Tag: Jason Kubel

Jason Kubel Already in Midseason Form for Minnesota Twins

With Micheal Cuddyer, Joe Mauer, and Justin Morneau yet to see any spring training games, Jason Kubel has been getting his cuts in the three-hole so far this spring.

Kubel is making those spring at-bats count, hitting .545 with a home run and four RBI’s and a 1.636 OPS after a week of games.

“Right now, I’m just happy with the way things are going so far this spring, just with the way I’ve started off, the way I’m swinging, the way I feel,” Kubel said.

Kubel may be in a make-or-break year with the Twins. The Twins have Aaron Hicks, Ben Revere and Joe Benson marinating in the minors who all are outfielders, and Kubel came back to earth last season after having a career season in 2009. 

If Kubel can return to his 2009 form where he hit .300 with 28 home runs and 103 RBI’s, he can be an X-factor in the Twins’ potential run to a third straight AL Central Title.

Kubel’s 2010 season was disappointing by his standards, with his numbers across the board all comparing poorly to his 2009 season. His batting average dropped 51 points to .249 and his RBI and home run numbers were both down.

Add his decreasing in season numbers, and his almost historically terrible (2 for 29 for a .069 batting average with 13 strikeouts) performances in the post season, led to many people beginning to wonder what Kubel’s future with the Twins might be.

Jason Kubel’s 2011 option was picked up by the Twins this season, but if they don’t come to agreement on a contract extension, the 28-year-old Kubel will be an unrestricted free agent after this season.

Kubel has made it known that he wants to continue to play the outfield, and believes he is too young to be a full time DH. This seems unlikely if he wants to remain a Twin beyond 2011 with the talented defensive outfielders in waiting.

“It does make it a little hard,” Kubel said. “We’ve got a couple replacements for Cuddy, myself and Delmon. There are plenty of options.”

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Jim Thome: What Role Will the Minnesota Twins Slugger Have in His 21st Season?

Jim Thome came to an agreement to return to the Minnesota Twins for another season, Friday. The slugger agreed to a one-year, $3 million contract which is double what he made in his first season with Minnesota.

Thome played a vital role last year with the Twins and was thrust into a starting role because of a season-ending injury to Justin Morneau. Originally, Thome was brought to the Twin Cities to be a left-handed pinch hitter off the bench, and to have spot duty as the team’s designated hitter.

Instead, Thome ended up being a a key contributor to the Twins throughout the season and made the most out of the increased playing time. Thome hit a staggering 25 home runs in just 276 plate appearances, drove in 59 runs and hit a respectable .283, the highest batting average he’s finished with since 2006.

The 40-year-old was simply terrific last season, but with Morneau set to return from a concussion where does Thome fit with this year’s club? That’s an interesting question, to say the least.

When Morneau went down it forced a domino effect on the starting lineup. Starting right fielder Michael Cuddyer took Morneau’s spot at first while DH Jason Kubel moved out to RF, leaving Thome the DH spot. The problem with getting Thome significant at-bats is Kubel.

Kubel is also a left-hander, who has power and is best suited for the DH role. Last season, Kubel finished with 21 home runs, a .249 batting average and 92 RBI. The Twins are high on Kubel even though he hit seven fewer home runs and his average dropped .51 points from two seasons ago.

It’s never a bad problem to have two left-handed power hitters that you can always rely on in the DH spot, but it does cause Ron Gardenhire to make a tough choice every night. With the Twins’ roster as is, Thome’s role isn’t set in stone; all the Twins knew is that they had to have the guy back, so they brought him back. Even if that meant overpaying for his services a little bit.

There are also some other things that need to be taken into consideration when looking at Thome’s role. For one, last season he stayed relatively healthy minus some back troubles towards the end of the season, will he be able to do it again? Secondly, there’s just no way he replicates last year’s production. Finally, he’s just 11 home runs shy of 600.

So while Thome has an aging body working against him and Kubel—a younger, similar player fighting for at bats—he’s going to get enough opportunities to reach the milestone 600 home runs.  

Thome wasn’t just brought back to contribute on the field, either. The veteran is a fan favorite and a clubhouse leader who the younger players look up to. How great would it be to go to the ballpark every day and get tips from one of the greatest sluggers of all time?

When last season ended and Thome announced his intentions of playing another season it was widely believed he would return to the Twins. After some flirtation with the Texas Rangers, he ultimately turned down a more lucrative offer to remain in Minnesota.

