05/17/08 9:33 PM ET
Kinsler's steals are under the radar
Second baseman compiling impressive stats on basepaths
By Todd Wills / Special to MLB.com
His success rate tells a different story.
Kinsler stole his 13th base of the season on Saturday, giving him 19 consecutive stolen bases without being caught, tying the career-best streak he compiled from August 2006 to September 2007.
That's pretty good for a player who came into the league known for his power potential and is now evolving into a leadoff hitter.
"It's part of my game," said Kinsler, who was fourth in the American League in stolen bases entering Saturday's game against Houston. "It's not one of the first things I'm known for."
Maybe that should change. Kinsler has the best stolen-base percentage of anyone in Rangers/Senators history with at least 40 attempts. Kinsler's 88.5 percent success rate is better than the player he replaced, Alfonso Soriano, who had an 87.3 percent success rate as a Ranger.
To put it in perspective, many of the elite base-stealers of the past two decades, including Rickey Henderson, Vince Coleman, Carl Crawford, Jose Reyes, Ichiro Suzuki and Kenny Lofton, all had or have career success percentages between 79 and 83 percent.
Kinsler said his success is about knowing when to run. He's good at picking his spots because first-base coach Gary Pettis studies video and picks up tendencies from opposing pitchers. Pettis, who stole 38 bases for the Rangers in 1990, also watches before and during the game to find things.
"Ian is good at making adjustments at first base," said Pettis, who had a 77.3 percent success rate. "He's a good student."
Kinsler was caught twice in the span of three days in September, the first one ending his 19-game streak, or he would have reached 40 consecutive stolen bases without being caught with Saturday's steal.
"He has good instincts," Pettis said. "That's what makes it tough."
Todd Wills is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.