The Texas Rangers' position player who divided the fan base more than any other last season was Ian Kinsler, and there wasn't a close second.

Too many pop-ups and too low of a batting average, cried fans in e-mails and on Twitter, especially as the leadoff hitter for a team trying to defend its American League championship.

But the fans who think Kinsler isn't good enough to be a leadoff man are like the people who think they're going to come back from Las Vegas as big winners.

They just don't know what they're talking about.

If Kinsler isn't the best leadoff hitter in the American League, he's in the top three. Only Jacoby Ellsbury had a better season from the top of a batting order in 2011, and the Boston center fielder was the runner-up in the MVP race.

Kinsler scored 121 runs and drove in 77. That's nearly 200 runs from the top spot in the order from a player who also walked a club-high 89 times, stole 30 bases, hit 32 homers and added 34 doubles.

But like his critics, Kinsler believes he can be better.

"The ultimate goal is to score runs and get on base for the hitters behind you," said Kinsler, who has one career .300 season and two 30-30 campaigns. "I think I can combine those two things. I've done it before. To maximize every at-bat is key."