Last week we went over Logan Morrison (here). This week we take a look at Mike Aviles of the Kansas City Royals.
Aviles burst onto the scene in 2008 as a 27 year-old, spending most of his time at SS for the Royals. In his 419 partial-season at bats he hit .325/68/10/51/8 and was tagged as a potential breakout player for the 2009 season. Unfortunately, 2009 saw Aviles undergo Tommy John surgery after just 36 games. He entered 2010 as a question mark, but picked right back up where he left off in May going .304/63/8/32/14 in 424 at bats. A poor June removed from his batting average would’ve left him with a .323 average, which was similar to what he did over the course of 2008. Even after missing a year, Aviles was pretty much the same player he was before the injury. Of course, he stole 6 more bases, but knocked in 19 fewer runs.
This being the “September Stars” Series, let’s now examine what Mike Aviles did last September to warrant his selection this week…
In 24 games, Aviles went .357/20/6/14/6 to top off one of his best months statistically as a pro. In that time, he spent most of his time in the two-hole and benefited from no one being on base in front of him so he could start racking up steals. That explains his increase in runs and steals, but what about the power surge?
Aviles’ flyball percentage actually dipped in that time, but his power surge remedy? Cleveland Indian pitching. They served up four of his six homers that month (Oakland gave up the other two and not one of the six pitchers were Cy Young hopefuls).
When looking at his GB/FB/LD ratios over that final month, he had a spike in the amount of line drives he hit which was more in line with his 2008 season when he hit 27 doubles compared to the 16 he had all of last year. Of those 16 doubles, five of them came in September. When you extrapolate that September, his doubles were in line with his 2008 season.
As the season wound down, Aviles’ GB/FB/LD percentages began to even out to his 2008 percentages. What this means for 2011 in my opinion is this guy will put up similar doubles numbers, but his power will not extrapolate at six a month to equal 36 for 2011.
This year he’s slated to lead-off, which means his number of steals should continue to climb as he has shown the ability to run. His walk percentage has increased while his strike out percentage decreased, which bodes well for setting the table. His BABIP last year was .327, down from his .357 2008 season. His batting average has some upside.
If Mike Aviles is eligible at SS in your league, he is a late round gem. If not, remain patient as his healing elbow could get him some time at SS this season.
In 2010, he batted .320 with the bases empty and .404 with none on and none out, which he’ll be doing at least once a game this season.
My 2011 Mike Aviles Projection (Ceiling): .325/100/15/50/25.
Those stats would’ve made Aviles the No. 3 SS last season and the No. 4 2B. “That’s gold, Jerry!”
Aviles is currently 10-20 this Spring with 9 runs and 4 steals.
Our fifth 2011 Nomination coming up: Daniel Hudson.