Ian Kinsler Going to Los Angeles: Fantasy impact

The Angels traded for Tigers second baseman Ian Kinsler. With Mike Trout and Albert Pujols, what can Kinsler do on the West Coast in 2018?

The Los Angeles Angels continue their quest for a 2018 playoff berth. First, they sign Shohei Ohtani. Now, they agreed to trade for veteran second baseman Ian Kinsler. With a solid defensive front, their starting pitchers will have a lot of reassurance behind them. But, can he rebound from his poor hitting performance?

Kinsler hit .236/.313/.412 in 139 games with the Tigers. He hit 22 home runs, drove in 52 runs and scored another 90. With the Tigers in the process of their own rebuild, he wasn’t going to have much value this season anyway.

Kinsler saw a rise in his strikeout rate and decline in walk rate when he joined the Tigers. His line drive and ground ball rates stayed roughly the same while his fly ball and HR/FB rates increased a few percentage points.

What has happened though, is opposing pitchers getting ahead in counts more and Kinsler swinging at more pitches in and out of the strike zone. That resulted in the lower batting average while still hitting 20+ home runs.

Kinsler was a seventh-round pick in standard leagues, 62.5 ADP. With injuries and low batting average, he finished as the No. 25 second baseman on the Player Rater. The position has gotten a lot deeper over the last couple of seasons so Kinsler will have to put up close to career numbers if he were to get back into the top 10.

He’s had a bit of a roller coaster of a career. While he’s had some good power-hitting seasons (two 30-home run seasons), they are usually accompanied with low batting averages. And, when he has low power numbers, like in 2015, he hits over .270.

The one season when the stars aligned was in 2016 when Kinsler hit 28 home runs and .288 in 153 games. That resulted in a No. 7 finish on the Player Rater and his high ADP entering this season.

Kinsler will have a better lineup around him. It is hard to replace the bats of Victor Martinez and Miguel Cabrera but both are getting up there in age. Now, he’ll join Mike Trout, Alberto Pujols (yes, I know he’s old too) and two-way star Ohtani. Along with CJ Cron, Justin Upton and Andrelton Simmons, the Angels have a pretty solid lineup heading into 2018.

Roster Resource lists Dixon Machado as the current Tigers second baseman. If he is half the player of the other Machado, the Tigers will be in good hands. Unfortunately, he hasn’t shown much in his limited playing time, 1 HR/16 RBI/.246 in 244 at-bats. He’s way off the fantasy radar.

Kinsler 2018 as my No. 18 second baseman. ESPN has him at No. 19 and FantasyPros has him at No. 17 (18 if you count Jose Ramirez as a second baseman). He has experience playing in the American League West. He will be a late-round draft pick as a middle infielder or bench player in standard leagues.