It’s a good fit for both sides as Thome looks to join the 600 club. This will likely be the slugger’s last season and when he leaves the game, he will certainly be missed. For Twins fans, they’ll have the luxury of knowing that they’ll get to see more massive homers and possibly a piece of history, too.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Minnesota’s Power Outage: Addressing The Twins’ Lack of Power In 2011

As the Twins saw their postseason dreams come to a halt at the hands of the New York Yankees this past October, the team still had plenty to be proud of as they entered the offseason. The organization had brought baseball back outdoors in Minnesota for the first time in three decades, and saw a great deal of success in doing so.

The Twins were an American League best 53-28 at Target Field, removing any doubt as to whether or not the team would still have a home field advantage without the now deflated Teflon top that the Metrodome provided.

If there was one complaint about Target Field however, it was the lack of power that the team displayed within the confines of their home turf. As a team, the Twins only hit 52 home runs at Target Field in 2010, while hitting almost twice as many on the road. The team also struck out more than 100 times at home than on the road, a sign that the players were likely working on compensating for the dimensions of this pitcher friendly ball park.

On paper, the team has the capacity to put up great numbers and score many runs, but if the team doesn’t solve their power struggles and put some pop in their bats in 2011, they may find themselves on the outside looking in come playoff time.

Begin Slideshow

Full Steam Ahead: Why the Minnesota Twins Shouldn’t Coast To the Finish

Coming into this week’s series against the Chicago White Sox, it was a do-or-die situation for the Sox. They needed to take at least two from the Twins to stay afloat in the American League Central pennant race.

The Twins went ahead and stepped on the head of the White Sox. Race over.

Even though the Twins haven’t technically won the AL Central, it’s now just a matter of time before the Twins officially clinch the Central with a “magic number” of eight combined Twins wins and White Sox loses.

However, now is not the time to shift into neutral and coast to the finish. There is still a lot at stake.

It’s no secret that the Twins have struggled mightily against the New York Yankees in both the regular season and the playoffs in the past decade. This year hasn’t been any different. The Twins need to do everything possible to avoid playing the Yankees.

Avoiding the Yankees will not be easy if not impossible. With that being said, the Twins need to bring the Yankees, or any other team to them.

The Twins need home field advantage.

As of Friday morning, the Twins are tied for the best record in the American league with the Tampa Bay Rays. Having the best record in the league equates to home field advantage throughout the playoffs. Coming in second means possibly having home field advantage only in the first round.

If the season were to end right now, the Twins would have the Yankees in the opening round at Target Field and the Rays and Rangers would match up with the Rays gaining home field in that series. If the Twins and Rays were to both advance, the Rays would have home field advantage in the American League Championship Series.

What does that all mean?

Even if the Twins do have the central under their control, they still have to play for playoff positioning. 

Although resting the ever-day players is a must, there has to be a happy medium between resting the starters and still being competitive. Luckily, the Twins are done playing competitive and will finish the season playing the Oakland A’s (3 games), Cleveland Indians (3 games), Detroit Tigers (3 games), Kansas City Royals (3 games), and the Toronto Blue Jays (4 games). Ten of the 16 games are at Target Field, as well.

In other words, the Twins are in prime position to still win games with their “B” squad in the game against these much lesser opponents. You couldn’t draw it up any better for the Twins to end the season.

Jason Kubel will have a chance to get his wrist to 100%, Mauer can get a few more days off, and the rotation can get an extra day or two to rest. All of which and more is very much needed to have a good playoff run.

All in all, the Twins need to keep on fighting in effort to lock up great positing for the playoffs. Let the Yankees, Rays, or Rangers come to Minnesota and deal with the hottest team in baseball at their brand-new stadium.

Joe Mauer hitting an opposite field double; Jim Thome crushing hanging sliders out of the yard; Francisco Liriano baffling hitters with his slider.

All of that and hopefully more fireworks has to happen at Target Field as much as possible during the playoffs.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Minnesota Twins Hold Their Own Fate, Chase After Yankees for Best Record in AL

At the All-Star break there were questions surrounding the Minnesota Twins line-up.  They didn’t have an every day third basemen who could contribute offensively.  Justin Morneau had just suffered a concussion one week prior and it was unknown when he might return, if at all.

Since then though, the questions have subsided.  Danny Valencia has cemented himself at third base.  Michael Cuddyer has been playing first base for the injured Morneau.  Jason Repko has been an excellent defensive outfielder in place of Cuddyer—when Jason Kubel isn’t getting the start in right field, anyway.

