If one gauges a man by his OPS or WAR, Aybar leads qualified AL shortstops in both. Same with, love them or not, RBIs. He doesn’t walk much, but hardly strikes out either. It doesn’t take long to find a defensive metric that says Aybar is the best in the league, or very nearly the best, at that, too.
This is, however, Derek Jeter’s year, and warranted. And, apparently, Alexei Ramirez’s, too, by player vote. And it’s Aybar’s to kill a little time on the twirling teacups, which makes him smile some more, as there are worse alternatives to a few days in Minneapolis.
“There’s a lot of good players going to the All-Star Game,” he said. “They deserve it. My thinking is to win. Playing my game.”
Maybe he gets swallowed up in the Mike Trout parade, and the Pujols and Josh Hamilton fascinations. In among them, however, Aybar has grown into a sound and important part of the Angels’ rebirth. Only three others on the roster – Howie Kendrick, Jered Weaver and Kevin Jepsen – were Angels the last time the team went to the playoffs in 2009. And while it was no secret Aybar could have been had for a front-end starter in a trade last winter, there apparently were none to be had, and it seems now the Angels are better for it.
For Aybar is having one of his best seasons – both sides of the ball – and the Angels are, through three-plus months, the second-best team in the game. They’re not unrelated.
“He’s one of the best shortstops in the game,” Blue Jays shortstop Jose Reyes said. “He should be on that list of guys.”
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