Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Mizzou Baseball in the Majors: Ian Kinsler

Five Myths (and Facts) about the Texas Rangers' offense (Baseball Time in Arlington)
Ian Kinsler is a infield fly-happy, poor-hitting vegetable: The air is thick with vitriol for Ian Kinsler these days, and his sub-.700 OPS showing since the third day of the season goes a long way towards explaining why; furthermore, if you go so far as to cite his total wins above replacement (2.2) as being the best on the team, sometimes you get a nice message back casting doubt upon the validity of the metric itself using a synonym for male cattle excrement. (The virtues and flaws of WAR are best discussed another day). I, for one, won't profess satisfaction in Kinsler's offensive performance this season, because I keep waiting for that truly special breakout season and I'm beginning to think that I'm not going to see it happen in my lifetime. Next lifetime? Maybe.

Let me lay this on you, though -- yes, Kinsler's been especially atrocious with the bat this month (47 PA, 175/.298/.225), but he's done so while posting a walk rate in line with this season's (career-best) 13.3 percent mark, and while posting a horrid .200 BABIP that isn't congruent with his excellent batted-ball rates. That's a microcosm of his entire season, really -- enhanced walk rates, terrible BABIPs that you wouldn't expect given his otherwise decent batted-ball rates, and overall hitting performance that is, surprisingly, still right there among the best marks at second base in baseball. I'm not going to tell you to fall in love, but I am going to tell you that this will get better ... and I'm also going to tell you that his 10.2 percent infield fly ball rate is only the 68th-highest mark in baseball.

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