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Ishikawa Power

Note: It’s the midseason, which means things are a little slow. As a result, I’ve taken this opportunity to try and give back to the readers by doing content requests on Twitter. This one comes from Zach Sanders, who actually writes for RotoGraphs and is quite smart and good on his own. He wants some Travis Ishikawa coverage and although he’s probably more qualified to do it than me, here goes nothing.

Buster Posey appeared to be the big winner when the San Francisco Giants traded Bengie Molina on July 1. Posey’s season debut came on May 29 and yet between those two dates he recorded exactly two starts behind the dish in something like 40 games. Posey is starting almost every day now, but so is his replacement at first base: Travis Ishikawa.

Okay, to be fair, it wasn’t just Molina’s departure that opened the spot for Ishikawa. Aaron Rowand’s ineffectiveness has allowed Bruce Bochy to play Andres Torres in centerfield occasionally alongside the Giants’ little blue pills (older players who are still usable, and not just for nostalgia purposes) in Pat Burrell and Aubrey Huff. The 26-year-old lefty who hit nine home runs for the Giants in 2009 has clenched the job with ever-yearning, inferno-drenched palms.

In 71 plate appearances Ishikawa has hit two homers, while drastically reducing his strikeout rate, and he’s flashing the isolated power that made him a reasonable first base option after the 2008 season. Perhaps the most impressive aspect of Ishikawa’s performance is that it comes without playing in the minor leagues this season. He missed time with two partially torn ligaments in his big toe and, while playing time has been mostly sparse, he’s made the most of it.

It’s hard to say what to expect moving forward. In Triple-A Ishikawa hit .310/.370/.737 in nearly 50 games, and in Double-A he hit .247/.333/.396 while being mostly young for the league. He’s been a mixed bag. One who shows pop and the potential to be a pretty nifty player, but also one who probably hits the ball on the ground too much for his skill set to ever truly flourish. He’s always been noted as a plus defender which helps his case, but he’s not much for hitting left-handers, which suggests his roof might be in a platoon capacity. Which I guess puts him in this family: