Quickly folks how many American League second baseman scored more runs then the Tampa Bay Rays Akinora Iwamura? Just three, and they are the three best second baggers in the league, Dustin Pedroia, Ian Kinsler, and Brian Roberts, scoring 118, 107, 102, 91 respectively.
Coming into the season, Iwamura was regarded as a late round MI/bench player. There was little doubt that he would score a ton of runs in that potent Rays lineup. Give you a solid batting average and chip in a few home runs and a rbi.
Much hoopla was made about Iwamura upon his arrival from Japan, where he was a highly regarded power hitting 3b. Unfortunately like many Japanese transfers his power did not successfully make the move across the ocean.
Over the last two seasons in the big league Iwamura has posted these stats.
2007- 82r, 7hr, 34rbi, 12sb, .285ba, 58bb, 114k, .359obp, .411slg, .770ops
2008- 91, 6hr, 48rbi, 8sb, .274ba, 70bb, 131k, .349obp, .380slg, .729ops
2009- 7r, 0hr, 4rbi, 4sb, .302ba, 6bb, 11k, .388obp, .419slg, .870ops
Well right now his power numbers seem to be right inline with this previous seasons but the speed, boy howdy if he keeps that up 30sb is not of the question. So here we go.
1- Runs Scored- Hitting ahead of Crawford, Pena, Longoria, etc will get his fair share aka 100+ runs this season.
2- Combine These- 100+ runs is always possible when a lead of type hitter gives you good plate discipline with a 10% walk rate, and an acceptable 20.9% strike out rate, you know what you're going to get at the end of the season.
3- Contact Rate- Unfortunately Iwamura doesn't possess a great contact rate. 76.78%, 79.10% in the previous two seasons. Slightly above the league average but not overwhelming for fantasy owners. So far this year, do the 11 strike outs he's posted a 74.41% mark.
4- Batters Eye- In order to become a more dangerous lead off threat Iwamura must improve his batters eye. Posting a mediocre .5087, .5343 marks in 2007-8, and a .5454 mark so far this season, indicate that what we're seeing so far this season may not quite continue.
Given a deeper break down we can find that Iwamura is a nice player, a good Monday, Thursday option in standard mixed leagues, but hold much more value in AL only leagues. If he can continue his hot start on the base paths then his value will increase dramatically.