Ibanez Making Himself at Home
Raul Ibanez, who signed a three-year, $31.5 million contract in the offseason to replace Pat Burrell in left field, is fifth in the National League in hitting (.386), tied for first in home runs (five), tied for 13th in RBIs (10), 14th in on-base percentage (.438) and first in slugging percentage (.864).
Ibanez won yesterday’s game against the Padres with a two-run homer in the bottom of the ninth inning. He has shown the ability to run the bases, although he misplayed a ball in left field yesterday that led to a couple runs.
But overall, Ibanez has made a favorable first impression.
“Our lineup is good for him. He fits,” Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. “I always liked him as a hitter in the American League. He was an offensive player back when I saw him. He’s swinging the bat real good right now.”
Manuel thinks Ibanez can hit 35 to 40 homers in the Bank. He might. The Bill James Handbook 2009 gave Citizens Bank Park a 122 home run index rating from 2006-08, which means it was 22 percent easier to hit a homer at the Bank than other NL ballparks. It gave Safeco Field in Seattle a 94 home run index rating, which means it was six percent more difficult to hit a homer at Safeco than other AL ballparks.
In other words, Ibanez, who hit a career-high 33 homers in 2006, very likely could see a jump in his power numbers in ’09.
Burrell is off to a slow start with the Rays. He is hitting .225 (9-for-40) with two doubles, one home run and four RBIs. He has a .319 on-base percentage and a .350 slugging percentage.