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 of '09, going .304/63/8/32/14 in 424 at-bats.
Without a poor June, he had 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 six 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 begin to rack up the steals.
That explains his increase in runs and steals, but what about the power surge?
Aviles' fly-ball percentage actually dipped in that time, so the remedy? The Cleveland Indians' pitching.
They served up four of his six homers that month (Oakland gave up the other two and not one of the six pitchers was a Cy Young hopeful).
When looking at his GB/FB/LD ratios over that final month, he had a spike in the number 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 much 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 does this mean for 2011?
In my opinion, Aviles 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 strikeout percentage has decreased, which bodes well for setting the table for the team with the second-best team batting average in all of baseball last year (.274).
His BABIP last year was .327, down from his .357 in 2008, so 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-for-20 this spring with nine runs and four steals.
Our fifth 2011 Nomination coming up: Daniel Hudson.