The Rangers have a lot of holes. Too many to fix in one off-season. Too many to fix over the next few off-seasons. But there is perhaps no bigger hole than the production they are getting, or more aptly not getting, at third base.
After 52 major league games in the 2020 season, the Texas Rangers baseball team has gotten a grand total of six RBIs from the third base position.
Six. And just two home runs. Both, of course, solo shots.
Four of the six RBIs and both the home runs have come from Isiah Kiner-Falefa. He has started 39 games at third. Two RBIs came from Todd Frazier, both in the same at-bat. He started 13 games for the Rangers at third. He didn’t hit a home run as a third baseman. What’s even sadder, this season Kiner-Falefa has not driven in more than one run in any game at that position.
Let this sink in. Kiner-Falefa has driven in four runs in 39 games at third.
In his second game as a Ranger, Adrian Beltre drove in four runs. In fact, he drove in four or more runs in a game as a Ranger 15 times.
Kiner-Falefa has driven in four. In 52 games. Had this been a 162-game season, at this pace he would drive in 17 runs at third. The six RBIs Texas has gotten from third base would extrapolate to 18 RBIs in a full season. That’s a month’s worth of production for a lot of major league third basemen.
It’s so bad it’s almost incomprehensible.
This is not to pick on Kiner-Falefa. He can only play the position they pencil him into. But third base is a production position. The Angels have Anthony Rendon, the Astros have Alex Bregman, the Athletics have Matt Chapman, the Mariners have Kyle Seager. They are all power hitting, high RBI generating bats.
Rendon has 31 RBIs this season, Bregman has 17, Chapman 25, Kyle Segar has 33. Kiner-Falefa has seven, and just four of those from the third base slot.
His best position is not third. Not that he isn’t playing gold-glove-caliber defense there. But he doesn’t hit like a third baseman. He hits like a shortstop.
Unfortunately, the Rangers roster is clogged with a guy who plays shortstop but hits like a utility player.
The Rangers desperately need power, they desperately need production, they desperately need runs. They are not getting it from their current roster, and certainly not from their third basemen.
There’s an old saying that if you don’t want business as usual, don’t do business as usual.
Unless the Rangers are willing to make some painful changes, they will go through 2021 with another anemic offense. But at least they can expect eighteen of their runs to be driven in by their third basemen.
Kyle Cody (0-2, 1.42) vs. Julio Teheran (0-3, 8.90)