Ian Kinsler was supposed to be one of the elite second baseman in the league.
He was supposed to put his issues from the past two seasons behind him and rediscover the 20/20 ability that fantasy owners lust for.
However, thus far that has not been the case.
Before we can answer the questions about 2011, first let us look back to the past two seasons:
- 2009 – He appeared to be swinging for the fences, with a 54.0 percent fly ball rate. Yes, he posted 31 HR and 31 SB, but he saw his average fall to .253 thanks to a .241 BABIP, a number that is not so unbelievable considering the number of fly balls he hit.
- 2010 – The power appeared to all but disappear, with nine HR. He clearly was no longer trying to hit home runs, with a 41.6 percent fly ball rate and a miniscule 6.5 percent HR/FB. He also didn’t steal quite as many bases as we would’ve liked, with just 15.
There is also the constant fear of injuries, as Kinsler always appears to find a way to end up on the DL from time-to-time.
Now, let’s fast-forward to 2011, where Kinsler got off to a quick start (home runs in the first three games), but things have fallen flat since.
In 174 AB through Sunday, he was hitting .224 with five HR, 17 RBI, 27 R and nine SB.
First, let’s look at the positive, which is the return of his speed. He’s on pace to wind up with right around 30 for the season, which is about as much as we could’ve asked for (his career high is the 31 he swiped in 2009).
Assuming he stays healthy, there is little to complain about here.
Unfortunately, that’s where the positives stop. Since that hot start he has hit just two HR, with the last coming on April 22 (27 consecutive games without a home run). On the season, he has posted a HR/FB of 7.0%, similar to last season’s. His fly ball rate is back up, at 47.3 percent.
Could his hot start have led to him swinging for the fences again? Look at his split by month:
- March/April – 48.3 percent
- May – 46.0 percent
It’s not as bad as 2009, but it still is a number worth noting.
Then there is the BABIP, currently sitting at .230. The increased fly ball rate could once again be to blame for his poor number, as well as a decreased line drive rate (14.7 percent).
While we would expect him to be able to right the ship, given his history it is hard to call it a certainty.
On paper, you would think that Kinsler is a great buy low candidate. To an extent I would agree, but Kinsler needs to help matters along as well. He had a huge spring (five HR in 63 AB), and got off to a quick start.
That easily could’ve gotten into his head, leading to him trying to hit home runs when he comes to the plate.
If he can correct that and start hitting line drives, I’d feel much better about his “certain” improvement moving forward.
Would I want to acquire him if I could? Absolutely, though don’t consider it a lock that he suddenly becomes the player we all think he should be.
There is a chance that he’s simply the player he’s currently showing us.
What are your thoughts on Kinsler? Do you think he could turn things around? Is he a player you would like to acquire?
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