What is your opinion of the A.J. Pierzynski signing?
MJH on accountability
Now most obviously, a change in position for Kinsler would most certainly cost us some value, as he's most valuable at 2B over any other position. On a whim, I decided to go through and find out some rankings from FanGraphs to see how Kinsler's offensive numbers would stack up at other positions.
*NOTE: this has nothing, I repeat NOTHING, to do with his defense at his new position.
To start, I looked at his rankings at 2B in 2012. There were 22 players that "qualified" as second basemen according to FanGraphs, and I'll defer to their judgement on that matter as they've done lots more research that I have (I also did these numbers for players with 350+ ABs at 2B but those are slightly more muddled data sets because of young players getting playing time).
Kinsler / RankOBP: 0.326 / 14thSLG: 0.423 / 7thwOBA: 0.327 / 7thwRC+: 99 / 13th
This shows that Kinsler is about an average 2B last year. Of course with his contract we need an above average 2B, but many think he is due for a bounce-back after a down year (especially considering his great 2010 and 2011 years).
I then compared these numbers to qualifying 1B and LF.
First Base (25 "qualified" +1 Kinsler = 26 players) Kinsler / RankOBP: 0.326 / T-20th (Chris Davis)SLG: 0.423 / 19th wOBA: 0.327 / 20th wRC+: 99 / 20th
This obviously makes him a below average first basemen from an offensive standpoint.
Left Field (16 "qualified" +1 Kinsler = 17 players) Kinsler / RankOBP: 0.326 / 12thSLG: 0.423 / 15th wOBA: 0.327 / 14th wRC+: 99 / 14th
This makes Kinsler a below average LF as well, but not so much below as he would be at 1B.
I decided to look at his numbers from 2010-2012, and his numbers from 2011-2012.
2010-2012 (using “qualified” players at each position)Second Base (34 "qualified" +1 Kinsler = 35 players) Kinsler / RankOBP: 0.350 / 6thSLG: 0.441 / 5th wOBA: 0.348 / 5th wRC+: 111 / T-8th (Daniel Murphy (Mets))
First Base (39 "qualified" +1 Kinsler = 40 players) Kinsler / RankOBP: 0.350 / 14thSLG: 0.441 / T-22nd (Mitch Moreland)wOBA: 0.348 / 15th wRC+: 111 / T-19th (Daniel Murphy)
Left Field (36 "qualified" +1 Kinsler = 37 players) Kinsler / RankOBP: 0.350 / 10thSLG: 0.441 / 16th wOBA: 0.348 / 9th wRC+: 111 / T-12th (Alfonso Soriano, Jonny Gomes)
Outfield (93 “qualified” +1 Kinsler = 94 players) Kinsler / RankOBP: 0.350 / T-27th (Giancarlo Stanton, David DeJesus)SLG: 0.441 / 44th wOBA: 0.348 / 30th wRC+: 111 / T-39th (Alfonso Soriano, Jonny Gomes)
2011-2012 (using “qualified” players at each position)Second Base (20 "qualified" +1 Kinsler = 21 players) Kinsler / RankOBP: 0.340 / 7thSLG: 0.449 / 4th wOBA: 0.348 / 4th wRC+: 110 / 8th
First Base (22 "qualified" +1 Kinsler = 23 players) Kinsler / RankOBP: 0.340 / 14thSLG: 0.449 / 14th wOBA: 0.348 / T-12th (Freddie Freeman) wRC+: 110 / T-16th (Carlos Pena)
Left Field (15 "qualified" +1 Kinsler = 16 players) Kinsler / RankOBP: 0.340 / 10thSLG: 0.449 / 11th wOBA: 0.348 / 10th wRC+: 110 / T-11th (Alfonso Soriano)
Outfield (56 "qualified" +1 Kinsler = 57 players) Kinsler / RankOBP: 0.340 / T-31st (Bryce Harper)SLG: 0.449 / 29th wOBA: 0.348 / 29th wRC+: 110 / T-35th (Jason Heyward, Austin Jackson, B.J.Upton, Alfonso Soriano)
This is all supposed to come to some conclusion(s) now.1) Ian Kinsler has been an above average to elite second baseman in the overall 2010-2012 window with a severe down year in 2012.2) Kinsler would be an above average to average first baseman based on his numbers 2010-2012, but based on his 2011-2012window he would be average to below average in terms of offensive production3) Kinsler would be an average left fielder/outfielder in both the 2010-2012 and 2011-2012 windows for the most part.These conclusions seem reasonable to me. Now time for my own thoughts and opinions on these numbers and what they mean in terms of the Texas Rangers in 2013. If Kinsler can move to 1B