For those who wanted to sit Mitch Moreland
May, 30, 2013
By David Schoenfield | ESPN.com
Texas Rangers first baseman Mitch Moreland did this today off Brandon McCarthy, although I'd like a new measurement on the reported 391 feet.
The sentiment to replace Moreland wasn't without merit. His Baseball-Reference WAR last season of 0.3 suggests a replacement-level first baseman. While he hit .275/.321/.468, those are Arlington-inflated numbers, and he didn't do much damage against left-handers. Overall, for a first baseman, his season wasn't anything special.
On the other hand, his OPS was still higher than Kinsler's, and moving Kinsler to first wouldn't necessarily have been a defensive upgrade. And while there's no doubting Profar's potential, we were still talking about a 20-year-old kid who hit .281 in Double-A. Profar is a switch-hitter, but sitting Moreland would have meant losing one of the few power lefty bats in the Texas lineup -- not a good idea with the departure of Josh Hamilton.
Anyway, the Rangers and manager Ron Washington have always liked Moreland more than the scouts and analysts, even giving him a regular spot against lefties -- 10 of his 11 home runs have come off right-handers, but nine doubles against lefties have helped him to a respectable .268/.312/.437 line against southpaws. I still think the Rangers would be better off platooning him -- finding a right-handed batter who can mash against lefties and play first base is a pretty easy roster spot to fill if you so choose -- but playing him every day has worked so far.
I'm not trying to portray Moreland as some kind of future star here. He's already 27 years old and could just be riding a hot streak right now. But so far he's proving that you don't get rid of a guy unless you know you have a better option available.
As for Profar, with Kinsler currently on the disabled list he will get a few weeks of action in the big leagues. After a three-hit day in the Rangers' 9-5 victory over the Diamondbacks on Thursday, he's hit .370 in seven games. Hey, there's nothing wrong with having depth.