Detroit Tigers Ian Kinsler: It’s an Even Year
Detroit Tigers Ian Kinsler is having a year. Since this is an even year, his performance should not come as a surprise.
Ian Kinsler has been playing in the MLB since 2006 and in every even year since then, he has been invited to the All-Star Game. Yes, in 2008, 2010, 2012 and 2014 Kinsler had the stats to make the All-Star Game. In every odd year, he did not.
Despite the strange coincidence that his All-Star streak parallels the recent World Series streak of the San Francisco Giants, there are other strange numbers in Ian Kinsler’s 11 years in the League.
In 2011, Ian Kinsler hit 32 home runs, which is the most he has ever hit in one season. He was not invited to the All-Star Game that year. He had 89 walks (the most in his career) and slash of .255/.355/.477. He played in 155 games and reached 296 total bases. While has played in more games in other years, he has not had a season where he has reached more bases.
Another unusual stat about Ian Kinsler involves a few of his non-All-Star-years. In 2009, 2011, and 2015, Kinsler earned MVP votes. He was also nominated as an MVP 2008, but that was his only even year. In 2011, he finished in 11th place in the MVP vote. In all other years, he finished in the 20s.
In 2009, the AL 2nd basemen who played in the All-Star Game included Dustin Pedroia, Aaron Hill, and Ben Zobrist. Kinsler was on a ballot to put a 33rd player on each team, but he lost out to Brandon Inge.
In 2011, Robinson Cano and Howie Kendrick played 2nd base. In 2013, 2nd base was manned by a platoon of Robinson Cano, Dustin Pedroia, and Jason Kipnis. And, in 2015, Jose Altuve, Brian Dozier, and Jason Kipnis were selected.
Kinsler’s biggest problem with making the All-Star Game on an annual basis is the fact that there are so many good second basemen in the American League. Despite the fact that Kinsler is one of the best in the game, he is continually bested by players like Cano, Altuve, and Pedroia.
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But, is he really worse than any of those perennial All-Stars? In 2015, Altuve lead the AL in several stats, including at-bats, stolen bases, and hits. He also led the league in “caught stealing” numbers. In 2015, Altuve had a WAR of 4.2 and Kinsler had a WAR of 4.0. They were close in 2015, but Altuve was slightly better.
When it comes to comparisons between Robinson Cano and Kinsler, the numbers in 2015 also went in Cano’s favor. He hit more home runs, more RBIs, and a WAR of 4.4. However, Kinsler had a better slash line, with a BA of .296 to Cano’s BA of .287.
Kinsler’s performance with the Tigers in 2016 are on track to put him in the running for a spot on the All-Star team. But, his current performance is on-par with his archnemeses of Altuve, Cano, and Pedroia. Since the fans get to vote, Kinsler might actually end his even-year streak if he does not get enough votes.
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In the eyes of the Tigers fans, Kinsler is the true All-Star and MVP of the team in the current season.