Last week, I suggested that Emilio Bonifacio and Alberto Gonzalez, playing together, would make for a solid defensive infield that would help the team in many ways. So far, after 4 games, it has, but that constitutes about 2.5% of a season, so I don’t want to get carried away. Keeping in mind that with Harris playing third instead of Zimmerman, the defense isn’t as good as it could be, and the offense probably isn’t either, they have performed great. Anyway, finding a place for Harris in this lineup is crucial with the way he’s playing. While he could never field as well, Willie is hitting better than you’d expect Ryan to hit over the last 2 months (.297/.380/.507 since June 8).
Regardless, the team is playing with a new energy since the moves have been made. Defensively, the team has seemed to improve. Other than Saturday, they have really held opponents from scoring, and they play a game that just looks better out there. Sometimes your eyes can deceive you, so who knows how much they are actually contributing defensively, but observation tells me they’re doing something.
What has surprised me has been the duo’s offensive contributions. They are both hitting over .400, which is obviously completely unsustainable. And Bonifacio hasn’t walked, which makes you grit your teeth a little since there was talk that he doesn’t have a good handle on the strike zone. Despite that, they are getting hits at the major league level, and they are both hitting with some amount of power – 6 of their 14 hits are for extra bases. And the speedy Bonifacio already has 2 triples.
This will go away, these guys aren’t .450/.500/.700 hitters. Nobody is except company softball players. Eventually, if Bonifacio doesn’t walk, pitchers will get to him and he won’t be able to hit for a month or two at a time (see Robinson Cano). But for now, they are showing that they both can compete at this level. As I suggested before, neither of them needs to be great in order to help this team. But if Bonifacio can get on base enough to start at second, that would be huge for this team. Gonzalez has shown he is a valuable utility player at the very least, and hopefully he will bring even more.