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Ian Kinsler wants to steal more bases. He might.

Jan 3, 2014, 10:59 AM EDT

Ian Kinsler Getty Images

There’s a story in the Detroit Free Press about Ian Kinsler‘s dissatisfaction with his stolen base totals from last year. He swiped only 15 bases and was caught 11 times. The former total was his lowest since his rookie season, the latter total was his highest ever. He discusses the reasons for why this was in the article and they make sense.

It’ll be interesting to see if, as Kinselr wishes, he’ll be able to improve on that now that he’s in Detroit.  The Tigers were dead last in all of baseball last season in both stolen bases (35) and stolen base attempts (55). This despite having putative speedy fellows like Austin Jackson, Torii Hunter and Jose Iglesias in the lineup. Of course, they also had Jim Leyland at the helm, not Brad Ausmus, and Prince Fielder and Miguel Cabrera in the lineup and neither of those are guys who you (a) want running; or (b) want to take the bat out of their hands by running when they’re up.

Maybe the Tigers run more under Ausmus. And with Fielder gone — and the speedy Rajai Davis around — you have to figure that they will attempt more than 55 steals. Still, it seems unlikely to me that the Tigers — who were second in the AL in runs per game, after all — are going to radically change their approach. So while Kinsler should wind up with more than 15 steals, I wouldn’t expect a return to 30.

  1. unclemosesgreen - Jan 3, 2014 at 11:25 AM

    If Ausmus lets a brittle player with a 58% success rate attempt more steals than he did last year, he probably won’t last too long as a manager. As the stolen base efficiency break even point is 70%, and as Kinsler is moving to a team with an entrenched philosophy against SB’s, I am projecting no more than 10 steals for Kinsler if he stays healthy.

    Since he’s moving to a slightly better homerun park I have him down for 20 HR’s. But his days as a five-category fantasy player should be over.

    • paperlions - Jan 3, 2014 at 12:01 PM

      I could be wrong, but I think in the lower run scoring environment we have now (compared to 1993 through 2006), you have to have a higher success rate, as outs are even more valuable than the 1 base advancement.

      • unclemosesgreen - Jan 3, 2014 at 12:04 PM

        Changes slightly every year – falls between 70 and 75 percent. I went with 70% to be conservative.

    • clydeserra - Jan 3, 2014 at 12:29 PM

      he was 70% in 2012 and much better every year before that. (88, 75, 86, 92, 92, 73 all with 15 or more steals except his rookie year when he stole 11)

      His excuse of being on hit and runs with high strikeout guys seems weak. So I really don’t know what to think.

      PS Craig, his total was 15 also in 2010 so saying 15 was his lowest total since his rookie year seems imprecise to me

      • unclemosesgreen - Jan 3, 2014 at 2:32 PM

        I couldn’t verify Kinsler’s excuses vis-a-vis failed hit-and-runs (I’m pretty sure I would need to subscribe to retrosheet,) but I did find a big hole in this Moses Green guy’s analysis. While Comerica is a better HR park than Arlington overall, it’s actually slightly more punitive for HR’s by right-handed hitters. In light of this fact and with Kinsler’s downward ISO trends, I find it more likely that he goes for something closer to 12 HR’s. What a rube that Uncle Moses guy is! Moron.

  2. pastabelly - Jan 3, 2014 at 11:27 AM

    With a ratio like his, he should attempt less steals.

    • teamobijuan - Jan 3, 2014 at 2:56 PM

      He should concentrate on getting on base.

  3. jpack1974 - Jan 3, 2014 at 11:46 AM

    The dude got picked off ALOT as well.

    • beefytrout - Jan 3, 2014 at 11:52 AM

      he was pretty notorious for losing focus frequently.

    • gt929 - Jan 4, 2014 at 11:51 AM

      I guess that was Elvis’s fault, too.

  4. nymets4ever - Jan 3, 2014 at 12:40 PM

    it would certainly be nice to see them get more active on the basepaths. all these station-to-station teams that sit around waiting for three-run bombs are BORING to watch.

    • historiophiliac - Jan 3, 2014 at 1:19 PM

      Yes, that’s why everyone gets fanatical at the annual SB Derby.


      • nymets4ever - Jan 3, 2014 at 1:23 PM

        lol…the Glorified Batting Practice Derby is a friggin joke brah.

      • historiophiliac - Jan 3, 2014 at 1:25 PM

        Girl, you are cray cray!

    • unclemosesgreen - Jan 3, 2014 at 2:33 PM

      As a Mets fan you obviously have to root for something besides wins, so knock yourself out.

      • nymets4ever - Jan 3, 2014 at 3:51 PM

        Can’t blame you for being bitter about how the last few postseasons have ended for your Kitties, and how their window is closing while the Mets’ window opens.

