Friday, October 09, 2009

Texas Rangers rant

B/c I am a fan - which is to say: a fanatic - I left a largely quixotic comment on a DMN Rangers Blog posting of an Evan Grant online chat with Michael Young, Ian Kinsler, and Marlon Byrd. Quixotic or not, at least the rant helped me vent some frustration, and so was fun in that way. If Michael Young improves his defense in 2010, I'm claiming credit for it.

Posted by gcotharn @ 6:09 PM Fri, Oct 09, 2009

Jon Daniels:
"Kinsler is ... too smart not to make adjustments [to his uppercut swing]."

No, Kinsler is not "too smart", as demonstrated by his apparent blindness to the way his pop up at bats and fly ball at bats hurt the team this season. Rather, Kinsler is not wise enough, in this instance, to correct the problem.

If Kinsler's hitting ever recovers, he will attribute it to "raising my hands about 4 inches, and going to RF more". It's easy to see that is what he needs, even though I am just a stupid fan who doesn't understand the value of an ocean-full of fly ball outs from Ian Kinsler.

All three of the players do a decent job of grinding pitchers and drawing walks, yet they do not do an excellent job, and could all improve. If the team is going to the next level, they ought be leading the way in this area. The younger hitters look to them. These three guys set the tone, and they have not set a tone of excellence in this area. I am disturbed that none seem to show awareness of their lack of excellence in this area. They are good in this area, but are not excellent. For team leaders, for players whom younger players are looking to for guidance: good is not good enough. The Rangers 2009 failure was mostly about inadequate selectivity at the plate. The Rangers 2010 improvement will be mostly about improving the team's selectivity at the plate. Either these guys will set the tone, or the team will fail again. Further, playoff history is littered with free swinging offense which were shut down cold in playoff series. The Oakland A's Bash Brothers teams come to mind. They underachieved in playoff series, and lack of selectivity was the reason.

Re: Kinsler
I suspect the same hardheadedness which got him to the major leagues, which is his great strength and is the source of his mental toughness, is now stifling him. He made it b/c he did it his way when all around him did not believe he could. Now, that same drive is hurting him. He is in denial about the damage his uppercut swing is doing to both his career and to the team.

Finally, if Michael Young is somehow reading this:
on defense, you are too high at the moment the batter makes contact, and it is killing your range. You ought not have to dive horizontally and then vertically car crash to the hard packed dirt. Ouch. Rather, bend your knees in the ready position, get your buttocks lower, and then dive horizontally while only inches from the ground. A defensive dive ought be smooth and comfy, yet your defensive dives are both painful and dangerous (to your ribs). Worse, your defensive dives are ineffective. They hurt the team.

One more: when you wait on throws, you are also too high. You are catching the throw and then lowering your buttocks towards the runner. Your buttocks ought already be down there. The only thing which ought be lowered towards the runner is your glove. But you lower your buttocks after the catch, which wastes time and allows some dead duck runners to become live ducks.

Mine is an arrogant comment. However, I've no other chance, ever, to get word through to Michael Young. Call me Don Quixote.


emjay said...

Good windmill tilting, Don! Tell Kinsler also that once in awhile he might give the APPEARANCE of PERHAPS swinging at the first pitch instead of harking back to his little league days when they NEVER did that! I'm so disgusted with the whole team.

gcotharn said...

I am disgusted that Michael Young and Ian Kinsler do not seem prepared to adapt their approaches at the plate in order to be more selective about what they swing at. The entire future success of this grouping of players depends on whether the players either become more selective or continue to swing at pitches which are off the plate. Regardless of any trades which are or are not made, future success depends on internal improvement in this area. I am disgusted that Michael Young and Ian Kinsler demonstrate little awareness of the problem.