The 2014 season has already brought Erick Aybar an accolade. He was named to the Sporting News end of the year American League All-Star team last week, along with Mike Trout. He was also a mid-season All-Star where he represented the Angels in Minnesota, at Target Field, his first All-Star honor. Aybar did a lot of things right in 2014, so let’s start there.
The Good: He established new career-highs in multiple categories. Those included hits (164), runs (77), RBI (68), games (154) and walks (36). The one that sticks out is the games played. Playing such a prominent position as shortstop, it is hard to stay on the field, but Aybar was able to do so. That is the reason he was able to set multiple career-highs as you see above.
The game of baseball is changing rapidly and strikeouts are coming more prominent in the game. Aybar struck out 62 times the most since 2011, but he also walked a career-high 36 times. The amount of walks aren’t too many, but he isn’t the type of player to take too many pitches. Taking the extra walks, put him on base 13 more times than last year in that category.
Another note that sticks out is he hit 30 doubles for the fourth straight season. He is only the second Angels player to have four consecutive seasons of 30 doubles or more. The other, Garret Anderson, who had 30 doubles in eight straight seasons from 1996-2003.
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After a down season in 2013, Aybar was able to bounce back in a big way. It will be hard to bring that same season to 2015, so the Angels offense will have to pick up his regression somewhere else in the order, i.e Josh Hamilton comeback season. But overall there isn’t really anything bad to say about Aybar’s season. He did multiple things well and had one of his best seasons since making his major league debut in 2006.
The Future: Erick Aybar will regress in 2015, and that is sad to say. It is hard to stay at the level he did last season in back-to-back years. Don’t get me wrong I see him being a great player and possibly an All-Star in 2015, but in order to get the production he had this season into next season he is going to have to play a lot games. Like I mentioned above it is hard as a shortstop to play a lot of games because of the toughness of the position he plays.
The FanGraphs steamer projects him to be back down to earth in 2015, playing in less games and being worth less in terms of wins above replacement. It will still be a good season for the shortstop but don’t go into 2015 expecting more than what you saw from Aybar in 2014.