- Full name Jason James Kubel
- Born 05/25/1982 in Belle Fourche, SD
- Profile Ht.: 6'0" / Wt.: 220 / Bats: L / Throws: R
- School Highland
- Debut 08/31/2004
- Drafted in the 12th round (342nd overall) by the Minnesota Twins in 2000.
Organization Prospect Rankings
Kubel reached the majors by the end of 2004, when he hit .352 in the upper minors and even got seven at-bats in the American League Division Series. His banner year ended disastrously, however, when he tore up his left knee in an outfield collision in the Arizona Fall League. He missed the 2005 season. Often compared to a young Brian Giles, Kubel has a tremendous approach at the plate. His plate discipline is the best in the system, while his stroke is quick and compact with some opposite-field power. Defensively, his best tool is a plus right-field arm. Even before the injury, Kubel wasn't considered much of a basestealing threat, though he did swipe 16 bags in 19 tries at Triple-A. He has limited speed and range in the outfield. Like many young hitters, he can become pull-conscious at times. Kubel made it back last year in time for instructional league, where he had to wear a large brace on his knee and couldn't do much running or fielding. The Twins doubt he'll be 100 percent for spring training. Rather than competing for the right-field job, he likely will start the season in Triple-A.
Kubel landed in the majors by the end of 2004 and made the Twins' postseason roster. The organization's minor league player of the year, he tore the anterior cruciate ligament and sustained further damage to his left knee in an outfield collision in the Arizona Fall League. Called a poor man's Brian Giles, Kubel shows a professional approach at the plate. He has a strong grasp of the strike zone, features a quick, compact stroke and offers opposite-field power. He hits both lefties and righties with equal force. His best defensive tool is a legitimate right-field arm. Unlike Giles, Kubel isn't much of a basestealing threat. He has limited speed and range in the outfield, so the knee injury won't affect his game too much. He has a tendency to get pull-happy at times. Kubel could miss all or most of 2005, ending his chances of possibly claiming the right-field job. Because speed wasn't a big part of his game before the injury, the Twins hope he'll come back as the same player.
Like many things the Twins do, Kubel has remained under the radar despite a productive start to his young career. He tied for second in RBIs and finished fourth in hitting in the high Class A Florida State League last year. He has been an all-star in each of his two full seasons. Kubel has a professional approach at the plate. He understands the strike zone and doesn't chase bad pitches. He displays pop to the opposite field with good leverage and finish to his quick, compact stroke. He hits lefties (.306) and righties (.294) alike. He has prototypical right-field arm strength and is a solid-average outfielder. Kubel's slugging percentage dropped from .521 in low Class A to .400 last year in the pitcher- friendly FSL. Selectively aggressive, he needs to make more quality contact to tap into his raw power. A below-average runner, he won't be a threat on the bases. Equipped with a strong, compact body, Kubel profiles as a poor man's Brian Giles. He's on the verge of a breakout season and will be Double-A New Britain's everyday right fielder in 2004.
Kubel earned preseason third-team High School All-America recognition in 2000 from Baseball America and turned down an offer to go to Long Beach State. He enjoyed a breakthrough season in 2002 after a pair of obscure campaigns in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League. He made the Midwest League all-star team despite being bothered by back problems. By shortening his stroke and learning which pitches he could handle, Kubel took a huge step forward. He's an aggressive contact hitter who can hit for power with a quick swing. Kubel pitched in high school and shows plus arm strength suitable for right field. He has a chance to be a solid-average defender. He held his own against lefties in 2002, but Kubel connected for just four extra-base hits in 105 at-bats against southpaws. He's a below-average runner, though he won't clog the bases. Kubel really impressed the Twins with his progress and is destined for high Class A in 2003. He could develop into a poor man's Brian Giles if he continues to develop power as he moves up the ladder.
Minor League Top Prospects
As if the Twins hadn't already developed more than their share of big league outfielders, Kubel took a major step forward in 2004. He always had hit for average, but produced a disappointing five homers and 29 extra-base hits in high Class A last year. He upped those numbers to 22 and 68 this season while batting .352 between Double-A and Triple-A. Kubel, the IL batting champ at .343, utilizes a quick stroke with good leverage and opposite-field pop. He has started to show more than gap power while continuing to do a masterful job of controlling the strike zone. He had nearly as many walks (53) as strikeouts (59) in the minors this year, extending a career-long trend. His lack of speed hinders him on the bases and in the outfield. He has the arm strength to play right field, though his limited range could push him to left. "I like his approach at the plate," an American League scout said. "He doesn't try to do too much in any situation. He doesn't strike out a lot for a power guy, and will take the walk or the pitch the other way when it's there."
Kubel solidified his status as a future everyday outfielder in the big leagues with another well-rounded season. He spent less than six weeks in the EL, yet made a strong impression on scouts and managers. Kubel generates good bat speed with a fluid, level swing from the left side of the plate. He has strong wrists and forearms and projects to hit 20-25 home runs in the majors, with developing power to all fields. He has a tendency to get pull-happy, but has good strike-zone discipline and uses the opposite field, especially deep in counts. Kubel's arm is above-average and plays in right field. He does not have good speed, but has good instincts in the outfield and is learning to get better jumps on balls. He is intelligent on the basepaths, and makes up for his lack of speed with heady baserunning and good instincts.
Kubel has been overshadowed in the Twins system by such players as Mauer, Justin Morneau, Michael Cuddyer and Michael Restovich. But he has been productive, batting .310 in four pro seasons and finishing in the top five in the FSL in both average and RBIs. Kubel's home run total dipped from 17 last year to five this season, and he doesn't project to hit more than 20-25 annually. But he has quick hands, a short stroke and solid strike-zone discipline. He runs the bases well despite below-average speed and had the league's best outfield arm. "He has a great idea of how to hit," Masse said. "We must have thrown him 100 breaking balls with two strikes out of the zone, and I don't think he swung at one of them. They say you can't teach that feel for hitting, but he's got it."
Top 100 Rankings
Best Tools List
- Rated Best Strike-Zone Discipline in the Minnesota Twins in 2006
- Rated Best Hitter for Average in the Minnesota Twins in 2006
- Rated Best Outfield Arm in the Minnesota Twins in 2005
- Rated Best Strike-Zone Discipline in the Minnesota Twins in 2005