Originally written on Baseball Professor  |  Last updated 11/15/14
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There weren’t a lot of smiles to be had for Kinsler owners in 2013. Looks like the folks at Baseball Professor wanted to bring me back on a permanent basis so you will be seeing more of me1. If you do not believe me I invite you to check out the Meet the Professors page2. With only rumors prevailing the baseball landscape the most interesting content, from a fantasy point of view, is reflection of last season and forecasted player performance for next season. With my first piece I Chris Davis’ Fantasy Value for 2014″ href=”http://www.baseballprof.com/2013/11/chris-davis-fantasy-value-for-2014/”>wrote about Chris Davis. This time I wanted to write about a more difficult player. Difficult is defined (for this piece) as a player evaluation that on the surface appears to be so simple I really want to summarize his fantasy value in one or two sentences, but I force myself to provide a full write up. I’ve never liked Ian Kinsler from a fantasy perspective. Despite some really good seasons, he’s terribly inconsistent, is frequently over drafted, and is not a good offensive ballplayer. Don’t believe me? Check out his career offensive numbers at home versus on the road. AVG OBP SLG OPS Home .304 .387 .511 .898 Away .242 .312 .399 .710 But let’s discuss what happened in 2013. AVG HR RBI R SB CS 2013 .277 13 72 85 15 11 2012 .256 19 72 105 21 9 2011 .255 32 77 121 30 4 2010 .286 19 45 73 15 5 As the data shows (above) his home run and stolen base totals have been in decline year over year for three years. During the first half of the season Kinsler only had five stolen bases with nine home runs. In the second half the production switched as he only had four home runs and ten stolen bases. Kinsler has always been particularly vulnerable to right handed pitching with a .260 career average against right handed pitching, but it’s possible it could get worse. Even though he hit .265 against right handers, he struggled to hit their breaking stuff (curveballs and sliders3), only hitting .198/.256/.216 compared to hitting .268/.320/.410 from 2008-12. It’s no wonder why the number of fastballs he saw decreased by 7.5 percent and the number of sliders and curveballs increased 26 percent. Another worrisome trend is he’s hitting the ball on the ground more, which leads to less power. From 2008-10 his ground ball rate was 31.3 percent, but in the last three seasons it’s 36.4 percent. From 2008-12 his isolated power was .193, but last year it was .136. Combine everything with I stated with the fact he is going to finish the year at the age of 32, it’s difficult to expect his fantasy production to even sniff the numbers he put up in 2011. Kinsler will most likely be one of the first 5-6 second basemen drafted, but I’d rather wait and take a younger player with more upside such as Jedd Gyorko or Brian Dozier. [1] Assuming my application to be a hawk trapper falls through. [2] I added the link there not for you, the reader, but for Google’s search engine spider. It’s not a literal spider, but metaphorical term the search engine optimization (SEO) industry coined years ago to describe the process search engines use to gather and index all the content on the web. The question you should be asking is why is my primary concern for the spider? Since I have more pairs of shoes than twitter followers, my motivation is to ensure the Baseball Professor domain is among one the first ten search results when some searches for “Matt Commins.” In the days of web 3.0 it’s important for every person to own the SERP (search engine results page) for their name because any time someone is considering to take you seriously, whether it is a potential employer, a potential mate, or any person actively seeking to judge you, that individual is going to Google your name. Therefore, it is important to control what content shows up. The last thing you want an individual to see — unless you’re a douchey frat guy who realizes, while standing at the urinal at 1:09 AM, he is the most uninteresting person at the bar and he should take steps to rectify this, but quickly decides to tune out that idea and decides to start a fight with someone who is wearing the baseball cap of your favorite team’s rival to prove to the world how masculine you are — is drunken pictures or content that is not flattering. I digress. By linking to the Meet the Professors page it tells the spider to crawl the content on the page again. Since the Professors page isn’t updated often, the search engine spider tends to ignore these infrequently updated pages because the spider has to crawl hundreds of billions of pages a day and it’s not efficient to allocate time to crawl pages that are not updated too often. However, when a new piece of content links to infrequently updated page such as the Professors page, the spider will crawl the link because it assumes if the page is getting linked to, the page has a higher likelihood of having new content. After the spider crawls the information it stores the information in its index (a database full of content) and if someone searches for my name they will see Baseball Professor’s website. [3] The reason why right handed pitchers throw curveballs and sliders to Kinsler and right handed hitters in general is sliders and curveballs tend to move away from the hitters bat. For example, sliders (usually) have a lot of horizontal movement and by the time the ball reaches the hitter (if it’s thrown correctly) it should be on the outer half of the plate, away from the hitters bat which should induce weak contact or no contact.
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