- Full name Ian Michael Kinsler
- Born 06/22/1982 in Tucson, AZ
- Profile Ht.: 6'0" / Wt.: 200 / Bats: R / Throws: R
- School Missouri
- Debut 04/03/2006
Drafted in the 17th round (496th overall) by the Texas Rangers in 2003.
View Draft ReportIan Kinsler and Zack Borowiak are fine defensive shortstops with strong arms. Both have improved at the plate this year. Kinsler, who hit .230 as a part-time player at Arizona State last year, carried a .337 average into the NCAA playoffs.
Organization Prospect Rankings
After Kinsler's breakout 2004 season, when he hit .345 with a minor league-high 51 doubles, the Rangers moved him from shortstop to second base so he wouldn't be blocked by Michael Young or Joaquin Arias. Kinsler embraced the move and had a solid year in Triple-A. He wanted to work more on his positioning and fundamentals at second base, so he asked to go to instructional league. He turned down an invitation to join Team USA's Olympic qualifying squad so he could do speed and agility drills, hit in the cage and focus on strength training. Kinsler may be an overachiever, but that doesn't mean he lacks tools. He has a quick bat and is a terrific fastball hitter. He profiles as at least an average hitter in the majors, with a bit of power. Defensively, he has a plus arm and made a lot of progress at second base. Scouts criticized Kinsler for swinging for the fences too much in Triple-A when that really isn't his game. He's a slightly below-average runner and still needs to get better at making routine plays at second. After trading Alfonso Soriano, the Rangers will give Kinsler a chance to win their second-base job. If he fails he still could make Texas as a reserve because he has little left to prove in Triple-A.
Kinsler played at three colleges in three years before settling at Missouri, where in 2003 he helped the Tigers to their first NCAA playoff berth in seven years. An offseason strength program coupled with his already short swing and instruction from Rangers coaches allowed Kinsler's bat to blossom in 2004. He tied for the minor league lead with 51 doubles and has average major league power for a middle infielder. He swings with gusto but still makes consistent contact and gets his share of walks and hit by pitches (18). Kinsler's hands, arm, speed and instincts are all average. That may not be enough for him to stay at shortstop, and second base is his likely future destination. He lost 15 pounds during the season, and he'll have to work to keep his strength up over a full year. No one predicted Kinsler's outburst, but no scout who saw him in 2004 called it a fluke. Doing it again is the challenge, one he likely will face as Triple-A Oklahoma's shortstop.
Minor League Top Prospects
Kinsler generates legitimate power with an aggressive, confident approach at the plate and good bat speed. He crowds the plate (15 HBPs in 71 games with Frisco) and attacks the ball, rarely getting cheated on a swing. "With some added muscle, he has a chance for impact power in the future, despite his frame," Ireland said. "He's got some adjustments to make offensively and defensively, of course. But that's why he was in Double-A." Some scouts, who said Kinsler would be adequate defensively at short in the big leagues, questioned his offensive approach. "He opens up and his bat tends to drag at times," one said.
To say that Kinsler was the MWL's biggest surprise is an understatement. The Rangers drafted him in the 17th round last year, and his modest pro debut didn't change the perception that he was nothing more than a steady organization player. He quickly stamped himself as a prospect in 2004, however, batting .401 before hitting .300 in Double-A after a mid-June promotion. Kinsler combined for a minor league-best 51 doubles and 20 homers at his two stops. He astonished scouts who had watched him in college at Missouri a year ago. "His bat speed was much better this year," an AL scout said. "He turned on everything. You couldn't get a fastball by him on the inner half. He wasn't the same guy." Kinsler can get too pull-conscious, but the consensus is that his bat is for real. He's a sound defender who makes all the routine plays. He has soft hands, and his arm and speed are average.
Top 100 Rankings
Best Tools List
- Rated Best Hitter for Average in the Texas Rangers in 2005
- Rated Best Batting Prospect in the Midwest League in 2004
- Rated Most Exciting Player in the Midwest League in 2004