Found March 18, 2013 on Monkey with a Halo:
Alcs_game_3_9820
With his rich new contract extension set to kick in this year, can Angels fans expect more from Erick Aybar with him entering his prime or will it just be more of the same productive but maddening inconsistency? 2012 Stats: 554 PA, .290 AVG, .324 OBP, .416 SLG, 67 R, 8 HR, 45 RBI, 20 SB, 4 CS, 61 K, .321 wOBA, 109 OPS+, 3.4 fWAR 2013 ZiPS Projections: 601 PA, .276 AVG, .317 OBP, .393 SLG, 72 R, 8 HR, 48 RBI, 23 SB, 6 CS, 69 K, .309 wOBA, 99 OPS+, 2.7 fWAR 2013 Bill James Projections: 553 PA, .278 AVG, .321 OBP, .389 SLG, 69 R, 7 HR, 48 RBI, 20 SB, 7 CS, 65 K, .307 wOBA 2013 CAIRO Projections: 488 PA, .274 AVG, .315 OBP, .392 SLG, 55 R, 7 HR, 44 RBI, 17 SB, 5 CS, 62 K, .309 wOBA 2013 MWAH Projections*: 650 PA, .285 AVG, .318 OBP, .406 SLG, 88 R, 9 HR, 64 RBI, 28 SB, 6 CS, 80 K, .322 wOBA *The MWAH projections are simply my best guess based off my own personal opinion and research (my wOBA calculation is approximate) 2012 in Objective Review: Erick Aybar signed a lucrative contract extension before the season and that decision seemed to damn him to the same fate as every other Angel with a fat new contract in that he got off to a very disappointing start. Aybar was the leadoff hitter to open the season despite his career-long on-base issues and it couldn't have worked out more poorly with Aybar mustering only a .531 OPS at the top of the order. Even after he was supplanted at the top of the order by Mike Trout, it still took a long time for Aybar to round into form as he was carrying a slash line of .264/.297/.365 at the break. But in typical Aybar inconsistent fashion, Aybar came on strong in the second half and was one arguably one of the best hitters in the Angel lineup in the second half. Even with a two-week hiatus to nurse a fractured two at the end of July, Aybar could not be slowed down in the second half as he posted a .326/.361/.484 slash line, harkening back to the kind of numbers he flashed in his breakout 2009 campaign only with even more unexpected power. While his two half seasons were wildly disparate, they averaged out to a pretty strong campaign for Aybar that more than justified his four-year, $35 million contract extension (even if it doesn't kick in until this season).   2012 in Revisionist History: While it was hardly an All-Star campaign for Aybar, his strong finish had to make Jerry Dipoto feel pretty smart for locking Aybar up. Had he been going into the off-season that hot as a potential free agent, it seems highly likely that there would have been a bidding war for Aybar's services with the likes of the Red Sox, Dodgers and maybe even the Cardinals or Tigers getting in on the action. Even had the Halos been able to re-sign him, JeDi definitely saved the team several million dollars by getting Aybar taken care of before the season. At this point it is old hat to complain about Aybar's inconsistent season. That is pretty much par for the course for him. It is just who he is. He can stink for long stretches and then look like a legitimate star player for long stretches. That's why I'm not even going to try and get myself pumped up over Aybar's impressive .158 ISO in the second half. If there is one takeaway from Aybar's season that I do think will carry forward it is that he really embraced the kind of player he is. By that I mean he appears to have given up on trying to convert himself into a more patient and disciplined hitter. He has flirted with that shift in hitting approach the two previous seasons only to see it cause him more problems than success. But in 2012, Aybar swung at the highest percentage of pitches in his career at 51.6%. He made a career-high percentage of contact too despite those extra swings. This is always the kind of hitter he has been at heart, a guy who slaps the ball around to try and make things happen. The one legitimate concern I have with Aybar is his fielding. He still passes the ol' eyeball test with me (and most people I thnk) but the advanced metrics were not kind to him and they really havent' been over the years. In 2012 though, UZR, FRAA and to a lesser extent DRS all seemed to judge him harshly. While I think even he would admit that 2012 was not his best defensive season, there is just something about his defensive prowess that isn't shining through in the defensive metrics or he has some deficiency with the glove that is harder to see with the naked eye outside of his increasingly infrequent mental gaffes.   