From CDO to MLB, Kinsler thriving - Tucson Local Media: Sports

From CDO to MLB, Kinsler thriving

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Posted: Wednesday, January 11, 2012 4:00 am

Canyon Del Oro High School has a long reputation of sending its baseball players to the Majors. In total, seven players out of CDO have advanced to play in the MLB, one of which played in the 2011 World Series with the Texas Rangers.

The seven players who have graduated from CDO and advanced to MLB are Ian Kinsler, Chris Duncan, Shelley Duncan, Brian Anderson, Colin Porter, Scott Hairston, and Jason Stanford.

Kinsler, a 2000 CDO graduate, was overshadowed during much of his high school and college careers, had a huge regular season to help lift the Rangers into the 2011 playoffs. When the Rangers met the St. Louis Cardinals in the World Series, Kinsler would not slow down. Despite their eventual game seven loss to the Cardinals, Kinsler’s postseason numbers were impressive and consistent.

Between the Division Series, League Championship Series, and World Series, Kinsler’s batting average hovered around .308, with a total of 11 runs batted in. Kinsler also managed a stolen base in each playoff series.

His regular season statistics were equally impressive, with 32 homeruns, 77 RBI’s, 121 runs scored, 30 stolen bases, and a .255 batting average.

Kinsler, now a two-time All-Star, has spent all eight of his MLB years with the Rangers, and managed to become one of their most relied upon, well-rounded players. Reaching this point was no easy task for Kinsler, who did not always receive the same recognition throughout high school and college.

“There were a lot of quality players at the time he played, and he probably was overlooked as an elite player because some others were already physically advanced and high profile,” said Phil Wright, who coached Kinsler at CDO during his sophomore year.

Some of those names surrounding Kinsler included Brian Anderson, Chris Duncan, and Shelley Duncan, all of whom were eventually drafted into the MLB.

“Ian was always a very cool, level-headed player,” said Wright. “He was calm and had very good composure. I recall him being slight in weight (tall and thin), but he had very good bat speed and was a double’s type hitter as a 10th grader.”

Kinsler, alongside Brian Anderson, won the state championship their senior year at CDO. As a senior, Kinsler was batting .504, with five homeruns and 26 stolen bases, helping him gain the recognition he deserved from college scouts.

After graduating high school in 2000, Kinsler eventually wound up at Arizona State University, where he would face much of the same competition he did throughout high school. With one of the most competitive baseball teams in college, ASU boasted talented players such as Dustin Pedroia, who would go on to play for the Boston Red Sox. Kinsler found himself on the back burner once again, as Pedroia replaced him at starting shortstop.

“I think the fact that he was surrounded by players like this helped motivate him,” said Wright.

Kinsler transferred to Missouri his junior year, where he would have a standout season, hitting .335 and stealing 16 bases.

When Kinsler led Missouri to the NCAA Regional Finals, and later had a huge impact in the NCAA Big 12 Tournament, Texas Rangers’ scouts finally recognized what they had previously overlooked. Kinsler was talented, and a hard worker. 

In 2003, after battling stiff competition throughout high school and college, Kinsler had proven himself, and was signed by the Texas Rangers.

Since that time, Kinsler has done nothing but improve,which is proof he has not abandoned the mentality that got him into the MLB in the first place.

“It did not shock me to see him move up the baseball ladder, as he spent a lot of time working hard and being a major factor on winning teams, and playing the game with unique confidence,” said Wright.

In contract talks, Kinsler has expressed his desire to remain a Ranger. ESPN.com quoted Kinsler as saying, “I’d love to be a Ranger for life. I was drafted by this organization and have been here my whole career. I want to stay here.”

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