did quite well in Fort Myers for playing in a pitchers' park for home.
And then came this year. At the beginning of this season, Jason Kubel was a highly touted prospect starting out in Double A. He quickly laid waste to the league’s pitchers and moved to Triple A where he has shown more dominance. He will continue to play in Rochester until the Twins can let Jacque Jones go and hopefully find a team that would be willing to take Shannon Stewart.
“Jason’s got a live bat, quick hands, and strong wrists,” says Triple A manager Phil Roof. “This young man can pull anybody, he can hit the ball the other way and he’s a patient hitter that doesn’t strike out much.
“We were trying to convince the front office out of spring training to let him start the year at Triple-A, because I liked his swing last year, and I thought he was ready to make the jump,” he continues. “He hasn’t connected with (the) long ball yet at this level, but believe me, it will come.”
Kubel, as a hitter, is quite complete. He can hit fastballs and breaking balls, the most important thing for prospects. The future star also manages to get on base a lot, despite not drawing many walks; strikeouts aren’t very common for him.
So what’s holding up the Twins?
Besides Stewart and Jones, the Twins have Michael Restovich, Justin Morneau, Matt LeCroy, Lew Ford, and Torii Hunter at 1B, DH, and the three outfield positions. There just isn’t a place for Kubel to play in the Major Leagues, though he should garner a spot sometime in the very near future. The Twins should look to trade Hunter (Phillies?) for pitching talent and let their youngsters to take over. An outfield of Ford, Restovich, and Kubel should deliver the Twins easily into the postseason.
Roof offers a prediction on Kubel’s future: “He may wind up being one of the best hitters in the major leagues once he gets two or three years under his belt up there.”
Well, I definitely believe him and you should too.
Editor's Note: Jason Kubel's Major League Debut was August 31