Three Lingering Questions for 2013: 1) Is Aybar really going to hit second this season? It sure looks like it. Scioscia has long shown an inclination to use him in that role, but there are other contenders with Kendrick, Callaspo and maybe even Bourjos. It really is the only unsettled spot in the order at this point and a very important one at that. I'm not even sold that Scioscia believes him to be the best man for the job so much as he thinks he is the lesser of several evils. For what it is worth, Aybar does do his best work batting second with a career slash line of .285/.330/.432. 2) Should he? That depends on your school of thought. If you are old school and like a guy who is fast, can bunt and doesn't strike out much, Aybar is your guy. If you are new school and put the onus on OBP and working longer at-bats, he is the exact opposite of what you want. In his best season, Erick had a .353 OBP, but it required him to hit well over .300 and that probably isn't something you can count on with him. 3) Will the Angels ever get a consistent season out of Aybar? He has had his fair share of ups and downs when it comes to mental focus and consistency over the years, but he is getting better. Still, we saw how wildly disparate his two half seasons were in 2012. This is going to be his age 28 season though, putting him right in his prime. If ever there was going to be a year where he put together a strong season from start to finish, this is the year. If not, well, then it probably isn't ever going to happen.   Three Irrelevant Questions for 2013: 1) Did he realize Pujols was going to murder him for slapping his elbow in that bizarre incident early last season? Good thing he is fast and got away before The Machine could really get a hold of him. 2) Is Aybar overrated or underrated? While irrelevant to how he actually performs, it is in an interesting question. He is well paid, suggesting he is very good, but he is also not someone who is going to make several All-Star teams. I'm also not sure he is even a top 10 shortstop in the league, but at the same time I have absolutely no problem with him being the Angels' shorstop for the next four years. Maybe he is just properly valued. 3) Why isn't there more funny things to talk about with Aybar? I mean, he makes a lot of mental errors, he is kind of funny looking and had jacked up teeth. There should be more humor here, yet I am just coming up empty.   2013 in Subjective Projection: Aybar is who he is at this point. He is going to have his hot stretches and his cold streaks, perhaps not in such an obvious way as he did in 2012, but still averaging out to a pretty nice season. He is probably going to bat second a lot even though he doesn't usually have even a league average OBP, but he does have great speed and he has learned to become a highly efficient basestealer in the last few seasons. He does make a lot of contact though, so he should do a fine job of moving Trout and the other runners in front of him along even without him dropping a lot of sac bunts, which I fear he will be doing quite a bit. It should all work out fine as long as he continues to embrace his natural instincts and doesn't succumb to the pressure to become a more patient hitter. I know that seems counter-intuitive, but there is a pretty established history (like his 2010 season) of Aybar screwing himself up at the plate when trying to force himself to be more disciplined. As far as the projections go, they are largely in agreement. The only area where I believe he'll have an advantage over past seasons is that he should play a lot more. With Maicer Izturis gone, this could be the first season where Aybar plays over 143 games. While he has held tight to the starting job for years, he sat fairly regularly to give Izturis a chance to play more, but that arrangement shouldn't be of much consideration now that Andrew Romine is his primary back-up. That requires him to stay healthy though, which is not given since Aybar has missed at least 10 games due to injury in every season of his career save 2009. [follow]
THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
RELATED ARTICLES

