Best Slugger (2012)

Jason Kubel, Arizona Diamondbacks

The rub on Jason Kubel, acquired this season from the Minnesota Twins, is that he strikes out a lot — a disease that has plagued sluggers who work the left side of the field for the Arizona Diamondbacks. Remember traded-away D-backs third baseman Mark Reynolds, who on and off led the majors in striking out. This season, left-fielder Kubel has struck out 116 times, which has put him among the top 10 whiffers in the big leagues.

But Kubel does something else well, too: Like Reynolds before him, he puts the ball in the seats. Kubel leads the team with 25 home runs, which lands him in the top 10 sluggers in the National League. In late July, the stoic slugger hit three home runs in a single game against the Houston Astros, which meant that he led the NL in runs batted in at the time. In a game against the surprisingly good Pittsburgh Pirates, Kubel hit two two-run homers. When he delivers, he delivers big. Power hitters have a tendency to strike out too much, dating back to Babe Ruth. The question is, how much value do they add to their teams despite that? If Kubel helps power the Snakes into the postseason, nobody will care that he walks dejectedly from the plate to the dugout frequently.


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