Jim Thome has his sweet uppercut swing hitting the ball a long, long ways.

Joe Mauer is putting together another relatively quiet AL MVP campaign.

Delmon Young is finally looking like a player taken first overall in the MLB Draft is supposed to look like.

And now the Twins find themselves in a position to overtake the New York Yankees strangle hold on the best record in the American League.  The Yankees currently have a two-game lead over the Twins with 19 to play.  The Yankees are currently on a three-game losing streak and have lost six of their past seven.  The Twins on the other hand are on a two-game win streak and have won eight of their last nine.

To say the Twins have a shot at having the best record in the American League is accurate, but in order to actually do so there are some players who need to step up.  Denard Span, the Twins speedy lead-off man, is only hitting .267 this year and has been unable to draw out long at bats. 

Kubel‘s power numbers have been respectable, but his batting average has been slowly dropping over the past two weeks and currently sits at .256 as well as leading the team in strikeouts with 105.

If the Twins want a chance at holding home field advantage until the World Series, those two players are going to need to be more disciplined at the plate.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

MLB: Five Players Who Will Decide What Team Is the AL Central Champion

After shellacking the Chicago White Sox 12-6 on Tuesday night, the Minnesota Twins have moved into first place in the AL Central by one game.

Both teams are hot, with the Twins winning 12 and the White Sox winning 10 of the teams’ last 15 games. White Sox have gone 39-16 since June 8th, overcoming a horrendous start to get to this point, while the Twins have gone 19-10 since the All-Star break without one of, if not their best, hitters.

It looks as though the race in the AL Central will once again come down to the final week of the season, and perhaps another 163rd game is in order.

For the Detroit Tigers, the season is all but over, as the team went from leading the division a day before the All-Star break to sitting 10 games back in third place thanks to a 5-22 record since then.

For the most part we know what we are getting from the players on the White Sox and Twins; however, there are players on both squads who can fluctuate either way and will eventually make or break their team’s chances of getting to the postseason.

Today we will take a look at five players who could decide the AL Central.

Begin Slideshow

Delmon Young Double Gets Minnesota Twins Back To Winning Ways

In a pitchers duel, it doesn’t take much to shift the balance of the game. For the Minnesota Twins Friday night against the Tampa Bay Rays, two key base hits provided a lead that they would refuse to relinquish.

Minnesota’s Scott Baker managed to scatter several hits from the potent Ray’s offense with minimal damage on the scoreboard. Working an effective slider and a fastball with plenty of bite, Baker managed to keep the Rays at bay, with the exception of a run scored on a ground-rule double in the first inning.

Hits were much tougher to come by against David Price. The former first-overall selection had his deadly fastball/curveball combination working like a gem, and the Twins only managed four hits the entire game. Half of those hits came in the bottom half of the seventh inning for Minnesota, which game them a 2-1 lead.

Delmon Young, the oft-maligned Twins outfielder who could be the most over-qualified 7th batter in the league, followed up a Jason Kubel single with a game-tying double to left-center field. He was knocked home with a base hit to center field off the bat of rookie Danny Valencia.

The Twins relied upon Brian Duensing and Jesse Crain to get them through the 8th inning before putting the ball in the hands of impromptu closer Jon Rauch.

Rauch, 6”11′ and 290 lbs, was given the 9th-inning role when it was discovered that Joe Nathan needed season-ending surgery. Although Twins fans lack confidence in the towering 31-year old, his sub-3.00 ERA and 18 saves speak volumes to Rauch’s ability. That being said, Rauch’s success also shows how over-rated the closer position is; if Rauch can thrive in the high-leverage 9th inning, so can most relievers.

With the win, Minnesota evens the four-game series with Tampa at one apiece. Tomorrow, the Twins’ top-performing starting pitcher will take the mound in Target Field. Francisco Liriano has solidified his place in Minnesota’s rotation this season via several excellent starts and a 3.47 ERA.

Liriano’s opponent will be Wade Davis, who has struggled this season despite a low BABIP, low line-drive percentage, and high strand rate. Although it appears that Davis is a prime candidate to give up a 10-spot to the Twins this afternoon, the 24-year old righty has an ERA of 2.65 in his last three starts and appears to be settling down.

If Minnesota can notch another victory, they will guarantee themselves a series split against one of the tougher teams in the league. The Twins are coming off a rough month of June and a series split would be a fine way to get back on track. Winning three of four from the Rays, though, would be an even better way for the Twins to shake off the rust and get back to their winning ways.


Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Jason Hammel & Angel Pagan: Fantasy Baseball’s Waiver Wire Winners

Every week, aside from my standard Fantasy Baseball dealings, I practice a little exercise to improve my research and team management skills.

On Sunday evenings I comb through who is available on the waiver/free agent wire, regardless of need, to familiarize myself with the current inventory.

Next, I try and create an entire starting team from all available players to compete against my current starting squad. This helps me on a broad spectrum for watching the trends of potential replacements, upgrades, and the occasional spot starter.

Below are the players I feel have the best chance of competing against my Starters.  FYI: It’s a Yahoo – 12 Team – H2H – 5X5. 

Included are the previous four weeks stats:

Week 12 Hitters (R-HR-RBI-SB-AVG)

C = Ronny Paulino FLA  (11-1-15-1-.333): With John Baker on the 60-day DL until August, Ronny has been very productive playing every day, and is worth the start with the hot bat.

1B = Lyle Overbay TOR (10-3-11-0-.298): Lyle has had four mutli-hit games in the past ten days. I’ll take that over the inconsistency of rookie Justin Smoak, even though his numbers are better over the month.

2B = Neil Walker PIT (12-2-9-2-.299): WHO??? That’s right Neil Tops my list at a VERY weak position. He was the 11th overall pick in 2004, but is still only 25. Needing runs from this position, he fits the bill because of his ability to get on base while hitting 2nd in the order.

3B = Kevin Kouzmanoff  OAK (11-3-14-1-.327): Finally….Kouz since May 31st has raised his BA 41 points from .244 to .285.  It didn’t hurt that he had seven multi-hit games in nine days over the last two weeks.

SS = Cliff Pennington OAK (11-0-3-3-.213): Anther Athletic making the list here.  Rookies like Cliff have stats that are Volatile and Inconsistent. I’ll ride the bullish bat in a current five game hit streak and seven of eight.

OF = Delmon Young MIN (15-4-26-1-.360): Ninth HOTTEST hitting Outfielder in ALL of baseball right now.

OF = Angel Pagan NYM (16-1-13-9-.311): Pick a Met, any Met (I can’t believe I’m saying that). You get a little bit of everything with Pagan. The stolen bases are especially nice.

OF = Jason Kubel MIN (12-6-22-0-.277): The law of baseball averages is never wrong…it was only a matter of time. Hitters will hit.

Week 12 Pitchers (IP – W – SV – K – ERA – WHIP)

SP = Jeremy Bonderman DET (40.2 -2 -0-30-3.32-1.20): Good to see him back to form. 

SP = Mark Buehrle CWS (32.2-3-0-23-3.86-1.47): Probably the most consistent in baseball. One of only a few TRUE Aces.

SP = Bronson Arroyo CIN (40.2-3-0-16-4.20-1.43): Ground ball pitcher is finally getting run support & Wins.  Can’t rely on him for many or any strikeouts he’s just not overpowering enough.

SP = Scott Feldman TEX (39.1-4-0-24-4.35-1.53): 17 Wins in 2009, but only five in 2010. The good news, four have been in the last month, and the Rangers are winning lots of games. May still get to 15 this season.

SP = Jason Hammel COL (41.1-4-0-32-1.74-1.16): WOW I can’t believe this guy is not on a roster.

RP = R.A. DICKEY NYM (32.1-5-0-29-2.78-1.39):
There are NO closers available, so I felt that R.A. deserved the final spot on my roster.  As my reliever (Duel Eligibility SP/RP) he has more wins than any of my starters over the past month with five.  And oh yeah…. Pick a Met, any Met.


Who could you use to beat your starters?  
Post a comment with your thoughts and your Free Agent Roster. 
I’ll post the results next Sunday night.

Follow us on Twitter:
Twitter.com/TheFantasyFix or Twitter.com/FantasyFix_FM

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Michael Cuddyer: The Minnesota Twins’ Next Third Baseman?

Who should be the Twins’ third baseman?

Coming out of Spring Training, Brendan Harris had the edge statistically after batting .326 with three doubles, a triple, and a home-run. 

Punto ended the exhibition season with a .233 average, one double, and 12 strike outs. 

When the season opened Ron Gardenhire named Punto his starting third baseman and the debate began.

The answer now seems obvious—give it to Michael Cuddyer.

After filling in for Orlando Hudson at second base in the first game of the Twins’ west coast road trip in Seattle, Cuddyer should be given consideration to be the their fulltime third baseman.

The benefits of such a move could not have been more evident than in the Twins’ 5-4 victory over the Seattle Mariners.

