I did a post earlier this month about Ian Kinsler possibly batting leadoff in the hitting lineup. Ron Washington was placing Kinsler in the leadoff spot earlier this week during practice and intra-squad games with Elvis Andrus batting behind him in second. Washington said that we shouldn’t take anything from that lineup but that his batting order for Sunday’s opener game for the Cactus League would be a clear perspective of how he would like his batting order to be this upcoming season.
So, who’s on top for Sunday’s game? Ian Kinsler and Washington says that Kinsler first and Andrus second is what he hopes to accomplish this upcoming season.
Kinsler is an exceptional batter and has grown both offensively and defensively; and he is sure to grow even more this year. Last year, he didn’t get anywhere near his career high of 31 stolen bases, but he hopes to this year regardless of where he is in the batting lineup. He was only able to secure 15 stolen bases last season with a .286 batting average, nine home runs and 45 RBIs. These numbers are only sure to improve this year in the leadoff position … and even if he’s not.
Kinsler has improved in terms of patience, which is something that a leadoff hitter needs. While being aggressive is fine in the leadoff spot, which is what Kinsler is considered to be, patience should come first. Kinsler definitely appeared to be more versatile and patient in his batting last year and that is going to help him succeed this year.
What’s going to be great with Kinsler batting on top is that he is a fast runner. He is probably one of the fastest players on the team and if we can keep him healthy all year long (which is likely something that can be done with Michael Young playing utility infielder allowing for infielders to get rest when and if needed throughout the season), he is going to secure those runs and he is going to boost his stolen bases – possibly surpassing his career high of 31 bases stolen.
Kinsler has a batting line of .284/.350/.492 for his career hitting from the leadoff spot – a total of 265 games in which he also has 58 stolen bases. From 2008 to 2009, Kinsler was primarily in the leadoff position for the Texas Rangers and found success during that time. Let’s hope he can pull it off again this season.
Sunday, the Texas Rangers open up the Cactus League against the Kansas City Royals and here is the lineup:
1. 2B Ian Kinsler
2. SS Elvis Andrus
3. LF Josh Hamilton
4. RF Nelson Cruz
5. 3B Michael Young
6. DH David Murphy
7. 1B Mitch Moreland
8. C Yorvit Torrealba
9. CF Julio Borbon
Yes, Michael Young is at third base and not DH because Adrian Beltre is out for a couple of weeks due to a calf strain and Young will be taking his place at third base during this time.
What do you guys think of Sunday’s lineup? Is it a solid lineup and is it the batting order Washington should keep for the first day of the season? What are your thoughts on Kinsler hitting first?