By Patrick Despain
One constant when people discuss the Texas Rangers is Ian Kinsler. It seems that almost everyone has an opinion on the All-Star 2nd baseman. Whether it is disgust over his infield pop outs or base running mistakes, or even the positives like his outstanding range on defense, an opinion is waiting to be heard.
It seems that people focus on Kinsler’s every at-bat, and not the player as a whole. Yes, he pops out quite a bit, but not every out is a pop out. Yes, he gets thrown out or picked off, but not every time he is on base. We seem to overlook all of the things that Ian does right.
If you were to poll all of the GM’s in Major League Baseball, aside from Brian Cashman in New York and Ben Cherington in Boston, they would probably want Kinsler on their team over their current 2nd baseman. Kinsler is considered a top 3 player at his position and a top 25 player in all of MLB by most experts.
Kinsler is a fantastic player. He was a 30/30 guy last year. Yes, he only hit .255 in 2011, but he is a career .275 hitter. 30 home runs from the leadoff spot is tremendous. That is a luxury every team wants to have. Did you know that Kinsler was thrown out or picked off only 4 times last year? I know it is really hard to bring up, but do you remember Game 2 in last year’s World Series? Trailing 1-0 in the top of the 9th, Kinsler singled and stole second against one of the best defensive catchers in the game to start the Rangers comeback victory.
Ian pops up, hangs his head, and throws his bat. We all see the same thing. We get upset when it happens. Why? Because he popped out, or is it because we don’t like his reaction? Ian is disgusted in his performance, he expects more from himself. Why do we focus so much on Kinsler’s negative plays, but we rarely applaud his on field victories? I am as guilty as anybody when it comes to focusing on Kinsler.
What we forget is what he does well. We forget the great plays he makes on defense, the stolen bases, the home runs and that he is a quiet leader. We forget that he was an MVP candidate a couple of years ago until he incurred an injury.
Ian Kinsler is a lightning rod, but he is also a catalyst for this team. I for one am glad that he wears #5 for the Rangers and not for another team.