Who Sets The Table?
That being said, let me make a point about batting order.
A lot of fans and media hate that Wash bats Ian Kinsler first, because he’s not a “real” top-of-the-order guy. They’d rather see Elvis Andrus leading off because they see him as more of a prototypical lead-off hitter.
It’s usually some combination of speed and a high on-base percentage. The idea is to get on base often so you can rack up steals and/or let the power hitters in the middle of the order drive you in.
It should come as no surprise that Elvis has the wheels (and the instincts) to steal a lot of bases, but how does his .312 OBP compare to the rest of the team?
Here’s a list of everyday players that have an on-base percentage lower than .312:
- David Murphy
- There is no 2.
Every other Ranger with 50 or more plate appearances gets on base more often than Elvis. What about Kinsler, though? How does his .369 OBP stack up against everyone else?
Here’s a list of everyday players that have an on-base percentage higher than .369:
- Lance Berkman
- Again, there is no 2.
Unless you expect Berkman’s old man legs to swipe 20+ bags, Kinsler actually makes a lot of sense as a lead-off hitter. Yet the narrative lives on.
Kinsler’s not a “real” top-of-the-order guy because he pops the ball up too much and has terrible body language. The solution is obviously to bat him 5th (because I guess pop-ups and poor body language are more valuable in the middle of the order).
Please, Rangers fans, stop the madness and embrace Ian Kinsler as a lead-off hitter.
(Note: Stats were gathered on June 5th.)