Blue Jays player Munenori Kawasaki has earned a spot on the 25 man roster for Toronto in 2014. He certainly has Blue Jays fans behind him – even when he grounds out, the crowds in Toronto applaud him for his efforts.
Let’s review what Kawasaki has done to deserve a spot on the 25 man roster next year:
- He hit a 2 RBI double to walk off the Baltimore Orioles on May 26th
- On June 21st, Kawasaki hit his first major league homerun, a two run homerun, to tie the game 6-6. The Blue Jays would end up winning the game in the bottom of the ninth when Rajai Davis hit a walk off base hit.
- He had his first four hit ballgame on September 25th against Baltimore.
- Kawasaki brings a lot of energy to the team and crowds at the Rogers Centre.
- Kawasaki led the Nippon Professional Baseball in steals in 2004, and won two Golden Gloves at shortstop in 2004 and 2006.
- He appeared in 96 games for the Blue Jays, collecting 55 hits in 204 at bats, including one homreun, six doubles and five triples. He had 24 RBIs, scored 27 runs, stole seven bases (getting caught only once.)
- His batting average was .229, but his On-Base Percentage (OBP) was almost 100 points better at .326.
- His On-Base Plus Slugging (OPS) was .634.
- Kawasaki’s batting average was better than Emilio Bonifacio, J.P. Arencibia, and Josh Thole.
- Kawasaki’s OBP was tied with veteren player Mark DeRosa, but better than the OBP of Melky Cabrera, Brett Lawrie, Rajai Davis, Maicer Izturis, Anthony Gose, Ryan Goins, Emilio Bonifacio, Josh Thole, and J.P. Arencibia.
- Kawasaki has made some fine defensive plays in the field, and Kawasaki made only six errors all season, which was better than Brett Lawrie (12), J.P. Arencibia (11), Maicer Izturis (10), José Reyes (9), Edwin Encarnación (8), Emilio Bonifacio (7), and Adam Lind (7).
- Brett Lawrie and José Reyes both had less putouts than Kawasaki (105 to Reyes’ 95, and Lawrie’s 80) even though both Lawrie and Reyes appeared on the field in more games than Kawasaki.
Statistics do not lie, and many players mentioned above appeared in at least as many games as Kawasaki and are deemed to be ‘everyday’ players. While Toronto may not have had a great year, winning only 74 games, Kawasaki did help the team as much as he could both on and off the field. He truly deserves another year with the team in my humble opinion.