Keep em empty
Erick Aybar was at his best in the leadoff spot. After spending 88 games batting either second or third in the order, Aybar was moved into the leadoff spot and paid immediate dividends.
After combining to hit .272 in other spots of the lineup, Aybar went on a tear in the leadoff spot, hitting .365 in 43 games.
His splits are tied closely to leading off and working with the bases empty. The switch-hitting shortstop batted .381 as the leadoff man in an inning and hit .334 overall with the bases empty.
It was with men on base that his average dipped. He hit .255 with runners on base and .240 with runners in scoring position.
Six of his nine homers came from the leadoff spot and he added five doubles and eight doubles in 178 at bats – as opposed to the five triples and three homers he had in his other 91 games.
It’s all about The timing
Aybar has above average speed but has some trouble timing his steals. Given the green light throughout the year, the 170-pounder had trouble determining when to take off and also had difficulty in getting solid jumps.
But when there were two outs and he was on base his steal percentage topped out at 79 percent, stealing 23 bases in 29 attempts.
For the year, he was tossed out 23 times in 72 attempts, a 68 percent success rate.
Give me the left
Most switch hitters find success as left-handed hitters – and with the majors predominantly right-hander heavy it is easy to see why they would choose to hit from both sides of the dish. Aybar was an anomaly.
Batting right-handed – or facing left-handed pitching – Aybar swatted .352 with 56 hits in 159 at bats. But when he hit from the left side to counter righties, Aybar managed to hit .282 in 376 at bats.
Aybar, who had ten triples on the year, did not have a single one when batting from the right side. That extra three feet proved to be the difference between a two and three-bagger.