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Kinsler Ready For Leadoff Role

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Kinsler Ready For Leadoff Role

Getty Images

ARLINGTON, TX - NOVEMBER 01: Ian Kinsler #5 of the Texas Rangers throws to first for an out against the San Francisco Giants during the sixth inning of Game Five of the 2010 MLB World Series at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on November 1, 2010 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Ian Kinsler

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Does the name Rickey Henderson ring a bell?

Think best leadoff hitter of all time and the league's all-time stolen bases leader.

Ian Kinsler isn't there, but you can see some of Henderson in Kinsler's no-holds-barred style of play.

At times in his career, Kinsler has been too free-swinging, undisciplined and overly injured. At least two of those things appear to have changed as Kinsler is set to hit leadoff full-time for the defending AL champion Rangers this year.

But can he stay healthy? He missed 59 games a season ago. 150-155 games from Kinsler would be a God-send. He's been good for 2-3 DL stints per year and has still put up some really good numbers. Two years ago, he was a 30-30 man (30 home runs, 30 stolen bases) and after a lengthy DL stint last year, Kinsler played some of the best baseball of his career when it counted most.

In 16 postseason games, Kinsler hit .296 with three home runs, nine RBIs and three stolen bases in 54 at-bats. He also walked (.381 on-base percentage) and hit for power (.537 slugging percentage).

If Kinsler can continue going like that and show discipline at the plate, he'll have some good things in store for Rangers fans this year. He's got a six-game hitting streak entering today's Cactus League game.

"I think I proved to myself than I can do it at the highest level," Kinsler told MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan. "If I can continue playing the way I ended last season, it gives me a lot of confidence."

Related Topics Ian Kinsler, Leadoff, 30-30
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