I had been working under the, very reasonable, assumption that Munenori Kawasaki would be sent down when Jose Reyes returns. But I'm coming around to the idea that he might be staying.
Every now and then, baseball front offices have to remember that baseball is entertainment, and who is more entertaining than Munenori? He has charisma that we haven't seen around here in a long time. His teammates seem to love him, which doesn't hurt. He takes a lot of pressure off the guys that don't want to be on camera after games. He's just a great guy.
He's made himself into a fan favorite. Yesterday, when the Orioles came up and inside on Kawasaki, I thought we might see the first time that fans charge the mound after a hit batter (at least in modern times). We've grown to like the guy. We've taken ownership of him, you knock him down at your own risk. I can't remember a player that we grew to love so quickly. John McDonald was a fav, but it took a few seasons for us to love him. People liked Joe Inglett, but not like this.
And he's playing good baseball. We've had fun pushing for people to write in his name on the All-Star ballot, but really, Derek Jeter has over a half million votes and he hasn't played. I mean, Munenori might not be an All-Star, but, you know, baseball is supposed to be fun and the All-Star game is supposed to be even more fun. Can you imagine how great it would be to have him at the All-Star game? Go vote.
Over the 11 game win streak, Munenori has hit .292/.393/.625 with 1 home run, 2 triples, 1 double, 4 walks and 3 strikeouts. I never expected the home run:
And then, in he hits a ball another long ball, just foul, into the second deck.
I didn't think we'd ever seen a home run from him, but perhaps he can turn on a pitch, once every few weeks. Even John McDonald hit 6 home runs, back in 2010. If McDonald can learn to pull a pitch, Kawasaki can.
And he takes a lot of pitches. He sees 4.18 per at bat. Not quite as many as Colby Rasmus (4.21) but slightly better than Jose Bautista (4.16). He's second on the team.
His defense? Well, Fangraphs doesn't like it much, he's got a -0.8 UZR/150. I don't know, I think his defense is is ok. The throw from deep short is a little much for him, but makes most of the plays. He has made 5 errors, and most of the have been at the worst of moments, but then, earlier in the season, every error seemed to come at the worst possible moment. I think he'll be better at second base, the throw isn't as long.
I am hoping the Jays keep Kawasaki around. My hope isn't so much based on his ability, though I think he's an ok player, it is more based on the fact that I like to be entertained.