Saturday, 29 June 2013

Maicer's Mirage, Or Why Chase Utley Needs to Happen

That doesn't look like Maicer Izturis, and it looks like it's autographed by a guy named Abe Stewart or something.

Maicer Izturis didn't exactly hit the ground running this year in his first games as a Blue Jay.  He and Emilio Bonifacio pretty much tried to test each other to see who could be less competent at second base over the spring, and that battle stretched in to the regular season, to the point where Brett Lawrie was being tested out at second instead of third during his rehab from his first injury.  Izturis' was below the Mendoza line in April, and wasn't much better in May (.232/.283/.339).

If, however, you've been watching Jays games on TV, you would have noticed that Buck Martinez hasn't shut the hell up about how well Maicer Izturis is playing lately, both offensively and defensively.  Obviously a 10-or-15-game streak isn't going to completely override a horrific start such as the one Izutris had unless he did something ridiculous like hit .600/.700/.950 or whatever.  He definitely hasn't done that, but he's been a little better of late.

At one point this year, Izturis was clocking in at a handy -1.1 WAR (I think you're just going to have to take my word on this one, since I don't know if I can retroactively look something like that up on Fangraphs or not and probably won't try since we've got a reasonable idea of how pointless that would be).  Since that mystery date about three weeks ago, Izturis has raised that figure up to -0.9 WAR.  Couldn't be happier.

I knew that replacement level at 2B was low, but I didn't think it was this low.  I mean, if Muni can be worth 0.8 fWAR over 60 games with an empty .336 OBP, then the world is crying for shortstops.  Shortstop is, naturally, harder to play than 2B, so that makes sense.  Anyway, Izturis, over his last arbitrarily selected 16 games, has hit .328/.344/.508 (babip of .360) to bring his season line up to .237/.271/.348, or a 67wRC+.

Fangraphs says that Izturis has been worth -7.4 fielding runs to the Jays, and his baserunning has cost them another run or so.  Call that -8.5 runs, which translates to right around -0.8 WAR, depending on just how outdated that runs/10 formula is (I've read that using 9 instead of 10 is probably a little more accurate given the success of the pythagenpat and Clay Davenport formulae).

Maicer Izturis' has been terrible this year, save for his last cherry-picked 16 games.  Maicer Izturis' bat has been replacement level.  Sweet Jesus.

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