Apr 14, 2013; Kansas City, MO, USA; Toronto Blue Jays base runner Munenori Kawasaki (66) advances to third base against Kansas City Royals during the third inning at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

Kawasaki Could Be Next Unexpected Fan Favorite


Every now and then a mediocre/bad player finds themselves on a big league roster for whatever reason. Sometimes those players become more popular among a fan base than they have any business being. It’s usually because that mediocre player is used specifically in situations where he can succeed so he comes across being a better play than he actually is to the casual fan.

Over the years Toronto Blue Jays fans have fell in love with mediocre players like David Cooper, Yan Gomes and of course John McDonald.

John McDonald was a fan favorite because of his unreal defensive abilities. If he was capable of being an everyday player he would have easily had some gold glove awards on his trophy case. Johnny Mac also played gold glove defense for the Jays for 5 and a half years so longevity always helps you stay a fan favorite.

Yan Gomes was a big fan favorite in his short 43 game Blue Jays career. He was the player called up to replace Adam Lind on the roster when Lind was sent to the minors last season so that only helped him be loved. He also hit 4 homeruns which are always popular. He had a big swing when he hit homeruns which most people like. He also always seemed to hit homeruns in clutch situations. All those things will make a player a fan favorite especially when their mediocrity isn’t so easily exposed from playing every day.

Then there’s David Cooper. Oh David Cooper. Like Gomes, a lot of Cooper’s popularity had a lot to do with the fact that Blue Jays fans are tired of Adam Lind. Fans that love following prospects and what happens in the minor leagues considered it a crime that the Jays kept Cooper in Triple A for however long he was there because he tore the cover off the ball the entire time he was there. It didn’t translate in Cooper’s 27 big league games in 2011 but again he’s not Adam Lind. In 2012 Jays fans love for Cooper become a little more rational because in 45 games Cooper had a 324 on base percentage and 4 homeruns. Cooper may have found a way on the Jays big league roster in 2013 if he hadn’t got injured and released.

Now there’s Jose Reyes fill in, Munenori Kawasaki. No one knows how long he’ll actually be the Jays shortstop because the Jays have already said their looking to trade for a Jose Reyes replacement. Just don’t be surprised if he becomes a fan favorite because he already kind of is. He looks and does everything exactly like Ichiro (except hit!) because Ichiro was his hero growing up. He’s fast and a threat on the bases which fans always love. If you’ve watched him hit you’ve probably noticed he knows how to have good at bats and doesn’t swing at bad pitches. That’s refreshing as a Jays fan. Kawasaki also brings a lot of energy to the team which is always welcomed. J.P. Arencibia has already called him the Japanese Brett Lawrie.

However long Munenori Kawasaki is the Jays shortstop or even on the Jays big league roster for that matter don’t be surprised if he becomes another unexpected fan favorite.

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Tags: Munenori Kawasaki Toronto Blue Jays

  • raffa

    I liked your other articles better.
    This one is “mediocre”.
    I don’t agree with (enjoying) calling other’s life achievements mediocre
    … with little serious analysis.
    I wish Kawasaki and Cooper all the success in the world.
    Kawasaki only had a 100 plate appearances. you never know. why not just enjoy him for his enthusiasm, focus and smart base running and reliable defence and his bunt single and the fact that he held up his part after the Reyes injury … and takes a little bit of pressure off AA to be fleeced in a rush trade. Why not let others enjoy him without the “mediocre” label. No one is expecting Kawasaki to play all year or hit much… no pre-emptive cold water needed.
    Alternative suggested article theme; Reyes for all his talent and great batting average was looking distracted and unfocused well before the half-slide injury (e.g. tagged out at third in close game without a slide, not running on ball that barely landed foul, little range for a SS, not being at second base for an easier third out for Bonifacio. What was behind this and does the “oh, I thought it was foul tipped” reason for injurious slide hold water. Has he always been like this ?