Erick Aybar – Atlanta Braves
As mentioned earlier, Aybar is new to the NL East after being dealt from the Angels to the Braves in the Andrelton Simmons deal. Last year, with Los Angeles, Aybar had a slash line of .270/.301/.338 with three home runs, 44 RBI’s, and 15 stolen bases in 156 games.
Even though Aybar didn’t drive in many runs last season, his .270 batting average was second among American League shortstop (Xander Bogaerts – .320) and he was fifth in stolen bases. While his batting average dipped from .287 in the first half to .249 in the second half, he was a better hitter away from Angel Stadium (.281 road average compared 50 .257 at home).
If you look at Aybar’s defense from a sabermetric standpoint, he is far from the Gold Glove shortstop that he was in 2011. Last season, Aybar had -3 runs saved for the second straight season. Plus, his 17 errors were the third most among AL shortstops. Only Elvis Andrus of the Rangers and Marcus Semien of the A’s made more errors than him in the season.
It will be interesting to watch in 2016 how Aybar transitions to playing in a new league. His 2.3 WAR last season was ranked tenth among shortstops in baseball and he should be a good veteran presence in the Braves clubhouse. Plus, if Aybar can have a strong season, it will help him towards his next contract since he’s a free agent at the end of the 2016 season.
Next: Number Two