The Lack of Defense For Moving Ian Kinsler


The 2011 season for Ian Kinsler saw him hit .255/.355/.477 with 32 homeruns, 30 stolen bases and 18 runs saved on defense which was good enough for over seven wins above replacement (eight wins is MVP-level).  This season helped him earn a five year, $75 million contract extension that makes him a Ranger through 2017.  

At the time, Michael Young said the following:

“[Kinsler] is a very important player,” said Michael Young, the senior member of the Rangers clubhouse. “He works very hard. It’s nice to see hard work get rewarded. It’s a great deal for Kins and a great deal for the team that he’s going to be here for the next five years and that he’s going to have second base locked down.”

If anybody should know that a player doesn’t always stay at the same position for a career, it should be Young.
The 2012 season for Kinsler has him hitting .273/.337/.439 with nine homeruns, 15 stolen bases and he has cost the team five runs with his poor defense. Kinsler already has 12 errors on the year after only making 11 in 2011. 

I have been a strong advocate of keeping Kinsler at second base for as long as he can still field the position because his value is highest at that position (as compared to moving him to outfield). Kinsler’s .776 OPS ranks fourth among second baseman in MLB, but if he was an outfielder, he would rank 34th among outfielders in 2012. 

The easy solution to handling Kinsler’s poor defense heading into 2013 and beyond would be to simply move him to LF. I suggest looking at the best second baseman in baseball (Robinson Cano) as to how to handle this situation.

Since 2009, Cano has 24 runs saved and a UZR of -1.8 while Kinsler has saved 48 runs and has a UZR of 27.1. While Kinsler’s defense has declined this year (UZR of 15.1 in ’11 and -0.1 in ’12), it hasn’t to the point to move him off the position. 

The Yankees have kept Cano at second base (despite being a mediocre fielder) because his bat is valuable there.
With the emergence of Profar in the minors, this conversation will be revisited time and time again this offseason. I hope the Rangers aren’t so quick to dump Kinsler in the outfield.  

Eddie Middlebrook is the Chat Coordinator and Junior Staff Writer for ShutDowninning. He can be reached at or on Twitter @emiddlebrook
Eddie Middlebrook
Eddie Middlebrook is Senior Writer for @ballparkbanter9 and @shutdowninning. Formerly with @wfaasports and @FoxSportsSW. @IBWAA member. Eddie can be found on Twitter @emiddlebrook.

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