|Brace Himmelgarn | Getty|
Player: Erick Aybar
Date of Scouting Report: 1/11/16
Age: 32 in 2016
How acquired: Trade with Angels for Andrelton Simmons
Years Before Free Agency: 1
With seven years as a durable everyday starter in the tank, Aybar was a suitable replacement for Simmons after the latter was traded to the Angels. Unfortunately for the Braves, Aybar has shown signs of decline since a .290/.324/.416 2012 season in 2012 with a wOBA. A suitable stopgap option, Aybar’s career with the Braves will likely not last beyond 2016 and there’s great reason to believe he won’t last the whole season.
Offensive Observations and Grades:
Avoids strikeouts well with a strikeout rate below average at 11.3% historically, but he also does not take walks and carries a higher rate of swinging at pitches outside the strikezone (36% vs. 31% three-year MLB SS sample). He does put wood on the ball well even on pitches outside the strikezone (as you might expect with so few K’s). Pulls the ball slightly more than the average shortstop. Has been a below-average hitter against sliders in his history, but is better than average against fastballs. Though not a typical slap-the-ball to the fields type, he remains a superb contact hitter (88% career vs. 82% three-year MLB SS sample). Never a power hitter (10 HR single-season high), his ISO has declined for four consecutive seasons from .142 in 2011 to .069 in 2015. Grades out very well in advancing runners. 42% productive out success rate vs. 32% league-rate, 67% runner on second advancing with zero outs and Aybar at the plate vs. 56% league rate. A good baserunner, Aybar maxed out with 30 steals in 2011 and has averaged 14 the last three seasons.
Grades from a 20-80 Scale…Contact (65), Power (25), Speed (55), Baserunning (60), Eye (50), Discipline (25)
Pitching Observations and Grades:
Defensive Observations and Grades:
Formerly a good shortstop, Aybar has fell to average and maybe even below average after hitting his 30’s. An outlier UZR/150 of 8.0 helped mask the decline, but a -7.5 in 2013 and -8 in 2015 are disturbing and as is -13 DRS over the last three years. Arm has appeared to decline from its formerly excellent arm strength as well. Accuracy has saved him from being a bad shortstop during his decline defensively, but range will continue to be an issue. Might be better suited for a move to second base soon.
Grades from a 20-80 Scale…Range (40), Arm (45), Arm Accuracy (60), Hands (60)
It should not be surprising to see Aybar bounce back from a .270/.301/.338 slash in 2015 to closer to his career norms (.276/.315/.378), but going beyond that might be a stretch. PECOTA, which won’t be updated again until March, had Aybar has a .249/.294/.339 guy in 2016. I think he beats that. Marcels gives him .269/.307/.365, which seems more likely. Steamer is more bullish with a .271/.309/.371 line. Of the three, Marcels is my bet. Add in 12-15 steals, a declining defense, and you are left with about a 1-2 WAR player for 2016. Chances are he only gets worse from here. Acceptable stopgap, but even if Aybar gets boosted with a high BABIP, avoid further commitments.
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