How is Cesar Izturis doing just over 20% of the way into the season? Has he been a solid contributor, as this VEB fan predicted in an earlier fan post?
Cesar's RZR stands at .897. That is second in MLB only to Troy Tulowitzki among qualified SS’s. Izturis is still approximating the gold glove form he displayed the last time he was playing healthy and full time, in 2004 and early 2005.
Cesar's OBP stands at .354. That's better than the 7th ranking ML SS, out of the 25 ML SS’s with enough AB’s to qualify for the batting title.
But Cesar's SLG is very low, even lower than expected, only .293, slightly better than the 22nd ranking SS (out of 25).
That makes Cesar's OPS .647, very low, only slightly better than the 19th ranking ML SS (out of 25).
That 19th ranked SS happens to be David Eckstein.
Comparing Izturis to all ML Hitters This Season
Many in this forum have repeatedly bemoaned Izturis' weak hitting (he's certainly no Renterria or Tulowitzki, we all agree), but a few have even referred to Cesar as the worst hitter in the major leagues. Let's test that assertion:
Of the 193 qualified batters to date this season, 33 have an OPS lower than Izturis. That is, Cesar has a better OPS than 17% of the full-time ML players. Okay, he's not a great hitter. None of us imagined he would be. But Izturis so far has been a respectable hitter, though barely so.
The season is only one fifth finished, though. So we can expect all player stats to gravitate, or regress, toward their career averages (or, more precisely, to the next point on their rising or falling career performance curve, depending on age and epxerience). The fact that one fifth of a season is too small a sample size to make a projection for a full year is strikingly illustrated by looking at some of those 33 players who today have a lower OPS than Izturis but at least some of whom are extremely good bets to end up with much better numbers than Cesar by the end of the season:
Wow. It will be a bit of a surprise for most fans to see Izturis hitting better than Eckstein. But to see Izturis outhitting Sheffield and Howard is a shock! Hail, Cesar!
A Solid but Not Great Contribution So Far
So far, Izturis is right on track to match his OBP from his last period of good health and full time play (2004 and early 2005), so we should expect about the same OBP the rest of the year. His .293 SLG is 40 points lower than his career SLG, though: .333. And his SLG this year is about 90 points lower than Cesar's .381 SLG in 2004, his last full year of healthy, full-time play. So it appears safe to say that we can reasonably expect Izturis to hit more doubles and a few more triples than he has so far this season.
Let's check in again at the mid-point of the season and see how Izturis is doing by then, when we'll have a more solid basis for projecting his stats for the whole year.