At the time this article was written, Ian Kinsler’s current ADP sits at 66. Allow me to do a little math for you; for those of you in twelve team leagues he is projected as a mid-5th round selection. Ten team leaguers can wait a little longer, until approximately the mid-6th round to secure Kinsler’s services. Up until this year he was traditionally a late 2nd or early 3rd round draft selection so what gives? I can understand the propensity of fantasy owners abandoning ship when their beloved second baseman leaves the comfy confines of Arlington Stadium. However, is his new team, playing at Comerica Park, going to hurt his counting statistics that substantially? Let’s take a quick glance at the two teams’ projected, opening day starting lineups to quickly dispel this belief.
|Detroit Tigers||Texas Rangers|
|1. Ian Kinsler (2B)||1. Shin-Soo Choo (OF)|
|2. Torii Hunter (OF)||2. Elvis Andrus (SS)|
|3. Miguel Cabrera (1B)||3. Prince Fielder (1B)|
|4. Victor Martinez (DH)||4. Adrian Beltre (3B)|
|5. Austin Jackson (OF)||5. Alex Rios (OF)|
|6. Alex Avila (C)||6. Mitch Moreland (DH)|
|7. Nick Castellanos (3B)||7. Geovany Soto (C)|
|8. Rajai Davis (OF)||8. Jurickson Profar (2B)|
|9. Jose Iglesias (SS)||9. Leonys Martin (OF)|
Without getting into a complete analysis of both teams, it would be fair to say that the Texas Rangers’ lineup appears eerily similar to that of Detroit’s; plenty of speed and pop in the top half of the lineup with a lot of youth filling out the bottom. Kinsler will still be batting leadoff for a high powered offense and one that could afford him with many run scoring opportunities.
Looking back at the 2013 season, Kinsler finished with the following stat line: 545 AB, 13 HR, 72 RBI, 85 R, 15 SB, .277 BA and .778 OPS. Those numbers clearly indicate a solid season but not one that savvy owners would be willing to invest a second round selection on. Kinsler was a player that many owners often stayed away from because he was considered a fragile player early in his career. Last season, a total of 26 games were missed due to a sports hernia that required season ending surgery. However, in the 2012 and 2011 seasons Kinsler played in 157 and 155 games, respectively. It may not be the smartest move to assume that he has become injury prone all over again.
His first and second half splits last season were pretty even across the board. Statistical anomalies can be found with 5 more HR’s coming in the first half ( 1H = 9, 2H = 4) and 5 more SB’s coming in the second half (1H = 5, 2H = 10). Much of the value associated with Kinsler comes from his ability to go 20/20 with the greatest of ease. We must not forget that he had the following seasons not too long ago:
- 2012 = 19 HR, 21 SB
- 2011 = 32 HR, 30 SB
- 2009 = 31 HR, 31 SB
It is important to note that Ian Kinsler is only 32 years old and has publicly stated that the reason his stolen base total was so low last year was due to a nagging injury that has since gone away. Remember, he successfully stole a total of 15 bags last year but was also caught stealing, an uncharacteristic, 11 times. He is expecting a significant increase in his stolen base production this season and so should you. On an average but predominantly healthy season, Kinsler should produce 20/20 output, on a good year 30/30.
Robinson Cano went from playing half of his games in a little league stadium within a much higher powered offense to a cavernous home field in Safeco for a team half as talented. Jason Kipnis had an amazing season last year but do yourself a favor and check out his first half versus second half splits because they are frightening. Brandon Phillips appears to be at the age of his career when the decline begins setting in as he fails to hit 20 HR’s anymore and also has trouble totaling double digit SB’s. Other than Dustin Pedroia, who is consistently safe, there are question marks surrounding all of Kinsler’s top five positional competition. Add in the fact that Kinsler has an axe to grind with his former GM, he seems to be a player that is ultimately healthy and has something to prove to his new and former team.
The current ADP of 66 seems a little shallow to me and one that should improve as more people start drafting. With a little more health this season, there is no reason Ian Kinsler can’t eclipse another 20/20 season, at the very least, and finish in the top-3 of his position.
Joe Costello is the MLB Content Manager for @FakeSeamHead, the baseball division of the immensely talented @FakePigSkin crew. I can be contacted at @jcswigga to answer any of your fantasy baseball or fantasy football questions. I am also the commissioner for both baseball and football leagues so feel free to drop me a line on the most thankless job in the industry.