Raul is not Manny when it comes to steroids
pic: r.baxter 2008
Forget the recent flap involving Raul Ibanez and the connection with steroids or PED's as they are starting to be called. That started out so innocently and really got taken out of context and blown out of proportion. The simple fact of the matter is Raul Ibanez is that good. That is why he is leading this Phillies baseball team in most of the offensive leading catagories this year.
The area press and most baseball fans don't really follow west coast AL teams all that much for the most part. Over the past several years, this is where Raul Ibanez quietly assembled such a great career. Just tonight, I am sorting through some stats on Baseball-Reference.com and their great player index that lets you search all the stats of baseball up to and including this season.
Who is Raul's favorite pitcher to hit? Survey says.... Jon Garland. Ibanez has victimized Garland over the years. He has 59 AB's against Jon, and has 21 hits against him. Of those 21 hits there are: 5 doubles, 1 triple, 2 homeruns, and 5 walks. His average against Garland is .356 That's pretty good. It doesn't stop there though.
Ibanez has a history of hitting good pitchers. Most of the hits he has in quantity are against the big names of Freddy Garcia, Kevin Millwood, Bartolo Colon, and surprise, Johan Santana. All of these pitchers would be considered your A type free agents so that in my eyes makes Ibanez look really special.
Raul seems to hit better for average than home runs, although this year is more of an anomaly than the norm. Up to tonight, he has 204 career home runs, he is added 10 percent of those in this year so far. In his career Ibanez has 5 walk off home runs, his first one for the Phillies came on 4-19-09 against San Diego in the bottom of the ninth to win it for the Phils 4-3. The most home runs hit by Raul off of another team is LAA or Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, he's hit 19 combined home runs off of that team. That team also happens to have the worst identity crisis of any team in the MLB, whose team is it? Los Angeles or Anaheim?
If you can say anything about this year's breakout season for Ibanez, you'd have to say he's just playing his tail off for the team. This is his 14th season in the big leagues and his years of experience are finally paying off. He's not a player that is destined for the Hall of Fame, but he is a solid all around baseball player. He's hard nosed, and as we found out when confronted with a half hearted allegation, snapped back like a ferocious lion which is how he is playing this year.
Thanks to Baseball-Reference.com for their support! We used the super PI feature that you can configure all the stats you can read in baseball from 1954-2009 for the regular season and more for the playoffs, we recommend you to use this site!