      • unclemosesgreen - Jan 3, 2014 at 3:53 PM

        I’m a Red Sox fan buddy. I’m far from bitter about the season. Now 2012 was a much different story with Bobby V., but last season ended perfectly, thank you very much.

        Fear the Beards!

      • unclemosesgreen - Jan 3, 2014 at 3:58 PM

        As to the Mutts’ window – BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!

        Overpaying Curtis Granderson and Chris Young to *star* in the OF alongside the immortal Eric Young Jr. is going to put you over the top, right? Or is it Bartolo Colon?

        Yeah, they’re still going to stink on ice. Good luck with that mess.

      • nymets4ever - Jan 3, 2014 at 4:20 PM

        lol, yea, silly me…I forgot ignoramus Red Sux fans are now incapable of deeming any player good unless he grows a ratty disgusting old beard.

        Matt Harvey? Terrible pitcher! Who needs that guy and his 98mph heat on the corners? He doesn’t even have facial hair! David Wright? That bum and his overrated “future Hall of Famer” numbers – grow a beard and then talk to us.

      • unclemosesgreen - Jan 3, 2014 at 4:27 PM

        Love Matt Harvey! I’m a baseball fan first. Even I was bummed when he got hurt. Also, he grew up a 1/2 hour east of me. Local kid. He’s one to dream on for sure.

        He’s just not going to pitch until 2015, and he’s not exactly assured of being as awesome. A lot of kids haven’t been recovering so well from TJ surgery lately

        David Wright on the other hand, is totally overrated.

  5. philliesblow - Jan 3, 2014 at 12:40 PM

    Kinsler didn’t get the memo. Politicians are in charge of stealing in Detroit.

  6. historiophiliac - Jan 3, 2014 at 1:20 PM

    Unfortunately, we can’t expect a return to Arlington either. 😦

    • unclemosesgreen - Jan 3, 2014 at 2:36 PM

      I’m not following your meaning here, brah.

  7. markofapro - Jan 3, 2014 at 2:45 PM

    Uncle Moses….why do you say Detroit is a better hitting home run park than Arlington?

    • unclemosesgreen - Jan 3, 2014 at 2:51 PM

      Here ya go:

  8. markofapro - Jan 3, 2014 at 3:07 PM

    That’s from last year ONLY. Look at the data from the last 10 years and I can assure you Texas is a much better home run park. Add to that, last year’s numbers were a product of a lack of Ranger home run hitters and quality pitching from the Rangers staff.

    • unclemosesgreen - Jan 3, 2014 at 3:36 PM

      The page has links going from 2001-2013.

      My recollection was closer to what you’re saying, but it’s usually best to use the most recent park factors as they take climactic and park changes into account (like fences moving in or out, changing wind patterns, etc.)

      Changing personnel affect these factors as well, as you suggest, but that effect is balanced by comparing the hitting performances of road teams at the park as well. In this case, adding the Houston Astros to the division also had a deleterious effect on offense.

  9. thegreatstoneface - Jan 3, 2014 at 5:08 PM

    it wouldn’t surprise me to see ausmus have the tigers running, and maybe even running a lot, if they have decent success at it.

    they’re certainly better set up to be more aggressive on the bases going into ’14 than they were when LP took over and ran them out of innings over and over…

  10. braxtonrob - Jan 3, 2014 at 6:27 PM

    … just looking at Kinsler (on paper), I noticed –
    If he plays ’till he’s 39 years old, and plays the next 8 years like he did the first 8, he will likely amass:
    300 steals
    300 HR’s
    500 2B’s
    2,300 hits
    and have a relatively stellar BB/SO career ratio at the plate.

    He doesn’t have a GG at 2B, but he does have superb range.
    I’m no SABR-metrician, but those look like HOF #’s to me.

    • clemente2 - Jan 3, 2014 at 8:08 PM

      Please, FSM, no!

      And not until Whitaker, Grich and Kent are in, all better than Kinsler and deserving of their own merit.

      • braxtonrob - Jan 4, 2014 at 2:59 AM

        Before Kinsler plays his last season, I predict the VC will put Whitaker in, and those lazy BBWAA writers will vote Kent in. (I don’t see Grich ever getting in.)

        8 years from now, Kinsler may well be better appreciated.

  11. ndnut - Jan 3, 2014 at 10:03 PM

    “I pay you to get on first, not get thrown out at second” – Brad Pitt as Billy Beane in Moneyball

    • braxtonrob - Jan 4, 2014 at 2:56 AM

      I live in Dallas; Kinsler gets thrown out sliding back into first (after it’s too late).

      He’ll have a stellar season though in Detroit, at the plate, and stealing. Mark my words!

  12. markofapro - Jan 4, 2014 at 1:29 PM

    Brax- do you have a life-sized poster of Kinsler in your bed room? HOF? Are you effing kidding me?

    • braxtonrob - Jan 4, 2014 at 7:15 PM

      maybe 😛

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