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Monday, March 18, 2013

Bonifacio, Izturis allow Blue Jays to diversify offence

Divide your investments among many places,
for you do not know what risks might lie ahead for .320 OBP types.

The Jays finished fifth in the American League with 198 home runs last year, but also fifth in strikeouts with 1,251.

“If you can put the ball in play and run a little bit, you don’t always have to hit the ball hard [to score runs],” general manager Alex Anthopolous said. “You can force the other team to make an error, break a bat and still get a single, to keep a rally going. Home runs are great, they’re guaranteed runs. But with power comes strikeouts and with strikeouts, you’re a little bit more prone to slumps.”

Bonifacio and Izturis are switch hitters with speed; Izturis is a much better contact hitter and Bonifacio the more dynamic base runner. Bonifacio has struck out once every five at-bats in six seasons, slightly above the major-league average, while in eight seasons, Izturis’s ratio is slightly under one strikeout every 10 at-bats.

Bonifacio stole 30 bases in only 64 games during an injury-plagued 2012 season with the Miami Marlins, hitting .258 with a .330 on-base percentage. Izturis stole a career-high 17 bases in 100 games for the Los Angeles Angels, hitting .256 with a .320 on-base percentage.

“We’ve talked about different scenarios back and forth with Izturis and Bonny,” Anthopolous said.

For instance, Izturis could get the start against a strikeout pitcher such as the Tampa Bay Rays’ David Price. Bonifacio might get the nod against a pitcher with a slow motion to the plate. With a tough lefty on the mound, both could make the lineup.

...“I love Bonifacio,” Baltimore Orioles manager Buck Showalter said this weekend. “If they don’t know it yet, they’ve got a gem. It doesn’t matter where he plays, he can impact a game defensively in about four spots.”

Repoz Posted: March 18, 2013 at 11:42 PM | 25 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: blue jays, sabermetrics

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   1. Walt Davis Posted: March 19, 2013 at 01:32 AM (#4390983)
Thanks to baserunning, Good Face is slightly above average the last 3 years according to bWAR.* However, he's meh defensively. Izturis has been a bit below average. Both look like very good bench players.

I'm not entirely sure the logic of "good contact hitter vs. high K pithcer" works. Sure, somebody who K's 1 per 4 times might turn into 1 per 3 times against Price; but presumably a guy who K's 1 per 10 turns into a 1 per 7.5 or something. Using him against a team with poor defense might pay off better.

* I suspect WAR doesn't handle guys with a lot of pinch-running opportunities well -- adding baserunning value without adding PAs will make you look better relative to average. That said ... it seems he hasn't done much pinch-running. Last year he started all 64 games he appeared in; the year before it was 141 out of 152 (some of which may have been PH or def replacement without being a PR).
   2. Rants Mulliniks Posted: March 19, 2013 at 08:30 AM (#4391018)
Using the faster baserunner against guys who are slower to the plate (not entirely a function of fastball velocity I know) might also create more favourable base stealing conditions.
   3. zonk Posted: March 19, 2013 at 08:53 AM (#4391031)
Heh... Izturis diversifying an offense?

Does the Jays offense have need for weak groundballs to the SS?
   4. Greg K Posted: March 19, 2013 at 08:54 AM (#4391033)
I haven't been paying super close attention, is Bonifacio penciled in as the 2B and Izturis the main backup infielder? When they acquired the duo I was kind of hoping Izturis would get more playing time. Bonifacio has a more stand-out skill (speed) but Izturis seems like a better hitter and fielder (depending on how you read park effects). What is the informed take on this?

My understanding of the bench is
Backup INF: Izturis
Backup OF: Davis
Backup Everything: DeRosa
Backup Catcher: Blanco seems to have the edge on Thole.

EDIT: Whichever one plays I think 2B (along with DH and CF) are going to be problems for Toronto.
   5. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: March 19, 2013 at 09:37 AM (#4391057)
Does the Jays offense have need for weak groundballs to the SS?


