Not so mighty Maicer Izturis

Maicer IzturisThe correct spelling for Mighty Mouse is Maicer Izturis.  Angel fans would all readily agree, once upon a time.  In my book Maicer is still that pesky, clutch, go-to guy that earned the nickname.  I expect we’ll all be in agreement before this season is over:  Maicer is still mighty.

Fresh in my memory is Izturis batting fifth because no one else on the Angels team could be relied on to address runners in scoring position in ways that brought them home.  Good things happened with the game on the line and Maicer at bat.  Didn’t need a grand slam or even a home run at all, the opposition was kept off balance, protecting against a high chopper or a shot into the gap.  High offensive production from a player that could be penciled in at three infield positions. 

The Angels website describes him as 5’8” and 170.  I’m not saying the Angels organization is blowing smoke (like other werewolves, Arte doesn’t inhale) but judge for yourself.  It would be easier if Eckstein was there to stand next to him, but you get the drift.  Look at him next to Kendrick, who’s not the jolly green giant himself.  Macier is a prototypical shortstop from the old days.  Short, slim, quick, excellent arm, and smart.  A hell of a good player.

For some reason I associate Izturis with Bourjos.  There are some similarities:  very strong defensive skills and baseball smarts.  These guys are not Aybar, upstairs.  On the other hand, Izzy and Bourjos are opposites in many regards, since Peter is really just starting off and I hope will end up as a full-time all-star outfielder in a trio that makes me blush:  Bourjos, Trout, Trumbo.  Assuming you’re an Angels fan, think outfield and say those three names over and over for five minutes, then see if you get happy.  Point is that Izturis, who looked like a superior regular at one time, doesn’t stand up well to 162 games.  He’s defined, rightly so, as a role player.  If the season was 80 games he’d be a superstar, but we’re talking the show, a grind against the very best.

I think Maicer gives it his all every chance, which helps and hurts him.

Maicer is better than his brother Cesar, by the way, and it’s not just because Cesar played for the evil blue team up the coast.  It just happened that way. Many of the numbers aren’t that far different but the career WAR is 12.9 Maicer to 5.1 Cesar.  Maicer has always had what it takes, although that hasn’t been proved out yet this year.  Average and OBP are down from career norms, but so are at-bats.  The walk to strike out ratio is not bad, it’s just that with runners in scoring position the magic is not there, yet.  He projects out as .8 WAR in 2012, which is less than half of what it should be given the player he is.  Maicer is valuable because he can get you a solid 2-WAR part-time, off the bench. 

That 2-WAR is huge.  The Angels need it to make the playoffs.  But have no fear; as long as Maicer is healthy all will be well.  He’s a quality baseball player and the numbers will return to the norm.

I’m looking forward to the return of Mighty Mouse.

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