Last night, Detroit Tigers second baseman Ian Kinsler went 2-for-3 with a home run in the Tigers’ 4-1 victory over the Baltimore Orioles. He is now batting .315 on the season and leads the Tigers with 45 hits.
Granted, the season is still very young, but Kinsler seems to be a different type of hitter this year than he was with the Texas Rangers the past few seasons. Now, in his age-32 campaign, it appears that Kinsler may have finally found his line-drive swing. He has been the perfect leadoff hitter for the Tigers up to this point, and he appears to be much more of a natural in that spot than Austin Jackson was.
According to ESPN, Kinsler is currently on pace to not only bat above .300, but to collect 214 hits, including 19 home runs, steal 24 bases, score 119 runs and drive in 91 runs. Although it is a bit early to begin talking about projected numbers, that would indeed be a career year for Kinsler.
Although he has been a 30-30 man twice, as Kinsler achieved the feat in 2009 and again in 2011, he batted .253 and .255 in those seasons respectively. As a matter of fact, Kinsler is a lifetime .274 hitter who has only batted over .300 once, which was all the way back in 2008 when he batted .319 in 518 at-bats. That seems a little odd, given the fact that Kinsler’s career strikeout rate is under 12 percent.
However, it is beginning to look like Kinsler has a real chance to bat over .300 in 2014. He is currently among the American League‘s hit leaders with his 45 base knocks, and he already has 16 multi-hit games. He is also batting .303 in his new home ballpark of Comerica Park, which his teammate Victor Martinez has found is very friendly to the line-drive hitter who likes to split the gaps.
At any rate, it has been a lot of fun watching Kinsler rack up the hits this season, and hopefully he can continue to do so. When it was first announced that the Tigers had acquired Kinsler in exchange for Prince Fielder last November, many believed that the Rangers would be the winner of that trade as it seemed that Fielder would do nothing but thrive in the hitter friendly confines of Texas’ ballpark. However, if things continue to go the way that they have thus far, the history books will likely tell a much different tale.