If so, they should've added Cesar, not Maicer.
   6. Enrico Pallazzo Posted: March 19, 2013 at 10:28 AM (#4391102)
How I would set it up at this point with platoon and matchup options:

VS RHP

Reyes SS
Cabrera LF
Bautista RF
EE DH
Lind 1B
Lawrie 3B
Rasmus CF
Arencibia C
Bonifacio/Izturis 2B (Depending on matchups)


VS LHP

Reyes SS
Cabrera LF/DH
Bautista RF/DH
EE 1B
Lawrie 3B
Arencibia C
Davis DH/RF/LF
Bonifacio/Rasmus CF
Izturis 2B

This club has plenty of versatility with platoons and matchups since Izturis and Bonifacio can play many positions and Davis could be a useful short-side platoon DH/OF when Melky or Bautista need a day off in the field. If Izturis and Bonifacio don't end up spending a decent amount of time at 3 positions each, the club wouldn't be optimizing.
   7. Dylan B Posted: March 19, 2013 at 10:42 AM (#4391116)
EDIT: Whichever one plays I think 2B (along with DH and CF) are going to be problems for Toronto


DH shouldn't be an issue IF they platoon Lind and Davis. Both have an OPS above .770 respectively against righties and lefties.
   8. Matthew E Posted: March 19, 2013 at 10:56 AM (#4391138)
I haven't been paying super close attention, is Bonifacio penciled in as the 2B and Izturis the main backup infielder?
My understanding is the opposite: Izturis is the regular and Bonifacio the main utility guy. I don't think that's written in stone, though.
   9. RJ in TO Posted: March 19, 2013 at 11:30 AM (#4391175)
My understanding is the opposite: Izturis is the regular and Bonifacio the main utility guy. I don't think that's written in stone, though.

This was also my understanding, but it wouldn't surprise me at all to see them flip the starting job back and forth all year.
   10. formerly dp Posted: March 19, 2013 at 11:45 AM (#4391192)
Kelly Johnson set the bar Bunnyface/Izturis have to hurdle just a few inches off the ground. I'm really excited about their offense this year. They have some question marks, but even the low-end projections have that lineup looking tasty.
   11. ...and Toronto selects: Troy Tulowitzki Posted: March 20, 2013 at 03:34 AM (#4392218)
Gibbons has been saying the last few days, he hasn't decided on who is the 2nd base starter, and has allowed that he may just rotate them all year instead of picking one guy.
   12. formerly dp Posted: March 20, 2013 at 09:21 AM (#4392271)
Gibbons has been saying the last few days, he hasn't decided on who is the 2nd base starter, and has allowed that he may just rotate them all year instead of picking one guy.
If one of them picks the ball up and runs with it, I have a hard time believing Gibbons will rotate them just for the hell of it. I have an easier time seeing Bonifacio being the one who does that, but that may just be me thinking of him as a streaky hitter in his time with the Marlins.

I'm pulling for Thole to come back strong-- he really looked like a different hitter last year, but if he can go back to his 2011 form, the Jays have a good player on their hands, sort of a mirror image of Arencibia (no power, walks a but, and can hit for an OK average). He and Bonifacio were both good buy-low pickups.
   13. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: March 20, 2013 at 09:36 AM (#4392289)
Maicer Izturis was really bad last year, and he's a 32-year-old middle infielder. So he might suck.

But he spent his 20s being a productive offensive contributor - an OBP heavy 99 OPS+ from 2005-2011 in Los Angeles with solid baserunning and defense. He shouldn't be confused with his siblings.
   14. formerly dp Posted: March 20, 2013 at 09:50 AM (#4392298)
But he spent his 20s being a productive offensive contributor - an OBP heavy 99 OPS+ from 2005-2011 in Los Angeles with solid baserunning and defense. He shouldn't be confused with his siblings.
Bonifiacio's 2011 looks every bit as good as Izturis's 2009. I doubt Izturis signs with the Jays if they already had Bonifacio on board. This is not a bad problem to have.
   15. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: March 20, 2013 at 09:55 AM (#4392302)
Bonifiacio's 2011 looks every bit as good as Izturis's 2009.
Yes, but Izturis' 2009 looks like a perfectly normal up season for a solid offensive player - his 2005 and 2011 were also in the same range. Bonifacio's 2011 looks every inch a total fluke, right down to the .370 BABIP that powered it.

Emilio Bonifacio is a very useful bench player, but you'd much rather he be plan C than plan B for any starting position. And he's no kind of 150 game regular.
   16. formerly dp Posted: March 20, 2013 at 10:06 AM (#4392308)
Yes, but Izturis' 2009 looks like a perfectly normal up season for a solid offensive player - his 2005 and 2011 were also in the same range. Bonifacio's 2011 looks every inch a total fluke, right down to the .370 BABIP that powered it.
Agreed. But it has the value of having happened more recently.
And he's no kind of 150 game regular.
And Izturis is? Izturis has never played more than 122 games in a season...95 on average from 2005 on. Bunny Face played 152 in 2011...and 127 in 2009...

