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MVP Not Kinsler's But He Should Be Appreciated

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    ST LOUIS, MO - OCTOBER 28: Ian Kinsler #5 of the Texas Rangers turns the double play as Rafael Furcal #15 of the St. Louis Cardinals slides into second base in the second inning during Game Seven of the MLB World Series at Busch Stadium on October 28, 2011 in St Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

    Ian Kinsler is one of the most polarizing figures in the Texas Rangers clubhouse. It's always been that way, and it likely always will as long as he's donning the red cap.

    Rangers fans get frustrated with some of his aggressiveness at the plate and his uppercut swing, and rightfully so.

    And even though Kinsler's batting average left dozens of points to be desired this season, a look at his numbers might suggest the second baseman had his best season yet while proving he could be an effective leadoff hitter without the traditional batting average.

    You could even make a case that Kinsler should receive some consideration for the AL MVP award that will be handed out today. Should he get it? No. But he was setting the table for one of the best lineups in baseball all season not to mention doing damage himself. And that doesn't even go into his play at second base and as one of the best double-play combinations in all of baseball.

    Kinsler hit just .255 on the season, going through some painfully bad slumps during the season, but if you avoid that number, the stats he put were impressive and most importantly, not empty numbers.

    Kinsler posted an on-base percentage of .355, a full 100 points higher than his batting average showing his plate discipline and his ability as a table-setter. He also had an .832 OPS with a career-high 32 home runs to go with 30 stolen bases for his second-career 30-30 season. He had a career-high 89 walks and drove in 77 runs while scoring a career-high 121 times.

    He was near the top of the league in runs, on-base percentage and had just 11 errors from second base, with many of those coming on balls that most second baseman would not have gotten to in the first place.

    So Rangers fans, it's time to accept Kinsler as your leadoff man. Yeah, his average dipped from the norm this season but batting average isn't the important number it used to be, and Kinsler does just about everything else right.