/Associated Press

The Perception Of Ian Kinsler

I’m looking forward to the infusion of Ian Kinsler hate that I expect to flood in over the next week or so, based on his preference not to move away from 2nd base. We can never forget, he is no Michael Young; he is no Face Of The Franchise. He’s clearly not a team player. He’s clearly selfish.

Quick, queue the “He doesn’t care,” or “All he does is pop up from trying to hit home runs all the time,” or “He has a low batting average, therefore he’s not a good hitter” diatribes. Suffice to say I cannot wait for that nonsense to circulate.

Listen, if you manifest some sort of feeling from all this — disappointment is understandable — I can get behind your reasoning. I, too, dreamt of an infield featuring Elvis Andrus, Jurickson Profar, and Ian Kinsler once upon a time. The issue I have is how writers, and fans, use situations like these as a platform to make cheap points, in an attempt to satisfy a baseless agenda. It’s childish. Often times reactionary people operate under a heavy dosage of recency bias, and use it to equate players like Kinsler to people like Michael Young, who tend to get appreciated more once they’re gone. It’s a lot like being at a funeral for a person whom you knew universally to be an asshole, yet everyone who speaks about them has nothing but kind words to say.

Let’s not forget that, despite the sensationalist praise Young received from the media during his tenure in Texas, he was no angel. He complained when he was moved off shortstop in favor of Elvis Andrus; he lamented being moved off third base in favor of Adrian Beltre, and even demanded a trade. That’s not the stuff of a leader, so we can’t pretend what events actually transpired, didn’t.

I’ve never understood why the media and fan base in Arlington possess a disinclination towards Kinsler. Maybe it’s because the majority of his charity work hasn’t been in the public eye; maybe it’s due to the notion that he doesn’t play baseball to give a good quote after the game ends. I don’t know.

What we are dealing with are the facts, and the fact is that Ian Kinsler has provided north of 27 fWAR during his career in Texas, about 4.0 fWAR per year. There’s no other position on the diamond where his value plays up as well as 2nd base, which is why Jon Daniels probably isn’t losing much sleep on Kinsler not opting to play 1st.

The only thing I find sad about all this is that, sans an Elvis Andrus trade, which right now doesn’t appear likely, we’re going to navigate into 2013 with Jurickson Profar in the Minor Leagues. I was really looking forward to seeing him on the Major League roster, adequately filling the shortstop shoes Elvis Andrus would be leaving him on his way to Arizona.

But hey, you don’t always get what you want.


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Tags: Elvis Andrus Ian Kinsler Jurickson Profar

  • Matthias_Kullowatz

    I feel like Kinsler has always been something of an underrated player. Despite some pop and speed, I would guess Rangers fans just can’t get past his .250′s batting average over the past two seasons.

    Never mind that he walks 10% of the time or steals bases with insane efficiency (83.5%). Batting average! If it was good enough for my grandpa, it’s good enough for me ;-)

    But like you said, it probably wouldn’t help all that much to move Kinsler to first. At bats for Kinsler at first takes away the DH/1B flexibility between Moreland, Berkman and Olt, right? It’s like saying, we’ll give Profar MLB at bats so we can take away from these guys. I’m not sure the net result would be any different…

    • http://twitter.com/GoatHammers Matthew Fears

      Kinsler has a great ability to work counts. His average is so insignificant compared to contact to damage potential. His power is streaky, he is a product of home field, but one things he always gives you is an honest AB.

      I agree with you, he is drastically underrated.

      • Matthias_Kullowatz

        The Mariners would love him. Since you guys have extra toys, we’ll take him, let him play second and move Ackley to a corner outfield spot!

      • Eric Reining

        To add on to your thought about home/road splits, it’s evident that Kinsler’s comfort zone is in Arlington, but one could logically say that about any hitter. He put up some egregious road numbers last year, but my personal feeling is that home/road splits are sort of a trendy new toy people want to use, but they fail at its application.

        Ian plays the bulk of his road games in Anaheim, Oakland and Seattle — three of the most fly ball-suppressive parks in baseball. (People are using the home/road splits argument for Justin Upton as well, but, like Kinsler, he plays in LA, SF and SD.)

    • Eric Reining

      It’s funny that “baseball’s most underrated player” over the last several years has been Michael Young, when, in fact, he’s probably received too much credit from sensationalist reporters. After awhile, being the most underrated player in the game tends to make you pretty overrated, or just a nice way of saying “yeah you have a high batting average and no one talks about you because you aren’t very good.” Plus, how can someone be underrated making $16 million AAV?

      I haven’t reread this article, so I don’t know if I posted it here or 27 times elsewhere, but Elvis Andrus should have been traded a long time ago. It clears up space for Profar at his natural SS position, keeps Kins at 2B, and would have given us what we really need, a middle of the order stick.

      • http://twitter.com/C_Shearman Clayton Shearman

        Agree with that (Elvis being traded). Upton would’ve looked nice in blue/red.

  • http://twitter.com/GoatHammers Matthew Fears

    I have no issue with Kinsler, his batting average or some ill-conceived notion he pops up to much. Last year I think he did take a step back defensively, but as detailed this could have been as much a personal issue (Hamilton leaning on him and Rangers letting it happen) than anything.

    I fully expect him to be back at his 4.5 WAR maybe higher this season. Profar would benefit from raking in AAA and building more confidence. I do get really frustrated seeing fair weather fans complain about Kinsler, the guy is elite and happened to have a down year.

  • http://twitter.com/gostars25 Julia25

    I don’t get the animosity towards Kins either. Maybe because he looks like James Franco. He’s unjustifiably hated as well!