or LF to make room for Profar, as long as Profar projects to be an above average offensive second baseman, the move can be considered feasible. Yes, Kinsler is MOST valuable at second base. However, if you have a stud middle infielder looking to break into the club (lots of people think Profar qualifies as that), then moving Kinsler makes sense, especially if we don’t have one of those elite first basemen (e.g. Pujols, Fielder, Cabrera, Votto, Gonzalez). If moved to first base, Moreland would be relegated to spot starts and maybe a DH platoon with Cruz provided we actually pick up another outfielder at some point. If Kinsler is moved to left field, you would end up with an outfield of Kinsler, Martin/Gentry, and Murphy with Cruz hopefully moved into the DH spot. This is all to say that Kinsler would most likely not be absolutely atrocious as a first baseman of left fielder as some people seem to think. Personally, what is left of Kinsler’s speed would translate better to LF than 1B, and it provides a way to get Cruz’s horrible defense (besides his arm of course) off of the field while keeping his boomstick in the lineup which will hopefully bounce back from a less than stellar 2012 campaign.
For those who just TL;DR:A Kinsler move from 2B to either 1B or LF could be advantageous for the team given the talent currently on the team.
Now, if we go out and trade or sign a good 1B or LF the discussion obviously changes, but the point stands that moving Kinsler doesn’t make our management monkeys with roster sheets.
(Sorry for formatting oddities making it difficult to read the categories. Not well versed in formatting forum posts)
Well done. I think you outline perfectly why a transition from 2B to the OF or 1B would be idiotic in Kinsler's case. If it's truly in the plans, if this front office is adamant about moving Kinsler elsewhere in the field, then it pretty clearly illustrates that either Mike Olt or Nelson Cruz/David Murphy (or both) will be on new teams in 2013.
Big mistake if you ask me, but if we acquire any two of Hamilton/Upton/Swisher, then it won't mean as much. I consider the likelihood of that happening to be minimal.
The Rangers have 12-15 wins to make up through trades and free agency, and only about $30 million to do so. This will not be easy, but it is attainable. I just don't see any way how Kinsler will justify his contract if he's at 1B/OF.
Nice work Vander, but when considering pure offensive stats one must consider that Kinsler has been exclusively a leadoff hitter. That changes/skews the results in a dramatic way, as he was asked to do it and his style if hitting is better used in the middle of a batting order rather than leading off. You may be close but I would bump his numbers a bit if he ever hit with protection. Good work!
How would Kinsler's SB's translate to his WAR at 1B? There were only 3 1B that had double digit stolen bases and the high was 18. Wouldn't that bump up his number a little, especially if he had another 30/30 year. If Kinsler hit in a bigger run producing slot, surely his overall numbers would increase too. But that's assuming they move Kinsler around in the order...unlikely with Wash.
Excellent work, Vander. I wouldn't expect Ian to consistently rank with the heaviest hitters, but that's what I've suspected ever since I heard them talk of moving him. Ian has gone 30/30 twice. He has the bat. He wouldn't be in the lowest tier of outfielders.
That said, if they do move him to the outfield, I hope move Cruz to DH and try Ian in RF first, as Murphy seemed quite locked in in LF, and I'd like to see them roll with him there, if they don't get Josh back (so help me, if they re-sign Josh and put him back in CF....)
Also, good point, T.O. I've often wondered if Ian sometimes reverts to that mode, like when I see him swing for the fences and clear the bases instead of trying to move runners over and set the table.