Delmon Young, Jason Kubel and Cuddyer all homered in the game. Cuddyer and Kubel on back to back pitches in the fourth inning.

By playing Cuddyer at third this allows Gardenhire to play Kubel in right field, Young in left field, and have Jim Thome DH more frequently. More plate appearances for more power hitters. 

This allows Gardenhire to use Punto in a role better suited to his speed and hustle—late inning pinch runner or defensive specialist.

Of course this means less playing time for Nick Punto and more importantly Brendan Harris.

Punto is currently batting .221 and Harris only .170. Combined they have only one home run this season.

Not even close to what is considered a power-hitting position in baseball!  

The downside, there is no downside—it only seems to get better and better! 

At the end of last season, when Justin Morneau went down with a stress fracture in his back, Cuddyer filled in admirably with a .986 fielding percent in 34 games at first base.

Comparing Cuddyer’s career stats to Corey Koskie, the Twins’ third baseman from 1999-2004, helps to solidify the move: 

Cuddyer: .270 batting average, 20 home runs, 83 runs batted in, .941 fielding percent at third.

Koskie: .275 batting average, 20 HR, 83 RBI, .966 fielding percent.

It sure seems like Cuddyer and Koskie were cut from the same bolt of cloth.

Since Koskie’s departure after the 2004 season the Twins have not found anyone to anchor the hot corner.

Cuddyer played 95 games at third in 2005, but was moved back to the outfield in 2006.

Punto, Harris, and Mike Lamb were all given a shot to play third base, and none of them have been able to match the numbers of Cuddyer.  

Who should play third base? The answer is the right fielder in front of us!


Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

One Man’s Trash…Week Four

In this week’s edition of One Man’s Trash, we look at ESPN’s most dropped list to find some very interesting names that owners have disposed to the waiver wire.
Carlos Zambrano leads the list in week four. 
Can he help your fantasy team? 
Who else is bound to rebound?
Let’s take a look…
Carlos Zambrano -17.4 percent
Big-Z moves to the B-Pen in a surprising move by manager Lou Pinella. 
Zambrano was off to a rough start, but he was a bit unlucky with a BABIP over .400. He was also striking out batters at an above average clip and missing plenty of bats. 
Just about everyone in the sabermetric world thinks Carlos Silva will fade at some point. When he does, Zambrano should be ready to step back in and provide low-end fantasy numbers. Only deep rosters should look at stashing him, but as soon as Sliva starts to struggle, be ready to add Big-Z.
Gavin Floyd -11.9 percent
Floyd’s ERA and WHIP numbers are not pretty to look at, but there are plenty of reasons to think he’ll turn things around soon. 
Heck, I just traded for him.
You can find the full breakdown on Floyd’s future in this article.
Frank Francisco -8.8 percent
Last season Francisco posted a 10.4 K/9 and a 2.74 BB/9, very good numbers for a reliever. 
However, things didn’t get off to a great start this season and he lost his job to Neftali feliz early on. Injuries have played a significant role in Francisco’s career and his velocity is down a bit this season, but there is still a chance he can get a few saves when Feliz can’t go. 
There is also a chance that Feliz falls victim to the long ball a few more times and Francisco gets his job back. Ron Washington has a bit of loyalty to Francisco, so roster him if you need a chance of some saves.
Jason Kubel -8 percent
Last season, about this time, Jason Kubel was one of the hottest free agent adds around. Now, apparently, 68 at-bats is enough to give up on him for a bounce back. 
Consider that Kubel has a BABIP of .255 despite a 22.4 percent line drive rate.
Kubel is stiking out a bit too much, but he is also walking a lot, so his plate discipline is not the issue. Before his breakout 2009 season, Kubel hit .272 with 20 home runs in 2008. That seems like a decent goal for the rest of this season, which could make him a useful thrird or fourth outfielder the rest of the way.
Ryan Doumit -7.8 percent
Small sample size means two things here:
One, we can’t get a true guage on whether or not a player’s season-to-date is for real or not.
Two, things can change drastically, almost overnight.On April 26th Doumit was hitting .259. Four days later he is sporting a .300 AVG. 
If someone dropped Doumit based on his early struggles, be the team that snags him now.  


Charlie Saponara is the owner/author of fantasybaseball365.com and can be contacted at cs.fb365@gmail.com.  Follow FB365 on Twitter

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Copyright © 1996-2010 Kuzul. All rights reserved.
iDream theme by Templates Next | Powered by WordPress