Now that manager Ron Washington has determined that Ian Kinsler is his leadoff hitter with Elvis Andrus in the 2-hole and Michael Young dropping to sixth, let's take a look at what that means in terms of fantasy production. Eric Karabell takes a look and here's part of his blog:
I do like Ian Kinsler in the leadoff spot, though. As Durrett noted in this blog entry Friday, Kinsler performed more like a leadoff hitter than a run-producer last season anyway, and seeing as the second baseman is a former 30/30 guy (in 2009) the speed is not a problem. He also takes walks. He's not on the field enough -- injuries play a large role in why fantasy owners don't covet him -- but I think the Rangers are best served by Kinsler and Young setting the table, not Andrus hitting singles and, I should add, negating much of his stolen-base prowess by getting caught nearly half the time. Juan Pierre and Nyjer Morgan were the only players to get caught stealing more than Andrus.
What does this all mean to a fantasy owner? Well, if the Kinsler-Andrus duo kicks off the Rangers' lineup, I would bump up Kinsler's value some. While we know the ability to steal bases is not directly related to lineup position, as colleague Tristan H. Cockcroft noted in our 2011 Draft Kit, I think he'd bat more and score more runs, which are good things. For the record, Kinsler has 106 stolen bases in his career, with 58 coming in 65 attempts over 265 starts in the leadoff spot. The other 48 steals have come over way more starts (346) scattered through the lineup, and in 59 attempts. Clearly, in his case, Kinsler has run more while leading off. If he continues to play more of a small-ball approach, as he did in 2010, perhaps Kinsler could steal at least 30 bases again.
If Young hits sixth, adding in the chance that he might not play every day, his value drops. I would hope there would be no hard feelings from the organization coming out of this winter's drama with him, but batting fewer times and depending on Mitch Moreland, Mike Napoli, Yorvit Torrealba and center fielder Julio Borbon to drive him in is not close to the same as Hamilton, Beltre and Cruz. I have Young as my No. 7 third baseman, a shade below Jose Bautista. If he hits sixth instead of his normal second, I'd be more likely to pass on Young and take the similar Aramis Ramirez or Casey McGehee a few rounds later.
Again, you can read the entire blog entry here, including more thoughts on Young's new spot in the lineup.