A .279 road batting average is not bad either, and he actually had his best game of the year on the road. On August 7 against Ottawa, he went 3-5, scored three times, hit two home runs, and drove in four. He finished the year as a pretty accomplished hitter, and should be the Red Wings' starting second baseman in 2006.
Sweet August Nights:The month of August was very kind to Maza, as he established himself as one of the main bats in the Red Wings lineup, and culminated a very up-and-down season. For the month, Maza batted .323, after failing to bat over .300 for every other month during his Wings' season. In August, he smacked seven of his 11 home runs, more than tripling his previous monthly-high.
Maza started the 2005 season with the New Britain Rock Cats, and was promoted to Rochester on June 3. Once on Rochester, he proved he belonged in Triple-A ball, much like Francisco Liriano did. To finish up the season like he did was big for Maza, as he was invited to big-league Spring Training this past week.
Kill Righty: Maza batted .300 against right-handed pitching during the 2005 season, a number over 30 points higher than he hit against lefties. He also showed a decent batting eye against right-handed pitching, as he struck out only 28 times in 203 at-bats. Overall, he hit eight of his 11 home runs, drove in 31 of his 43 runs, and wrapped 61 of his 80 hits. Against lefties, he batted .264, but had almost 130 less at-bats.
Maza is a right-handed hitting player, and seems to be very comfortable hitting righties. This is not unusual for a Minor League player because they really do not face many lefties throughout the season. Maza is a good hitter, and if he had more experience against lefties, would probably hit for a higher average. In 2006, as he gets a full season of Triple-A ball, he should get to see more lefties, and work on his average against them.
Mr. Clutch: Maza was a pretty clutch hitter for the Red Wings in 2005, batting well over .300 with runners in scoring position. In 64 at-bats in this situation, Maza batted .328, and had four long balls. In addition, he batted .321 with runners on and two outs, and came through for the Red Wings time and time again. With runners on, he batted .317, and had five home runs, and 37 runs batted.
While he hit well in the clutch, Maza struggled with the bases empty, hitting only .268 in 149 at-bats. He is going to have to improve on that number, as he will probably be the Red Wings number two hitter in 2006. If he can work on his walks, he only had 11 in 79 games with the Wings, that batting average should increase. If does not show the ability to draw a walk, he will be destined to hit at the bottom of the lineup.
Very Versatile: Maza is a very valuable piece of the puzzle for any team he is on, mostly because he plays many positions, and can hit in all places in the lineup. For the Red Wings, Maza played second base, third base, left-field, right-field, and even served as the designated hitter. In addition, he batted in every spot in the lineup, except for first and fourth, and hit pretty well in every slot.
Like any team, a player like Maza is a good relief for the coach. He gives him the ability to plug him in holes, and give starters the day off. However, he also showed the ability to play well as a starter, and will most likely play one or two positions during the 2006 season. Expect Maza to have a good spring with the Twins, and carry it over to the Regular Season.
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