28-year old righty swinging 2B Ian Kinsler was a 30/30 man in 2009 with the Rangers but he came back down to Earth in 2011. Kinsler played in 103 games for the Rangers last season and he was 112 of 391 (.286 avg, .794 OPS) with 73 runs scored, 9 homers, 45 RBIs and 15 stolen bases. In Kinsler’s first five years in the majors, he is averaging 123.6 games played, 87.4 runs scored, 18.4 homers, 63.6 RBIs and 21.2 stolen bases per game. Kinsler has only played in over 140 games one time in his first five years in the majors. Kinsler is a great speed and power threat when he stays healthy but that has been a huge problem for him so far is his career. Kinsler made 7 errors in 103 games at 2B last season while showing average range. The Rangers will be ecstatic if Kinsler can stay healthy for around 140 games in 2011.
The Rangers don’t really have much of a backup plan if Kinsler goes down again. 26-year old switch hitting Andres Blanco was Kinsler’s main caddy in 2011, but he’s a natural shortstop. Blanco made 4 errors in 40 games at 2B last season while showing poor range. Blanco also isn’t much of a hitter either.
32-year old switch hitting Matt Kata might be able to beat out Andres Blanco this spring. Kata played in 132 games in AAA-ball for the Astros last season and he was 131 of 485 (.270 avg, .686 OPS) with 63 runs scored, 6 homers, 47 RBIs and 4 stolen bases. Kata made 2 errors in 34 games at 2B in the minors last season. He can also handle playing 1B and 3B which could help his cause.
PROJECTED GRADE FOR THE RANGERS 2B IN 2011: B