Spring Training 2013: The Second Base Battle

Maicer Izturis - USA TODAY Sports

How is the battle between Maicer Izturis and Emilio Bonifacio is going to this point in spring training.

The Jays have a day off, from games anyway, there will still be work going on.

We are a few games into the spring schedule, so let's take a look at how the battle for second base is going. Maicer Izturis and Emilio Bonifacio have been splitting time at second and each have played a fair bit of shortstop too. And they will get to play more shortstop no that Jose Reyes has gone off to play in the WBC.

This is what they have hit so far:

Bonifacio:

Age G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS TB
28 7 19 19 5 6 2 0 1 3 2 0 0 2 .316 .316 .579 .895 11
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 3/4/2013.

Izturiz:

Age G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS TB
32 6 17 15 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 2 0 .000 .118 .000 .118 0
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 3/4/2013.

I'm not too worried about the lack of walks, early in spring I want batters to swing the bat, get their timing back. We'll worry about batting eye later on. The 0 for 15 is hard to explain, but I'm pretty sure Izturis hasn't forgotten how to hit over the winter.

Bonifacio has looked pretty good with the bat, if not the glove. And showed off his speed in yesterday's game, scoring a run all by himself. Bunt single, steal of second (helped by a dropped throw), steal of third and scored on the throwing error.

On defense? Well, Bonifacio has made four error, yesterdays was at shortstop, and I think one of the others was at short as well. I really don't want to see him play short during the season. And I wish Brian Butterfield was around to work with him on defense, but his error rate wasn't this bad in Florida and I'm sure they are working with him.

Izturis has 2 errors of his own. He would be the better defensive choice.

At the moment, if it is a battle, Bonifacio would be winning, unless the Jays are really worried about his defense.

Listening to Alex talk, earlier in the winter, he seemed pretty set that Izturis would get the job, but, reading between the lines of things said by John Gibbons, I have a feeling that he like Emilio better, at least at the moment.

I'd like them to give Bonifacio every chance to take the job, just because I think there is more potential there. I think, if all things are equal, you should take a chance on a guy entering his prime, not that one that's just exiting his prime years. Guys in their 30's rarely improve (R.A. Dickey notwithstanding).

Over the past 3 seasons Emilio has a WAR of 3.9 (per Baseball Reference) in 1,119 plate appearances and Maicer has a 2.7 in 1,051 PA over that same span.

A lot is made of Maicer's home and road splits, from the last couple of years. Last year he had a .730 OPS on the road and .510 at home. In 2011 the split was .821 and .610. But then career his OPS at Angel Stadium .698 and his career OPS is .718. I don't know about you, but I find it hard to believe something happened the park two years ago to cause him to hit so much worse there. I don't think that moving him to Rogers is going to make him a .320 hitter.

We'll take another look at how the battle is going in a week or so. Which one are you betting on?

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