Slam Dunk


Maicer Izturis with the Edmonton Trappers in July 2004.

Maicer Izturis just hit a grand-slam to give the Angels a 6-1 lead over Minnesota.

Every time I see him succeed, I’m reminded of a doubleheader I saw at Salt Lake on July 18, 2004. The Stingers were hosting the Edmonton Trappers, a Montreal Expos affiliate.

Maicer was Expos property at the time, and played shortstop in both games. The records show he was a combined 6-for-10 with a double.

Also in attendance that day was Angels GM Bill Stoneman. He was kind enough to chat with me while we watched Edmonton take batting practice.

When asked these days about Izturis, Stoneman often cites that day as when he saw Izturis and was impressed by him.

That winter, Stoneman traded disgruntled outfielder Jose Guillen to the Expos (now the Washington Nationals) in exchange for Izturis and outfielder Juan Rivera.

(Of course, this transaction is always ignored by the cranks who claim “Stoned Man” never makes a trade …)

Izturis was listed back then in the records as 5’8" 150 lbs. The Angels 2007 Media Guide lists him as 5’8" 165 lbs. Regardless of his stature, he somehow finds a way to hit, and hit with occasional power.

Entering 2007, here are Maicer’s career AVG/OBP/SLG at the minor and major league levels:

Minors: .283/.349/.374 (2,374 AB)
Majors: .265/.335/.377 (650 AB)

The Angels are truly blessed to have Izturis and Erick Aybar as infielders to back up Howie Kendrick and Orlando Cabrera — and that’s not including Chone Figgins, who can also play 2B and SS in addition to 3B.

As Brandon Wood matures, the Angels will find a place for him, either 3B or SS. Orlando Cabrera is a free agent after 2008, and will be 34 in November that year. Cabrera has emerged as such a leader and is having such an excellent year that it’ll be hard for them to let him go, even with Aybar and Izturis ready to play every day.

All that depth is due to Bill Stoneman building the farm system, and he can be given personal credit for Izturis.

1 Comment

This is a blog that we Angels fans are lucky to have, and should pay better attention to. Minor League baseball has never held my attention for very long, and I’ve always thought I should correct that, but have never gotten around to it.

I can remember back when Edmonton was the Angels Triple-A affiliate. Many, many years ago…

-Sid McHenry

http://thecaliforniateam.mlblogs.com/

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