@P1: if Josh and Napoli are gone (and no Uptons are acquired or anything), that leaves fewer guys in the middle of the lineup. Ian could possibly move back down to 5th or 6th, and someone else could lead off. Based on last year I'd like to see if Murphy could lead off (yes, you heard me) or Elvis. Profar seems to project as a good leadoff hitter if he starts living up to his hype. I don't expect him to get that job right off the bat, though, even if he makes the 25 in ST.
I think Kinsler is one of those players that has a "switch". Moving him back down the lineup to the 5 or 6 hole would work towards giving him better power numbers as opposed to trying to get on base. Some people don't have that "switch" that allows them to change from more contact to more power based hitting perspective. If Kinsler was moved down the lineup, it's very conceivable that his offensive numbers (slugging, wOBA, and wRC+) would increase. With Washington at the helm, not so sure that happens unless Profar or Murphy hit so well in ST and the beginning of the year that there's no way Wash keeps them out of the top of the lineup (talking hitting .450+ in ST; Wash do what Wash do).
With regard to his steals, It's my impression that steals add linearly to WAR, e.g. each steal adds X amount of WAR. That would make the most sense to me. I have no idea what that number is, but yes Kinsler would most certainly add WAR in a category that most 1B are unable to add.
If they aren't going to add Upton (unlikely seeing as the DBacks just got their SS from the Indians and traded Bauer for him /sigh), they have to sign Hamilton or Swisher. One of those signings (really have no preference as to which) will allow someone to hold down a COF spot. Swisher can also play 1B which I guess is a plus.
If they do sign Hamilton/Swisher, by far the most logical place to move Kinsler to 1B, or not move him at all. There's merits to both moves, but I think Kinsler needs to stay at 2B.
If they sign neither Hamilton or Swisher, and don't make a big play at a trade, then Kinsler should be moved. Before you crucify that thought, let me explain. If Hamilton/Swisher isn't signed, we need to hand the reigns over to our young players and see what they have. Take Kinsler and put him in LF or 1B. LF (or RF) makes more sense, as this allows Mike Olt to platoon with Mitch Moreland at 1B, Profar to slide in at 2B, and Gentry and Martin to platoon in CF. This means that RF (or LF) will be either Murphy's to lose, and DH would be a platoon of Moreland, Olt, and Cruz. If this route is taken, we need to add pitching, as unlikely as that is in this market. Sanchez is too expensive at his asking price (watched a lot of him with my old roommate who's a huge Marlins fan and wasn't too terribly impressed). Hell, had we signed Greinke I might have advocated this type of "stand pat" move by our FO.
Granted, that lineup of Soto, Moreland/Olt, Profar, Andrus, Beltre, Kinsler, Martin/Gentry, Murphy, and Cruz (DH) isn't a World Series caliber lineup as we're used to it. However, if we are able to trade (maybe Olt+Perez or Andrus+Perez) for a true TORP to compliment Darvish, Harrison, Holland, and Ogando, we could conceivably make the playoffs with that starting pitching.
Wow, went way down the rabbit hole there after considering how moving Kinsler is based on who we trade and don't trade. Anyway, I think that if Kinsler was told to prepare for a move to LF and told to attempt to get a little more power over the winter (possible for him to add muscle, but not likely), then we could "stand pat" and watch some young players take their lumps next season. I suppose I'm OK with that, but it'd be a lot more fun to go challenge Oakland and LAA for the division and get 90+ wins.
Moving Kinsler to 1B or OF sounds like a totally clueless team focus, considering his new contract.
There are only two sensible options:1. Trade Elvis and insert Profar at SS, while keeping IK at his only logical position.2. Trade Ian to someone who needs a 2B, even if you eat some of the contract. Get some pitching talent in exchange.
Given Kinsler's bat and a neutral glove, he is probably worth around 1.75 WAR as a 1B (using Adam Laroche's 1.7 WAR/600 as a comparable with his equivalent 112 wRC+) and around 2.25 WAR as a COF. For every Defensive run above average he is, you can probably add around .1 of a WAR. So if you think he is 5 runs above average, then he is worth around 2.25 WAR as a 1B, and around 2.75 as a COF.
Given his contract, you may well be better off trading him, and signing a roughly equivalent 1B, like LaRoche, for considerably less.money.