Neither of these are players you want to anchor your team around, but there are far worse #9 hitters around the league than either of them.
   17. Shredder Posted: March 20, 2013 at 10:08 AM (#4392310)
Funny, I kind of had a feeling that Izturis was gone, but I haven't been paying super close attention to Spring training, and I guess I just never heard about him signing elsewhere.

Of course, now that I check his BB-REF page, he signed in Toronto on November 8th, which is the day my dad died, so I was probably a little preoccupied that day.
   18. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: March 20, 2013 at 10:12 AM (#4392316)
Agreed. But it has the value of having happened more recently.
Not if it's a fluke. Then it's not predictive of much of anything. Bonificaio is a 75 OPS+ utility guy who can run. That's a useful major leaguer, but he's not a starter. The hopes for the Jays getting positive production out of 2B rest on Izturis, who has shown the capacity to be a solid player in a major contributing role over a half-decade.
   19. formerly dp Posted: March 20, 2013 at 10:24 AM (#4392324)
Not if it's a fluke. Then it's not predictive of much of anything.

Well, again, it has the virtue of having happened. Which is more than we can say for Izturis's producing over the course of a full season.
The hopes for the Jays getting positive production out of 2B rest on Izturis, who has shown the capacity to be a solid player in a major contributing role over a half-decade.
So: they rest on a 32 year-old doing something he has never done before in his half-decade plus career? It just seems strange that you stated as a naked fact that Bonifacio's not a 150 game player, when he was a 150 game player just a year ago, and a valuable one at that. The player you're comparing him to has never once played close to a full season, IIRC due in part to nagging injuries. I'm not expecting a middle infielder to be healthier and more durable at 32 than he has been in the rest of his career.

Edit: I'm not that down on Izturis, or that high on Bonifacio. I just think that they each bring a set of question marks, to the point that the Jays would do well to ride the hot hand, at least while everyone's healthy. If Rasmus struggles, they're either going to run Davis or Bunny Face out there in CF while Gose continues to get at-bats in AAA. And Reyes is no picture of health at SS.
   20. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: March 20, 2013 at 10:31 AM (#4392332)
It just seems strange that you stated as a naked fact that Bonifacio's not a 150 game player, when he was a 150 game player just a year ago, and a valuable one at that.
The 150-game point is fair, and taken.

It's not reasonable to be expect more than maybe 110 games out of Izturis. But you know what you're getting in the other 40 games of Bonifacio - a utility guy with a marginal middle infield glove, a utility guy bat, and great speed. You're really unlikely to get more than that. Izturis' 110 games are the ones where the Jays stand a reasonable chance of getting plus production.
   21. formerly dp Posted: March 20, 2013 at 11:02 AM (#4392367)
But you know what you're getting in the other 40 games of Bonifacio - a utility guy with a marginal middle infield glove, a utility guy bat, and great speed.
The bolded part is my biggest concern with Bonifacio at 2B. Unless he's hitting like he did in 2011, his offense is not enough to sustain a bad glove. I doubt there will be too much of a gap between them with the bat-- which is not a praise of Bonifacio as much as it is skepticism toward aging second basemen coming off of years like Izturis's 2012 (and he was about the same in 2010-- his 3 year line is .264/.327/.360; Bonifacio's is .280/.345/.362).
   22. Greg K Posted: March 20, 2013 at 11:34 AM (#4392406)
As this is the designated Jays thread...

I always assumed John Tudor had a brief stint with the Jays because I have a Donruss 1991 card (the green second series) which shows Tudor pitching in a Cardinals uniform, but with a Jays logo in the corner. As I recall this was standard practice for when a player switched teams and they didn't have any current shots handy. Google is giving me no hits on this card (but I assure you it exists). Baseball-Reference also has no record of him playing for the Jays in either the majors or the minors. He did retire in 1990, so my best guess is that he was invited to Jays camp in 1991 but didn't make it? That's the best I've got, unless Donruss just made a mistake. Does anyone recall?
   23. Greg K Posted: March 21, 2013 at 08:11 AM (#4393365)
24 hour update, in case anyone is interested.

I'm an idiot, in that I was thinking of Ken Dayley.
   24. Rants Mulliniks Posted: March 21, 2013 at 08:38 AM (#4393375)
Ken Dayley was killer in RBI Baseball.
   25. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: March 21, 2013 at 08:47 AM (#4393377)

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