If you have not been following the Detroit Tigers as religiously as others, you will be happy to learn about the multitude of new faces that will grace the field come April. Since we did not want to leave you in the dark and have you terrified when Opening Day rolls around, we will give you the rundown of every new starter wearing the Old English D.Name: Ian Kinsler Bats: Right Throws: Right Previous Team: Texas Rangers 2013 Stats: .277 BA / 13 HR / 72 RBI / .344 OBP 2014 Salary: $13,000,000
Solid all-around player. Competent fielder, with decent speed and complementary power. Expect a consistent batter and fielder combination throughout the season.
Kinsler was a high risk, high reward guy to pick up from the Rangers. He comes in from being the leadoff hitter for Texas, and expect him to keep that role into the 2014 season. With Austin Jackson lacking in the postseason, Kinsler will (hopefully) prove his consistent bat will give Detroit an ability for RBI’s aplenty when Cabrera makes his way to the plate in the three spot.
Kinsler is definitely not flying under the radar. The role of second baseman has been Kinsler’s speciality throughout his seven years in the league, tallying only 13 errors in 144 games in Texas last season. Although defensive specialist Ramon Santiago will be missed, a man who can hit as well as play the spot efficiently will make a big difference on the Tigers. A .978 fielding percentage in 2013 should alleviate any worries about Kinsler at second.
Adding to his trade stock is Kinsler’s speed. Not Ichiro acceleration, but enough to ensure the pitchers need to keep him in the back of their head while he is on the basepath. Again, a much-needed role in Detroit is filled with Kinsler’s baserunning ability. In the 2013 season, Kinsler stole 15 bases, while being caught stealing 11 times. Is it fantastic numbers? Not at all, but enough to keep the defense weary.
What to Expect
The multi-tool Kinsler is going to be a consistent piece of this Tiger team for many years. Bats going quiet may be a problem in Detroit, but something that does not go on a dry streak is fielding. His power numbers will certainly take a hit in a bigger park like Comerica, but Kinsler was not acquired for his home run ability. He is a contact hitter with the ability to turn a single into a double and stay on base for the big men to collect their RBI’s. Hopefully, that is what he turns out to do.
Richie Cozzolino is host of Tiger Talk for Impact Sports.