Honestly, I see almost no value gain this year from bringing up Profar, playing him at 2B, and then moving Kinsler to 1B. You will likely see little, if any gain from Moreland's bat to Profar's bat, and little, if any gain from Moreland defensively at 1B to Kinsler defensively at 1B.
Other than wasting a year of service time, I just don't see the point. We seem to be the Anti-Rays when it comes to using service time effectively.
IF Kinsler had a switch, why hasn't he been able to flip his bat into the on position when on the road? IMHO he's been the most overrated of the core players. His neutral park numbers are horrid.
Wow, I see that Kinsler has officially taken over the MY role on the team in more ways than one!
Seriously folks, after what most of the posts I have read state that this horror show of an offseason the FO has had, I relaly think that moving Kinsler is the best option. Whether you move him to 1B or the OF and the super utility role that MY had. Kinsler has ankle issues that have affected him the last two years so maybe OF or 1B takes some strian off of his legs?
Now offensivley Kinsler to me is better served batting in the 5 or 6 hole or even seven based on his swing alone. He never has been a high avg, guy his OBP was decent in 10 and 11 and yes he had a bad year in 12 like most of the team.
Is Profar the second coming of Ernie Banks? I don't know. But the FO thinks he is something special and all of the "In JD we trust" people out there are drinking that Kool Aid. Perosnally, I really didn't liek the players we have been linked to all season except maybe Shields. Was Upton worth Andrus? NO!!! Is Greinke worth that huge contract? Probably not. But I think Hamilton is resigned sooner than later or JD might get lynched based on what I am reading everywhere out there.
If we are gonna force-fit someone at first base, why not Cruz?He's a much bigger target than Kins, and his offensive numbers are right in line with a 1B.
In my previous post, I was made a lot of assumptions, the most important of which were this team makes 0 moves this offseason for a COF or a 1B, which we could still sign or deal for both. Kinsler makes the most sense at 2B, that's inarguable. Further, if we don't sign a 1B, I think that Mitch deserves the chance to lose the position. He did well in his limited playing time last year and with Young gone it stands to reason that he's in line for significantly more at-bats this season than last (provided he stays healthy of course).
If the FO thinks that Profar is just THAT good, why the hesitation to trade Andrus? An Andrus+ package could have landed us Upton and Bauer from what I saw out of the DBacks' trade. Even though they've talked to Kinsler about a move to 1B, don't be surprised if Profar starts the season at AAA and we roll with Beltre, Andrus, Kinsler, Moreland (with a possible Olt platoon/DH?) across the infield and wait for the market for Andrus to develop at the trade deadline.
@VanderJust curious to where Kinsler ranks in comparision to Moreland on this list of first baseman? IMO, this is what we should be comparing vs IK against the rest of the league.
If Kinsler ranks, say 20th among ALL 1st baseman, that is good info but irrelevant as to how he benefits the Rangers.
This is good info from a Macro Level, but again we are comparing IK to other teams no the Rangers.
Still stand firm that if Elvis is still here next year, we are a better team with Elvis at SS, Profar at 2nd and IK either at OF/1st base.
If Elvis is gone then YES I think IK stays at 2nd with Profar at SS.
@VanderIt was said that the Dbacks didn't want Elvis for Upton because they would only have Elvis for 2 years and knew he would sign via free agency elsewhere. If they where going to make the trade they switched gears to Profar not Elvis.
That is why the trade didn't happen.
I think the Rangers FO is doing a good job. I know they are dissappointed with Zac G., but the Royals WAAAAAY overpaid for Shields (no way we go there) and we didn't want to part with Profar for an Upton.
Yes you have to think that JD and crew are seriously disappointed about the offseason so far. On the one hadn I cna see them making no moves at all and Kinsler playing first base. On the other hand I can see them resigning Hamilton and a Marcum like guy then Kinsler becomes DH/Super utility guy.
@MM Well there you go. No way we trade Profar for Upton. Would have to be Upton+.
Anyway, here's those comparisons to Moreland.
