DETROIT--The Detroit Tigers second baseman Ian Kinsler is hot. Baseballs cannot get enough of him and have been falling all over themselves just to let him get a piece of them. Oddly enough, it is usually the other way around. Just ask Prince Fielder, who is currently experiencing the opposing end of this phenomenon with the Texas Rangers.
Kinsler is on a hot streak that has not let up since he was traded by the Rangers to the Tigers. He has reached base safely in eight of his last nine games. In 38 at-bats, he has recorded 13 hits and four doubles, driven in eight RBIs and scored eight runs, knocked in a three-run home run and stolen three bases.
Kinsler's line currently reads .328/.342/.492 for a combined .836 OPS. He has had eight multi-hit games since the season began which ties for fourth most in Tigers history. In the American League this season, Kinsler is tied for second for most multi-hit games. When runners are in scoring position, he has a cool .500 batting average.
Tigers manager Brad Ausmus commented Friday night following the opening series loss to the Angels about Kinsler, "He's a good hitter. There's nothing particular about his approach, he knows what he's doing. He's been an All-Star, he's been an All-Star for a reason."
While all those numbers are impressive, what makes this information all the more sweet is the stark contrast between what Kinsler has put up versus Fielder's numbers with the Rangers. If there was any doubt before whether the Tigers won the trade, that is no longer the case.
For the entire season, Fielder is hitting .194/.316/.343 and in 62 at-bats has 13 hits, six RBIs, four doubles and two home runs. He has been struck out 10 times, had 11 base-on-balls, been intentionally walked seven times, and been hit by a pitch once.
Following a loss to the Rays on April 5, when asked about why they lost 8-1, Rangers manager Ron Washington told reporters "Prince (Fielder) just blew it. He just messed up. That's all you can say about it." Washington was referring to when Fielder got caught in a rundown between third base and home but his dissatisfaction with Fielder's performance was made clear.
Defensively, Fielder has also committed two errors with the Rangers, and the month is not yet finished. Miguel Cabrera, who took back his rightful position as the Tigers first baseman, has committed none and prevented many balls in play from going into right field. Had Fielder been at first base, the smart money says the opposition would have reached safely.
But that is first base and Kinsler is at second. Still, his abilities on the field are equally sound and he has not committed a single error this season. While former Tigers second baseman Omar Infante -- now with the Kansas City Royals -- has not committed an error either this season, the movement that Kinsler provides at second, coupled with his hot bat, has made for an impressive non-stop show.
Kinsler is one of only nine players in all of Major League Baseball that has not committed a single error at second base this season. He is holding a .444 average against left-handed hitters and one of his home runs was off a lefty. Against right-handed hitters he is lower, averaging .308 with a home run.
If there is a case to have Kinsler in games that feature a lefty, then what Kinsler has been doing against them is the perfect example. The Tigers need coverage against lefties and Kinsler is providing it in excess. Kinsler endeared himself to the Tigers and fans early on when he delivered the walk-off hit in game two of the 2014 season.
He has not let up since and is showing no such signs of doing so. In short, Tigers' general manager Dave Dombrowski became the great Houdini himself and pulled off the greatest trade of the offseason, possibly the year. And the Tigers are better for him having done so.