When Jason Kubel signed a two year deal in the offseason, fans and media alike questioned the move. His critics say he has weaker defense–than Gerardo Parra–and was relatively unneeded, creating a “crowded outfield.” But as the opening month of the 2012 season winds down, it looks like Kubel is just heating up.
Kubel began his stint with the Diamondbacks with a 1 for 12 campaign including 5 strikeouts. His lone hit was a pinch hit single against
the Giants. A day after his 0-5 performance with 3 K’s vs the Padres on April 10th, Kubel recorded his first multi-hit game and first RBI as a Diamondback. The following day included his first extra base hit, an RBI double in the 6th that would put the Dbacks ahead for good. From April 17th-28th, Kubel would go on a 10 game hitting streak, including a 4 for 4 day, tying his career high in hits for a single game.
Through Sunday’s 8-4 victory over the Marlins, Kubel is hitting .333 with 3 HR, 12 RBI and an impressive .400 OBP. His one vice may be his strikeout rate. He has been fanned 23 times in the 20 games he’s played. A stat easily forgotten if these numbers remain even remotely close to what they currently are.
More impressive yet may be Kubel’s defensive abilities thus far. If you watch Kubel play, you get the feeling everytime he gets the ball he thinks he’s going to gun down the runner, no matter what base he’s headed. He has recorded a major league leading 6 outfield assists already (5 in LF, 1 in RF); two of those saving runs at the plate in last weeks series against the Phillies.
Through April, it’s clear Kubel is the guy providing the spark that may just catch Upton’s bat on fire. The right fielder has offered very little run production so far (1 HR, 3 RBI) but that will undoubtedly change.
And once again, In Towers we Trust.