2012 (OBP / SLG / wOBA / wRC+)
Kin s l e r: 0.326 / 0.423 / 0.327 / 99Moreland: 0.321 / 0.468 / 0.334 / 104
2011 - 2012 (OBP / SLG / wOBA / wRC+)
Kin s l e r: 0.340 / 0.449 / 0.345 / 110Moreland: 0.320 / 0.436 / 0.325 / 97
2010 - 2012 (OBP / SLG / wOBA / wRC+)
Kin s l e r: 0.350 / 0.441 / 0.348 / 111Moreland: 0.328/ 0.441 / 0.331 / 100
So, Kinsler has been a better offensive player besides his down 2012 year. I'm willing to bet that if we took out Moreland's abysmal 2nd half of 2011 when he was hampered by a wrist injury his numbers would be significantly better and closer to Kinsler's. I'm all for giving Moreland a chance to win the 1B position. I think that he "deserves" it, and it allows us to not go out and sign a FA 1B or trade prospects for one. The FO has been very cautious with prospects this offseason, and trading for a 1B will probably cost us Olt+.
Moreland's numbers are also important to the promotion of Profar. Is Profar going to post better numbers than Moreland? So much so that it makes sense for the team to move Kinsler? I'm not convinced that he will. That's a lot to ask for a rookie adjusting to the Big Boy Leagues.
Another interesting thought is the idea of now trading Andrus for a stellar 1B. Considering that an above average 1B is usually on a contending team that already has a SS, the odds are probably not high. But it'd be interesting to see the Rangers approach someone about a 1B (I'd say White Sox since they want a 3B (Olt), but they just signed Keppinger to a 3-year deal). Anyone know of a team with a good 1B that needs a SS?
@Chuck Kinsler's contract sure is a lot to pay for a super utility guy.
Oh wait, we paid MORE for our last super utility guy? Leadership made up the offensive and defensive production there though...
Good stuff Vander. Thanks for digging into that. Pretty even numbers really.
I agree you have to look at what Profars numbers will be as well. Difficult decisions for sure.
@Vander you need to read Durrett's column this morning touting Kins' leadership traits. Seems the only way to be a leader on this team in the eyes of the ESPN Dallas guys is to willingly change postions!!
Of course these are the same talkign heads who last season when the team looked dead kept saying "they will turn it on in Spetember" Yeah we see how that turned out!
Nice work Vander, Vander. And I generally agree w/your conclusions.
@Chuck yea, I did read that this morning. Writers looking to fill the #Laedership void left by Mikey Baseball leaving. This team is just fine on leadership. Hell, even if we only had Beltre as a "leader" we'd be set. According to Brandon Snyder, we have leadership coming out of our earholes. Not too worried about it. I am excited to watch some young players play this next season, as it seems inevitable that at least 1 if not 2 or 3 are going to get significant playing time.
Further after reading that Durrett article, an infusion of young talent may be exactly what this team needs. Kinsler and others have said they didn't play the same fervent, fast-paced, urgent brand of baseball championed by the Rangers in 2009-2011 and the results showed. Players looked "tired" and the body language was off in even Beltre and Elvis, who I at least look to as the team's "spark plugs" of emotion (besides that time Mikey Baseball blasted that HR after Cruz got hit...good times).
If we can get Profar, Andrus, and Beltre in the same lineup, we could have a massive infusion of energy as Profar will most certainly look up to Beltre and Andrus and Profar are good friends IIRC, so they should have friendly competition going between them. Adding in Martin and Olt could provide some youth, but won't provide the "spark" that I think Profar would with Andrus and Beltre in the lineup. Even without Andrus, a linenup with Profar in it with Beltre sort of keeping him "in check" would provide a spark.
I'm excited to see what some of our young guys can do given the chance on the big league club and with adequate playing time. Love to watch young players develop and form a "relationship" with what they bring to the field. Heartbreaking when one leaves like Andrus might though.
I agree with all you have said Vander. I really don't think a "rebuild" or "retool" year with the kids playing will be all that bad. But I would love to see hamilton back as his big bat would sure make this lineup look a lot better. Yes a true TORP would make the staff look a lot better but I think Perez or Grimm can figure it out.
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