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Wednesday, March 03, 2004

Izturis and Lo Duca

Wow, very interesting article from Rich's Weekend Baseball BEAT on how Dodger manager Jim Tracy might be toying with the idea of batting Cesar Izturis, the oh so light hitting shortstop, second and moving Paul Lo Duca down to fourth. First, of all, Lo Duca is barely an adequate 2nd hitter (.335 OBP last year) as it is and has steadily performed worse since his breakout season of 2001. Batting him fourth, even on the Dodgers is probably not a good idea. His positive offensive contribution is a decent tendency to get on base and so it should be maximized instead of wasted prior to worse hitters taking their turn. Secondly, Izturis is perhaps the worst offensive player in the game (career .270 OBP) and giving him more at bats in the second hole is therefore startlingly bad idea. Tracy might as well bat his pitchers second.

I would think that on a team with a horrible offense like the Dodgers you would want to bunch your few adequate offensive players and attempt to score runs when they came to bat. It will be interesting to see what De Podesta does or doesn't do if Tracy decides to go this way. The only positive aspect of this scenario is that Izturis should and will certainly be called upon to sacrifice more often which will tend to minimize the negative impact of the massive number of outs he'll record batting high in the order. On the other hand, as mentioned by Management By Baseball, Izturis just might respond to the increased expectations and show something contrary to his previous 1,200 plate appearances. And of course Tracy has less to lose given what he has to work with and desperate times call for desperate measures.

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