Ian Kinsler: American League MVP

Paul SwaneySenior Analyst IApril 3, 2009

SURPRISE, AZ - MARCH 04:  Ian Kinsler #5 of the Texas Rangers runs the bases after hitting a double against the Kansas City Royals during the spring training game at Surprise Stadium on March 4, 2009 in Surprise, Arizona. The Rangers defeated the Royals 5-3.   (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

That's right, mark it down. Ian Kinsler is ready to blow up this year and become the Rangers' first MVP since Alex Rodriguez left town.

Here's the argument in two parts:

First, Kinsler has had a history of nagging, somewhat freak injuries that have shortened his season. Last year, it was the sports hernia. In 2007, it was a stress fracture in his foot. Some may make the case that Kinsler is prone to injury, but it seems like bad luck to me.

Second, Kinsler enters the season at 26 years of age. This should be the beginning of his prime years. He has a few years of experience under his belt and he has shown he can hit anyone.

Assuming that Kinsler will stay healthy and play in 160 games, and projecting a 10 percent increase due to beginning a prime year, then I expect Kinsler to put up the numbers below this season:

R     H      HR   RBI  SB

125  197   25   90    29

When compared to the numbers put up by Dustin Pedroia in his 2008 MVP season, Kinsler would have more runs, home runs, RBI, and stolen bases. As the leader of a potent Ranger offense, on what could be a surprise team in the seemingly wide open American League West, look for Kinsler to become an absolute star.