After his stint as the Rangers' leadoff hitter last year and his subsequent postseason run which saw him set a rookie record for consecutive postseason games to reach base, Elvis Andrus is poised to be a the Rangers leadoff man from the get-go this season, and for years and years down the road.
It's not so much that Kinsler can't be a quality leadoff guy, it's just that Andrus showed so much potential in 2010, especially in the postseason when he was a run producing machine and was a menace on the base paths.
Kinsler barely played 100 games last year, but in 2009 when he played almost 150, he did steal 31 bases and hit 31 home runs but struggled to hit .250. His on-base percentage was .327. Andrus' in 2010 was .342.
In discussing this matter, you have to remember a leadoff hitter is only guaranteed to lead off an inning once, and the order is often determined by many factors. Does Player X like hitting with a runner going? Does Player Y bunt for base hits? Does Player Y bunt well enough to move a runner? There are many factors.
Either way, if the Rangers stay healthy and Kinsler can keep his DL trips to one short one and play 145 games, this lineup will be awfully dangerous. Can you imagine a lineup with Mike Napoli batting No. 8? That's a guy with 25-30 home run potential in Rangers Ballpark. That's a pretty good lineup.
My philosophy? Don't fix what isn't broken. Andrus showed he can be a great leadoff hitter at times last year. Let him try again.
In other Rangers news, many media outlets are reporting that Adrian Beltre will miss 10-15 days of camp with a calf strain. The MRI revealed no tear, which is a major positive. Looks like Michael Young might be more needed than he thought, perhaps?