The Los Angeles Angels have experienced much success in the first half of the season, and one of the reasons for that has been the play of Erick Aybar.
In his eight seasons in the league prior to 2014, Aybar had established himself as a solid all-around player with his defense and offensive output. But in his ninth year, the 30-year-old is on a career-best offensive pace that projects 11 home runs, 81 RBIs, 41 doubles and 83 runs scored. His impressive first half of the season has him leading all AL shortstops in RBIs (44) and triples (three).
His high level of production this season has mostly gone under the radar, especially with him not being selected to the 2014 AL All-Star roster. Aybar has been one of the most productive players at his position, and the fact that he was not named to the AL roster is a bit surprising given what he done so far in 2014.
Leading up to the All-Star game, there was likely going to be an excess at shortstop as there was essentially only one spot available, with Derek Jeter being a lock in his final season in the majors. That left the reserve spot open, and the Chicago White Sox‘ Alexei Ramirez received enough votes to beat out Aybar.
This is not taking away from Ramirez’s solid first half, but Aybar has the better offensive numbers when comparing the two players. He holds the advantage in RBI (43 to 41), runs scored (45 to 42), walks (17 to 15), and has fewer strikeouts (34 to 49). What also should be taken into consideration is their respective teams’ success in the first half the season. The Angels currently hold the second-best record in the league at 52-36 behind the Oakland Athletics, while the White Sox have a 43-47 record that puts them in fourth place in the AL Central.
Again, this not taking away from the personal success that Ramirez has had so far this season, but rather how his team has played up to this point this season. In reality, both Aybar and Ramirez have outplayed the Jeter, but there was no way that the Captain would not be selected, and it has put Aybar out of the game.
Aybar should take this snub in stride and use it as motivation for the second half of the season to not only prove that he deserved to be an All-Star, but most importantly help the Angels make a run to the playoffs and possibly a AL West division crown.