Tim Salmon at the 2013 AngelsWin.com Spring Training Fanfest

How do you sum up an evening with Mr. Angel? As the first of our guest speakers, Tim Salmon got the party rolling at the 2013 AngelsWin.com Spring Training Fanfest as our first of many guests in the evening. The AngelsWin.com Board of Directors started off the talk with a few questions that they had prepared for the Kingfish. Emceed by Chuck Richter, the founder of AngelsWin.com...

Good news for Angels: Pujols ready to start

MARYVALE, Ariz. The Angels are having a brutal spring training by won-loss standards they're last in the majors at 5-13 but they got some good news Tuesday despite another defeat, a 6-1 loss to the Milwaukee Brewers. First baseman Albert Pujols coming off right knee surgery started in the field for the first time in 2013, and he reiterated that he doesn't expect to...

Halo Headlines: Snyder could replace Conger, predictions about Trout

The March 19th, 2013 edition of daily news for the Los Angeles Angels including Snyder could replace Conger, predictions about Trout and much more... The Story: Hank Conger's throwing looks like it is going to cost him a roster spot in the wake of the team signing Chris Snyder. The Monkey Says: I wrote yesterday that I think Snyder has the edge, which is really saying...

Trout without a doubt best LF in West

The American League West is stocked with talent in left field but there's little doubt where the pecking order begins. Los Angeles boasts of the game's best talents in Mike Trout, who was the team's primary centerfielder last season. While Trout is outstanding, there are plenty of other good left fielders in the West. Here's a look at the picture in left in the...

AngelsWin.com's Spring Fanfest - A Weekend To Remember

By Ellen Bell, AngelsWin.com Staff Writer --  Spring Training is a time of renewal and recommitment to your team. It’s the one time of the year when all baseball fans have the luxury of believing that this could be their year. In those precious, optimistic weeks of March, before a single pitch has been thrown on Opening Day, anything is possible.  That’s exactly why I...

Angels reliever Madson's suffers minor setback

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Ryan Madsons return from Tommy John surgery hit a minor snag when the reliever experienced tightness in his elbow after last Thursdays bullpen session, a setback that prompted the right-hander to tweak his exercise and throwing program to meet the more rigorous demands of throwing off a mound. Madson, who has thrown off a mound only twice since Feb. 1, played long...

The forgotten Angels: Chris Iannetta

The Angels preseason press is unequivocal. Mike Trout is the new Mickey Mantle. Pujols, Hamilton and Trumbo are the new Murderer’s Row. Weaver could be the new Verlander, if it wasn’t for the fact that, annoyingly, every year some guy called “Verlander” keeps being that. Spring training is winding up, and the Angels are a team of new promise. But one question remains...

Angels 7, Padres 4

Vernon Wells hit his fourth spring training home run and Mike Trout had a two-run triple to back C.J. Wilson on Sunday in the Los Angeles Angels' 7-4 win over a San Diego Padres' split squad. Wells hit a two-run homer in the fourth on a slider from Freddy Garcia to put the Angels ahead 5-1. Wells went 2 for 2 and is batting .423 (11 for 26). Trout, the AL Rookie of the...

Weaver, Hanson and the velocity that is (probably) never coming back

Leading up to the season we've heard a lot about lost velocity. Specifically, the velocity that Jered Weaver and Tommy Hanson lost over the last few years. There has been much hand-wringing over whether or not Jered and Tommy would be able to recover that velocity and if they don't, how they will adjust to life with a not-as-fast fastball. Mike Scioscia even went so far as...

Brewers 6, Angels 1

In a game where balls and strikes were briefly called from behind the pitcher's mound after an umpire was injured, Albert Pujols made his spring debut at first base for the Los Angeles Angels in a 6-1 loss Tuesday to the Milwaukee Brewers. Pujols played the field for the first time since offseason surgery on his right knee. The slugger went 0 for 2. Rickie Weeks, Aramis Ramirez...

Ump briefly calls pitches from behind mound

PHOENIX (AP) -- In a game where balls and strikes were briefly called from behind the pitcher's mound after an umpire was injured, Albert Pujols made his spring debut at first base for the Los Angeles Angels in a 6-1 loss Tuesday to the Milwaukee Brewers. Pujols played the field for the first time since offseason surgery on his right knee. The slugger went 0 for 2. Rickie Weeks...

West well stocked with quality shortstops

If you want to get defensive at shortstop in baseball, there's no better place to be than the American League West. The West features three of the best defensive shortstops in baseball, including two in Elvis Andrus and Erick Aybar who are also solid offensive players. Seattle's Brendan Ryan may have one-upped the both of them last year with his defensive work at short...
MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.