Texas Rangers: Is There Anything Wrong with Ian Kinsler?
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Since his recent 4-for-4 game on Sunday, Ian Kinsler has fallen back into another slump going 1-for-16 with one run scored. For the season, he has posted a .233/.337/.417 line with five home runs and eight stolen bases through 192 plate appearances. Some fans are concerned about Kinsler's lack of production of late, and it is worth looking to see if there are any real signs of decline.
If Kinsler is on a downward slide, his advanced numbers do not indicate that trend. His wOBA of .343 is only 14 points lower than his 2010 wOBA, and his wRC+ has only dropped from 119 to 116. In fact, the Rangers have seen some improvements in Kinsler's game. His power has returned after suffering a significant drop last season (his ISO has increased from .124 to .180), and he has the lowest strikeout rate in his major league career (11.7 percent).
Kinsler's low average has been adversely affected by a .236 BABIP, 50 points lower than his career average. There has not been a significant change in his batted ball rates, except that he continues to hit fly balls at a higher rate. His ground ball rate has also decreased from last season. I expect this season to turn around for Kinsler. His plate discipline remains a strength with a 12.5 percent walk rate, and he has cut down on the amount of pitches he has chased out of the strike zone. He will only benefit from the protection he will receive with the near-returns of Josh Hamilton and Nelson Cruz.
Kinsler leads all of baseball in contact rate (92.7 percent), and he has recorded the lowest swinging strike percentage among qualified hitters (2.8 percent). If he continues to make contact at this rate, his batting average is sure to increase over time. The Rangers have other issues to be concerned with, and their fans should expect a .280/.365/.450 line with 20 home runs and 20 stolen bases by the end of the season.
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