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Ian Kinsler Is Still Not Hitting For Power

All we wanted from Ian Kinsler this season was for him to relax a little bit, remember that he didn’t have to try to hit the left field foul pole every at bat, and remember how to take a few pitches and draw a few walks. He is doing exactly those things. Even after a mini 4-26 slump this week he’s still getting on base at a .381 clip because of his terrific approach at the plate, highlighted by 19 walks in 134 PA.

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Thirty games is still a small sample, particularly for a streaky hitter like Kinsler. But taking his results so far at face value, it appears, with Kinsler, we may have to choose between an on-base machine and big time middle of the diamond pop. He gave us everything in 2008, but that was due to a .319 batting average that was over 30 points higher than his next best season. In his first four seasons his walk rate has been around 9% and his ISOP a touch shy of .200. This season those numbers are 14.2% and .098.

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What is the net result? As aesthetically pleasing as it is to see the quality at bats and surprisingly frequent line drive to right field, he’s essentially as effective as he has been every other year aside from that 2008. His wOBA numbers:

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2006: .346
↵2007: .344
↵2008: .379
↵2009: .346
↵2010: .333

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I would submit that he’s still doing the right thing. There is a reasonable chance that his improved approach will incorporate more power as the season goes on. But through about a month he has merely taken a different route to essentially the same caliber of results.

Photographs by jamesbrandon, jdtornow, phlezk, flygraphix, mcdlttx, tomasland, and literalbarrage used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.