Jose Reyes has gone down for about 3 months (or so we’ve been told). Munenori Kawasaki has been called up to fill in at SS as a short term stop gap and is starting to become a fan favourite with his slick glove work and hot start (.364 avg, .500 obp).
But let’s please not forget this is a sample size. Last season in 61 games for the Mariners he hit a paltry .192 and struck out nearly as many times as he had a hit (18 K’s, 20 hits). So far in 5 games with the Blue Jays, he is 4-11 (.364 avg) had drawn 4 BB and hasn’t struck out yet. But as I often have to remind people, baseball is a marathon and things usually average out over time.
So while Kawasaki is becoming a fan favourite, please don’t be surprised if he sputters. He was a .294 hitter in 10 seasons in Japan, stealing 267 bags (70% success rate), so is he better than the .192 he showed last year? Most likely. Is he a .364 hitter? Definitely not. Expect him to hit .225 – .250 and provide a good glove up the middle with a bit of speed and the ability to handle the bat (hit and run, bunt, etc). But to get to the .235ish avg., Kawasaki will undoubtably go cold at some point. When he does, let’s just hope there aren’t runners in scoring position (especially with 2 outs).
I prefer Maicer Izturis at SS with Emilio Bonifacio at 2B to stop gap the Reyes injury. I don’t mind Kawasaki on the bench and wish him the best of luck and hope I’m wrong and he becomes the star that Jays fans so desperately want him to be, but I serious doubt it. In the MLB, he’s a middle infield substitute.
I wish the Jays would play him that way.