Rick Osentoski-US PRESSWIRE
Maicer Izturis has had some tough seasons, but not all of that was his fault
Maicer Izturis played in just 100 games with the Los Angeles Angels last year, and hit all of .256/.320/.315 in the process. That makes him pretty unexciting in a fantasy context, maybe even for AL-only leagues, but it might be worth paying attention to him for a few reasons in 2013.
Let's start simple: Izturis played in just 100 games, but he split his time among plenty of positions. He played 26 games at short, 29 games at second, and 30 games at third, with 20 starts up the middle and 30 starts at the hot corner. His line might not look great, but for a shortstop, you could do a lot worse in AL-only formats. Throw in that Izturis also stole 17 bases, and you've got yourself someone flexible for your lineup who, at worst, can keep the seats warm when needed.
There's good reason to think he'll hit better in the future, though, making him useful at potentially more than just short. Angel Stadium of Anaheim is a severe pitcher's park, a fact that's great if you're Jered Weaver, but not so good when your pop isn't quite as prodigious as say, Albert Pujols. Izturis is a switch hitter, and Angel Stadium was cruel to either handedness, reducing doubles and triples, as well as homers and run production overall, from both sides of the plate in significant amounts.
Izturis hit just .211/.252/.258 at home in 2012, but those issues aren't new. Over the last three seasons, he's produced just a .218/.278/.284 line at home, while hitting .304/.368/.424 on the road. Or, to put it another way, he hit like Maicer Izturis on the road, but like his offensively challenged brother Cesar when at home. Now, in Toronto, where doubles and triples are boosted, and homers are easier to come by than in Anaheim, Izturis might put up season lines that look a lot more like his previous road numbers. That would make him useful not just at short, but at second and third, as well. In fact, he might even find some use in mixed leagues, especially if there's a shortstop shortage.
He's not a game changer or anything, but he's a solid acquisition, and a good piece for the Blue Jays to bring in given some of their woes up the middle in the infield. He'll steal some bases, play solid defense, and put together better lines than he has in the recent past. You can't ask for much more than that, so remember this on draft day.