When the Detroit Tigers dealt Prince Fielder to the Texas Rangers in exchange for Ian Kinsler, many Tigers fans accepted the trade as a “salary dump” and others questioned Kinsler’s ability to consistently produce at the tender age of 31.
14 games into the season, Kinsler is showing fans in Detroit exactly what he can bring to a ballclub.
Kinsler has been primarily featured as Brad Ausmus’ leadoff hitter. In such games, Kinsler is 14-for-37 (.378), with two home runs, and nine RBI. He is 6-for-20 when leading off an inning, with three doubles and a homer.
The Tigers second baseman fits right into the team’s aggressive approach. He is 6-for-9 when swing at the first pitch of an at bat and has successfully stolen three bases in four attempts.
Kinsler has stolen 30 bases in a season on two occasions in his career (2009 & ’11). He’s currently on pace to do so again in 2014, which would single-handedly nearly match the Tigers total as a team in 2013 (35).
In 14 games at second base, Kinsler is yet to make an error. Outside of Miguel Cabrera and Alex Avila, Kinsler has the most total chances in the field with 66 and has been included in nine double plays.
Upon acquiring Kinsler, Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski praised his new second baseman of his defensive skills but said that he didn’t have great range and Kinsler took exception.
He spent the offseason working on his quickness in the field and to this point, it doesn’t appear that Kinsler is lacking in the range department.
Success at the Dish
Kinsler has experienced success in a variety of ways in his limited time with the Tigers. He’s batting .328, with two homers and leads the team with 11 RBIs. He also leads the team in runs scored, 11, and has four doubles to date.
Not to mention he already has a walk-off hit credited to his name. Kinsler drove in the only two runs in the second game of the season, including the game-winning single with two outs that scored Austin Jackson in the bottom of the tenth.
Yes, it is much too early to be deeming the Tigers “winners” of the Fielder-Kinsler trade but there’s nothing wrong with stating the facts at this point in the season.
Ultimately, the goal is to win the World Series but as it stands, on April 19, Detroit is looking like a much better baseball team with Kinsler wearing a Tigers uniform.
As for Fielder, he is currently batting .194, with two homers, six RBIs, and 10 strike outs. His Rangers currently have an 11-7 record.
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