After the 2008 season the Baltimore Orioles realized they did not have, within the organization, a player who was ready to handle the shortstop position on a regular basis. The Orioles were wise to sign Cesar Izturis before the 2009 season. No he is not a Derek Jeter, a Jimmy Rollins, a Jose Reyes, or even an Edgar Renteria offensively, but Izturis proved to be a vast defensive improvement over anyone the ’08 Orioles trotted out to the position. Itzturis’ steady defense will be key for the Orioles in 2010. With a young pitching staff, solid defense up the middle will go a long way to building confidence.
It seems reasonable to expect that Izturis will be able to duplicate his defensive performance of last year. The question is whether he can become more of a table setter in the Oriole offense. Manager Dave Trembley plans to bat Izturis primarily 9th in the Orioles line-up. Makes sense considering that Izturis is the weakest bat of the O’s regulars, but the hope is that he can bookend Brian Roberts at the top of the order and the pair can cause some havoc with their speed on the base paths. In order to take advantage of that speed Izturis will need to get on base more often in 2010. Izturis batted .256 in ,09 and had an OBP of .294. The problem is that those numbers are not far from Izturis’ career averages. It is not likely to happen but if he can get on base at a .315 clip, steal 20-25 bases then Izturis will provide many more opportunities for the top of the Orioles line-up.
The other factor in Cesar Izturis’ contribution to the 2010 Orioles is his ability to stay healthy. His stint on the DL last year gave the Orioles management and fans a closer look at the capabilities of Robert Andino. Andino played well at times and for the most part showed his glove can play in the bigs, but Izturis is the Orioles preference to play 145 plus games at SS, something he has not always been able to do. Izturis has only played more than 145 games twice in his career, perhaps him being healthy for that many games in 2010 is as unlikely as him improving on his offensive performance over last year. The good thing is that the O’s are not counting on Izturis being an offensive dynamo. He needs to, along with Brian Roberts and Adam Jones, make the Orioles pitchers confident to let hitters put the ball in play knowing up the middle is solid.
Just wanted to note that his first name is "Cesar".
Nice article. I think guys like Ripken, Jeter, and Tejada spoiled baseball fans and have led us to believe that we need a .280 hitter at short who knocks in 90 runs. Sure it would be nice to plug in the old Tejada and have him knock in 135 runs, but those guys are few and far between. Cesar played a decent SS when in there and was adequate with the bat. He's not going to have pitchers pitching around him, but he's no slouch either. If he can save some runs with his glove, then that can make up for his lack of pop at the plate. I'll never forget his jack off of CheeseCake Sabathia last year on opening day…he was on pace to hit 162 after that! I like the guy and hope the Orioles can muster some pop out of the more traditional spots, the corners.
That shot on opening day was awesome. I don't think he hit another one until after the all star break…or at least close to it. I like Cesar because you know what you get from him, solid defense, ok offense. It's nice for the Orioles to just have an everyday short stop…don't take it for granted!
that shot was called fan interference.
I agree he is not an offensive dynamo, but I do hope he can find his way on base more so that he can steal more bases. The Oroles have a good bit of speed in the line-up, but not a lot of base stealers. Roberts is one and I think Izturis can be too. It is a good way to turn singles into doubles. Jones, Markakis, Pie, Reimold and Wigginton all run well but they are not really base stealers.
You're right, they need somebody who can steal bases aside from Roberts. If they can get him stealing bases in the nine hole and Roberts banging doubles at the top of the order, that would be quite a combination.
He had Rollins' number exactly last year… but defensively, he is no Rollins
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