Ian Kinsler Key at Top of Detroit Tigers' Lineup

By Spencer Impellizzeri
Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Second baseman Ian Kinsler turns 32 this season, but that hasn’t stopped him from playing some of the best baseball of his career.

Kinsler was the Detroit Tigers‘ key acquisition this offseason, coming to the Motor City in a trade that sent Prince Fielder to the Texas Rangers. His arrival has been instrumental to the Tigers’ improved lineup.

Playing against his former team, Kinsler showed why he has been a key addition. Kinsler went 3-for-4 with three doubles and three runs scored against the Rangers, leading the Tigers to a 7-2 victory.

After tonight’s performance, Kinsler currently is hitting .326 on the season while also posting a .358 on-base percentage and a .481 slugging percentage. The second baseman has also scored 34 runs so far this season and has struck out just 15 times through 44 games.

When stacked up against his career bests, Kinsler’s 2014 numbers would be up at the top. Kinsler’s batting average would be a career high, while both his on-base percentage and his slugging percentage would be in his top three. He is also on pace to score over 100 runs for just the fifth time in his career and his strikeouts are on pace to be at a career low.

Perhaps Kinsler’s biggest contribution to this year’s team has been on the base paths. Kinsler, along with outfielder Rajai Davis, has helped the Tigers add the weapon of speed on the base paths. Last season, the Tigers stole a total of 35 bases, but this year’s Tigers team has already stolen 38, with Kinsler swiping six of them.

With the Tigers playing great ball so far this season, Kinsler is a man who deserves a lot of credit for the success. He has come stepped into the lineup and been a catalyst hitting ahead of sluggers Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez.

If the Tigers are going to avenge last season’s exit in the ALCS, Kinsler will need to keep producing at the top of the lineup.

Spencer Impellizzeri is a writer covering the Detroit Tigers for Rant Sports. You can follow him on Twitter @Spence_I.

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