Detroit Tigers won’t need to keep waiting for the team’s first trade of the season. The Tigers acquired shortstop Erick Aybar from Atlanta for utility player Mike Aviles and catching prospect Kade Scivicque.
Detroit Tigers general manager Al Avila made a trade on Tuesday, bringing in shortstop Erick Aybar from the Atlanta Braves.
Detroit’s official Twitter account announced the move, tweeting, “The Tigers today have acquired INF Erick Aybar from Atlanta in exchange for INF Mike Aviles and C Kade Scivicque.”
Right off the bat, Aybar provides the Tigers with an offensive upgrade over Aviles as a backup infielder. The former Angels infielder also gives Detroit a quality defensive option off the bench. The veteran can also steal a base or two.
Aybar doesn’t bring the same defensive experience in the outfield as Aviles did. However, the solid play of Tyler Collins in all three outfield spots more than makes up for the former Royal’s departure.
Here’s a look at his statistics.
Since entering the big leagues in 2006 with the Angels, Aybar has hit a solid .274. Additionally, the veteran has brought a good mix of pop and speed to the table. From 2009 to 2015, Aybar averaged 144 games per season while chipping in with 51 RBI, 28 doubles, 18 stolen bases, six home runs and five triples per campaign.
Over that same span, he reached base at a .318 clip while winning a Gold Glove in 2011 and making the All-Star team in 2014. Aybar’s career WAR is 23.5, he accumulated a 22.1 WAR from 2009 to 2015.
This season hasn’t been as much of a success for the former Angel. After arriving in Atlanta as part of the Andrelton Simmons mega-deal, Aybar hit just .242 with the National League East club. What’s more, his .293 on-base percentage also dropped off considerably.
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Aybar also added 26 RBI, 14 doubles, three stolen bases, two home runs and two doubles in 97 outings. The player’s 60 wRC+ isn’t outstanding, but it represents a significant improvement over Aviles. The now-former Tiger posted a 40 wRC+ this year.
What’s more, Aybar’s number isn’t that far off from Andrew Romine (62 wRC+) and Jose Iglesias (67 wRC+) respective stats on the season. A change of scenery could be just what Aybar needs to turn things around.
Knack for Hitting Top Pitchers
Aybar has compiled a solid career to this point. Throughout said career he’s showcased the ability to hit elite pitching—and hit it well.
The longtime Angel is hitting .343 against Jon Lester and .367 versus Zack Greinke. Aybar has found considerable success against the likes of Jake Arrieta (.500), Corey Kluber (.417), Jeff Samardzija (.417), Lance McCullers (.417) and Yu Darvish (.308).
With the Tigers pushing for the playoffs, having a player with that kind of success against so many top starters will be crucial. Aybar’s splits will definitely come in handy come October.
Other Notable Splits
In addition to hitting top pitchers, Aybar has been exceedingly effective against the Kansas City Royals in his career. After Tuesday’s game, the Tigers will have seven more games remaining with their division rivals.
In 64 games versus the Royals, the shortstop is hitting a robust .335 with an .864 OPS. He’s also added 27 RBI, 19 doubles, 10 stolen bases, seven triples and a pair of home runs. There’s also the fact that Aybar is a .434 hitter in his career on bunts, which doesn’t hurt.
The veteran also does well against both right-handed and left-handed pitchers. He’s a .274 hitter lifetime versus righties and a .273 hitter against lefties.
In a loaded Detroit lineup, Aybar would likely hit in the bottom third of the order. In his career, the shortstop is a .285 hitter in 176 games out of the seventh place in the order. He’s batting .280 in 181 games in the ninth spot in the lineup.
Aybar mainly profiles mainly as a shortstop, a position where he has logged over 1,200 games. Aside from 49 contests logged at second base, the 32-year-old has seen marginal time at a number of other positions, including six games in left field, two in right field and one at third base.
It is entirely possible that Aybar could see some time at third base with Nick Castellanos on the shelf.