Count Dave Cameron of ESPN.com and FanGraphs among those who thinks moving Ian Kinsler to first base is as good an option as free agent Adam LaRoche, for example. Cameron wrote a long piece (insider) today on the topic. Here's a small part of it:
You don't see many second baseman shift over to first base, especially those who are listed at 6-foot, but Kinsler is a better fit there than one would think based solely on his height.
While first base is generally thought of as a power position, and second baseman aren't generally known for their power, Kinsler actually hits more like a first baseman than a second baseman. For his career, he has an isolated slugging (slugging percentage minus batting average, which gives you a measure of how much power a player hit for) of .188. For comparison, Adrian Gonzalez has an ISO of .195 over the last three years. Kinsler isn't known as a prodigious home run guy, but like Gonzalez, he racks up a copious amount of doubles, which are pretty effective for driving in runs themselves.
For instance, compare Kinsler's overall offensive performance to Adam LaRoche, whom the Rangers have been linked to at various times this winter. Here are their numbers since 2010:
Kinsler: .263/.350/.441, 111 wRC+
LaRoche: .255/.327/.462, 109 wRC+
No one thinks of LaRoche as an underpowered hitter for the position, and Kinsler's offensive track record is even stronger. Any team willing to give LaRoche a first base job should also be willing to consider Kinsler a first baseman, as there's not a lot of evidence that LaRoche is a significantly better hitter overall.
The Rangers have talked to Kinsler about the idea, though they haven't made any firm decisions. But if they don't trade Elvis Andrus and want Jurickson Profar to be an every day second baseman, moving Kinsler to first makes plenty of sense. Cameron notes that it's worked for other middle infielders and he believes Kinsler can handle the job. Kinsler's a good athlete and could play just about anywhere, if you ask me. So if he's got a full spring training to work on it, he'll be just fine at first base.
Anyway, to read more of Cameron's piece (it's another great reason to get an insider account), click here.