Jan. 24, 2013
Editor's Note: The following first appeared in the University of Iowa's Hawk Talk Daily, an e-newsletter that offers a daily look at the Iowa Hawkeyes, delivered free each morning to thousands of fans of the Hawkeyes worldwide.
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- University of Iowa sophomore Sasha Kuebel competed in the Cape Cod League during the summer of 2012 looking to build on his freshman season. It's what he didn't do that will benefit him most in the long run.
"I struggled mightily in the Cape, especially in the first half," said Kuebel, a left-handed pitcher from St. Louis. "Then I had a few good outings, before struggling in the end."
Kuebel joined the Hyannis Harbor Hawks following a freshman season where he was the Hawkeyes' most consistent pitcher. He finished with a 6-0 record with a 2.67 ERA in 13 starts, allowing 30 runs (26 earned) on 79 hits over 87.2 innings.
Following the season, Kuebel garnered postseason recognition, earning Louisville Slugger Freshman All-America, second team All-Big Ten and unanimous All-Big Ten freshman team accolades.
The Cape Cod League is a 10-team summer baseball league featuring some of the top collegians in the country. The league's Outstanding Prospect Award winners include a number of current and former Major Leaguers, including Matt Wieters (Baltimore Orioles), Mark Teixeira (New York Yankees) and Aaron Crow (Kansas City Royals).
"Failing is a good thing because you learn more about who you are," he said. "You can progress more from the failures than you can from the successes. It is about what you do in reaction to those failures that will define who you are."
UI sophomore Sasha Kuebel
After throwing nearly 90 innings -- the most of his baseball career -- in his first collegiate season, Kuebel struggled for the Harbor Hawks. In 12 games and 22.2 innings, he went 0-1 with a 9.13 ERA, allowing 24 runs on 34 hits with 17 strikeouts to nine walks.
University of Iowa head coach Jack Dahm says the experience helped Kuebel realize the type of pitcher he needs to be to succeed.
"The summer was a little humbling for Sasha," said Dahm. "He has a great feel for pitching, but he gets in trouble when he tries to muscle up and throw hard. He was excited when he touched 90-91 miles per hour, but that's not who he is.
"It was a learning experience for Sasha to understand who he needs to be and how he needs to throw to be successful."
Kuebel says the summer of adversity will help him as a sophomore.
"Failing is a good thing because you learn more about who you are," he said. "You can progress more from the failures than you can from the successes. Every college player did well in high school, but it is about transitioning into college and continuing to get better.
"Baseball is a game of failure. It is about what you do in reaction to those failures that will define who you are."
Kuebel is putting his freshman success and summer struggles behind him as he prepares himself to be one of Iowa's top starters as a sophomore.
"Coming off my freshman year, I can't really worry about what happened in the past," said Kuebel. "It's all about moving on and doing what I can for the team this year. It doesn't matter what role I am given as long as I accept it and do the best I can."
The Hawkeyes begin practice Friday afternoon at 12:45 p.m. Iowa opens the 2013 season Feb. 15-17 in Clarksville, Tenn., against 2012 NCAA qualifier Austin Peay.