The Los Angeles Angels went through a lost season in 2010, with many thinking that the lack of a productive leadoff hitter had much to do with their offensive struggles. Others will point to the devastating injury suffered by slugging first baseman Kendry Morales on that fateful jump to the plate in late May that ended his season.
However, not having the table setter at the top of the lineup proved to be a weak link all season long for the Los Angeles Angels.
Enter Maicer Izturis.
Izturis, who showed great promise in 2009 when he hit .300 with eight home runs and 65 RBI, was slowed last season by three separate stints on the DL and only appearing in 61 games, registering a .250 BA with just three home runs and 27 RBI. A versatile player who can play second, third and short, Izturis was sorely missed last season, possibly as much as Morales was in the second half of the season.
The leadoff position has always been a priority for a Mike Scioscia offense, who is more a believer in station-to-station baseball than two walks and a three-run homer. The leadoff position for the Los Angeles Angels in 2010 produced an overall .263 batting average with a .325 on-base percentage, woefully inadequate for the style of play preferred by Scioscia.
The Angels can certainly try to pin their hopes on Brandon Wood finally figuring out major league pitching, however, Izturis has already shown what he can do when healthy, and whether he is playing short or third, he provides the peskiness factor that is sorely needed at the leadoff position.
In 2009, Izturis struck out once every 10.7 plate appearances, and produced an OPS+ of 109, showing great plate discipline along with healthy production. Hitting ahead of Bobby Abreu, Torii Hunter, Morales and Vernon Wells, and you have a top-five that has the potential to provide solid offensive numbers throughout the year.
Add in a much improved Howie Kendrick at the No. 6 spot, and all of a sudden, the Angels don’t look half bad.
Now, if they can just figure out the bottom of the lineup, but that’s a story for another article.
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