...and the only prescription is...less Kubel!
When it seemed in the early season that Ron Gardenhire wanted to play veteran free-agent signee Craig Monroe over Twin-developed Jason Kubel, the blogosphere responded with a "Free Jason Kubel" campaign. Kubel got his chance, doubling in his first at-bat of the season as a pinch-hitter against the Angels, then sharing time in right field with Denard Span after an early-season injury to Michael Cuddyer. At one point, Kubel and Justin Morneau were the only Twins to have hit homeruns in 2008 as the Twins went nearly three weeks into the season before getting their first right-handed homer of the year.
At the time of Kubel's third homer, a comparison of the numbers between Kubel and Monroe seemed to justify the blogosphere's demand for Kubel to be given the primary DH role
AB H HR RBI AVG/OPS
Kubel 36 9 3 9 .265/837
Monroe 18 2 0 2 .133/545
Since then, each player has had at-bats in close to the same proportion: Kubel 81, Monroe 49, but the difference between them has almost completely reversed:
AB H HR RBI AVG/OPS
Kubel 117 26 4 18 .222/597
Monroe 67 19 4 13 .284/852
Monroe has fewer RBI than Kubel, but in nearly half the plate appearances -- normally that would suggest that Monroe has been hitting in more RBI opportunities, but the numbers on baseball-reference.com show that's not actually true: BBR says that the typical major leaguer in 2008 with 118 PAs has hit with 74 runners on base, resulting in 13 RBI; Kubel has hit with 81 runners on base resulting in 18 RBI, which is an above-average rate.
Monroe, not counting the 9-8 win in which he hit 2 homers, had 9 RBI while batting with 39 runners on base, while the typical major-leaguer with 65 RBI has 7 RBI
with 41 runners on base. Monroe was ahead of both the league average and Kubel's rate even before counting the 4 RBI on two homers he hit on Sunday.
Jason Kubel may end up being a better hitter than Craig Monroe over the course of his career, but right now Craig Monroe is hitting far better than Jason Kubel.
What's the opposite of "Free Jason Kubel!" "Put Jason Kubel Back In The Box?"