It's time to show a little love to the Angels intrepid shortstop, Erick Aybar. You know him, you love him, but did you know this guy is playing out of his mind right now? Well, since you're reading this I'm assuming you DID in fact know that, but let's take a few minutes out of our day to look at the tear Aybar has been on as of late.
To put it in the parlance of the quintessential American poets known as Loverboy, "The Kid Is Hot Tonight!". He struggled in the opening month of April(as many Angels are wont do to), hitting only .222 with an OBP of .284. He was slap hitting and grounded into a few double plays in the process, but in the current month he's doubled most of those splits and been an integral piece in keeping the Angels in close games.
So what's been the key difference for Erick as of late? Is it sustainable? Well...no, obviously not on the tear he's currently going. But that doesn't mean he can't keep producing at a clip that will put him up there with the top MLB shortstops. The one thing that jumps out to me is he's not providing many extra base hits, and that BABIP is high enough that it's in the realm of unicorns and leprechauns. His ability to find gaps in coverage and infield hit percentage aren't things that he should hope to be able to keep up, and when you look at how his total bases are pretty close in both months, it's apparent that he's had a string of good-to-great luck to go along with his recent ability to make contact.
It's also of note that he's recently been moved to the leadoff position, a spot where he's had far fewer success in previous seasons, so couple that with the requisite regression you see on someone playing out of their mind for a stretch, and you've got a recipe for a comedown. The low slugging, lack of extra base hits, and abnormally high BABIP aside, there is plenty to like going forward for Aybar. He currently has more multi-hit games than featured hitters Mike Trout and Kole Calhoun, and I'd be more worried about his outlook going forward if his recent success was dependent on power, and now singles. But I think even after he comes back down to Earth, we're still going to see Aybar put up some good numbers this season.
So what's up with Aybar? How do you see his performance at the plate going forward in 2015? And again, to quote Loverboy, "The Kid is hot tonight! But where will he be tomorrow?"