Monday, December 15, 2008

The Rays best hitter, Willy Aybar?

This statement is not to be taken literally, nor I don't believe it since I'm programmed to conventional baseball thinking. A person can look at Willy's hitting stats and see he could be an average hitter in every aspect. But looking at some sabermetrics (new convention of baseball thinking), I can see that Willy Aybar may be the best hitter in terms of his ability to hit. His ability isn't to hit 30 HRs or hit .320, but just to make contact with the ball, which is what should be taught at the amateur level. Using Fan Graphs, I looked up his Plate Discipline and compared it with the rest of the Rays hitters. His O-Swing%, swings outside the strike zone, was 22.5% for 2008. Pretty good compared with the other Rays, which ranged from Upton's 15%(the Majors lowest) to Crawford's 31.5%, about average. His best stat is his ability to hit those outside pitches or O-Contact%, which was the Rays best at 75.3%. Compared to the next highest Dioner Navarro at 71.7%, to the slugger Pena at 48.7%. Just making contact using Contact% he posted 87.7%, second only Navarro. In addition, his strikeout rate is was only 13.6% of his at bats. Looking at these stats, he has to have the best plate discipline for a Ray, and his ability to hit Major League pitches is one of the best.

His playing ability has been praised by Joe Maddon as a hard worker. This guy is ballplayer, he has the talent, he can switch hit, tries his best every time he is on the field, and he is baseball smart. If a coach wants a young player to look up to a Major Leaguer for his playing ability, then they should pick Willy Aybar.

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