Thursday, May 5, 2011

Can Jason Kubel be an All-Star?

Can Kubel make the All-Star Team? (Photo: AP)
It has been quite a season so far for the man born in the land south of North Dakota. Jason Kubel has been the offensive juggernaut for a team that is failing to score a lot of runs. On Wednesday afternoon, Kubel provided two of the Twins three runs in the game to help lead the team to a 3-2 win over the White Sox. The Twins only scored four runs in the series and Kubel drove in three of the four runs. While other players have been injured or lacking in production, he has picked the team up and carried them on his back.

The Twins' season is only less than 20% over. But out of all the players on the Twins, Kubel is most deserving of making the American League All-Star Team. There is still a lot of time before selections will be announced, but in the mean time let's look at how Kubel compares to the rest of the American League.

American League Ranks

Batting Average .350
Overall: 3rd
Among OF: 2nd

OPS .919
Overall: 8th
Among OF: 3rd

OBP .395
Overall: 7th (Tied)
Among OF: 4th

Hits 36
Overall: 7th
Among OF: 3rd (Tied)

Looking at those statistics, it is easy to see that Kubel should be considered among the top outfielders in Major League Baseball this season. The areas he needs to improve on is homeruns and RBI. Those are the numbers that a lot of people look at when voting for the All-Star game. 

The Twins media guide offers a very interesting list of players to consider when looking at Jason Kubel compared to other outfielders since 2009. 

American League Batting Leaders Since 2009
RBI Among Outfielders (updated yesterday)
1. Jason Kubel: 208
2. Torii Hunter: 193
3. Bobby Abreau: 192
4. Shin-Soo Choo 191
Ben Zobrist 191 
6. Nick Swisher 184
7. Jose Bautista 180

That is quite the list for Kubel to be leading and he has the lead by a wide margin at this point. This shows that he has been a consistent run producer for the Twins during the last three seasons. Not only has he been leading the Twins at driving in runs, he has also been leading the entire outfield for the American League. 

The one obstacle in the way of Kubel making the Mid-Summer Classic could be the lack of production from the other hitters in the order. Other teams will quickly find out that they don't need to pitch to Kubel. Morneau needs to start producing in the batting order behind Kubel. This will offer some protection for Kubel as he continues to pound the ball to all parts of the field. Without the rest of the line-up hitting, there is no reason to pitch to the hot hitting Kubel. 

It is still months away from the kick-off of the All-Star festivities. But with the way that Kubel is leading the Twins, it would be great for him to get an opportunity to represent the franchise in Arizona this July.  

Keep producing Kubel and you can book your flight to Phoenix. 

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