Thursday Night, August 2, 2007
Curious Case of Jason Kubel
Hey ya'll, First of all, Congratulations to Chris Coste of the Phillies for his 3-5 day against the Cubs (see Coste's incredible updated stats to the left). He also threw out Alfonso Soriano trying to steal second base. He also caught former Twins pitcher/head case Kyle Lohse. Lohse gave up two hits, hit two and walked a batter in the first inning. Somehow he gave up just one run. Jacque Jones left the bases loaded by drilling a liner off of Lohse that he was able to pick up and throw to first for the final out of the inning. It may have been the best thing for the Phillies as Lohse had to leave the game. They brought in another former Twin JD Durbin who got the win to improve to 4-2. He gave up three runs on five hits and a walk in his three innings. Later, JC Romero came in to pitch for the Phillies. He went 1.1 innings and gave up just one walk. For the Cubs, Jacque Jones was 2-5 with an RBI.
Earlier today, I got an interesting e-mail from Mark Zoff, a regular reader of this site. The e-mail was very good and well put together. It was fairly short and I thought it would be something that more readers would enjoy seeing. It is also more numbers around Jason Kubel. As those who have come to this site for a long time know, I am arguably Jason Kubel's biggest supporter, so seeing numbers to say he is doing well, or even OK, despite the fact that his overall season numbers still are not looking terrific, is interesting to me. Mark looks at some numbers you are familiar with, but one that I don't reference much here is BABIP. That is Batting Average on Balls In Play. Here is the definition from the Glossary of The Hardball Times.
- BABIP (Link)
- Batting Average on Balls in Play. This is a measure of the number of batted balls that safely fall in for a hit (not including home runs). The exact formula we use is (H-HR)/(AB-K-HR+SF) This is similar to DER, but from the batter's perspective.
So, enjoy the quick analysis and then voice your opinion.
Your assessment of Jason Kubel for July was certainly fair. His external performance was disappointing in July. However, his fundamental performance has been improving considerably with each passing month and he appears to be suffering from an unsustainable and declining BABIP. For your consideration, here are Kubel's stats for each month of this season:
Month Avg OBP SLG OPS BABIP BB/K HR/PA % April/Mar 0.261 0.288 0.348 0.636 0.310 0.250 0.00% May 0.220 0.297 0.366 0.663 0.271 0.380 2.17% June 0.266 0.309 0.469 0.778 0.264 0.500 4.41% July 0.225 0.288 0.437 0.725 0.214 0.540 5.00%
He has increased his walk/strikeout ratio every single month along with his HR/PA percentage. As far as I am concerned, his BB/K ratio should continue to move upwards towards the .88:1 ratio of his minor league career as he further acclimates himself back to major league pitching and the game itself after missing most of the last two years. His HR/PA% seems to be near where one should expect his performance to remain around 5% HR/PA and 12-15% HR/FB which yields approximately 25-30 HR a year depending on playing time. Additionally his line drive percentage, while no longer tops in the majors is still a very healthy 20.0% which would place him in the top 30 AL hitters if he were qualified.
The only area of his performance that has declined over the year has been his Batting average per balls in play which is something that he has very little control over. Considering his OPS is still at .700 while having the 8th lowest BABIP in the league, amongst qualified batters, demonstrates to me that his future remains very bright and his present is not that bad either.
If this makes me sound like a Kubel apologist, that may be so. However, his underlying performance continues to improve and once his luck turns around, I expect him to produce .850-.900 OPS seasons with regularity.
Thank you for any consideration of my analysis.
So, there is Mark's analysis and opinions. Now it's your turn. What do you think? Can Jason Kubel be a 850-900 OPS kind of guy? Is he a future star? Is he lucky or unlucky? Share your thoughts and opinions.
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