All we wanted from Ian Kinsler this season was for him to relax a little bit, remember that he didnâ€™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 heâ€™s still getting on base at a .381 clip because of his terrific approach at the plate, highlighted by 19 walks in 134 PA.â†µ
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.â†µ
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, heâ€™s essentially as effective as he has been every other year aside from that 2008. His wOBA numbers:â†µ
I would submit that heâ€™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.