In part twenty-three of my almost 50 part series “Better Know An Oriole” (otherwise known as 2009 Orioles Retrospective), I take a look at first-baseman Michael Aubrey… THE FIGHTIN’ POOR MAN’S CASEY KOTCHMAN!
The Orioles acquired Aubrey at the end of June for a PTBNL, and I wasn’t too excited about it. I felt it was a fine move, but did more for organizational depth than it would for the team at the major league level. An OK average (without much OBP or power) and an average-ish glove were what I expected.
Aubrey got into 31 games for the O’s, batting .289/.326/.500 with 4 home runs. He didn’t walk much – just 5.3% of the time – but kept the strike-outs down as well (11.1%). His batted ball profile was a little strange, as he traded line-drives (13.8%) for flyballs (52.5%) which kept his batting average lower than it could have been (given all the balls he put into play) but allowed more balls to leave the yard. Adjusting for that and his HR/FB rate, The Hardball Times has his PrOPS line at .275/.309/.472. That’s really not acceptable for a first-baseman, so unless he can get his walk rate up he won’t be able to hang around. Aubrey did seem to show the ability to differentiate between balls and strikes, swinging at only 19.9% of pitches out of the zone. He swung at a higher than average 69.7% pitches in the zone though, so just being a little more patient in general might help.
Defensively, Aubrey came in at a slightly above average +3 UZR/150. Combined with his performance last year though (-13.4 UZR/150 in much fewer innings), and he’s been a bit below average (-1.4 UZR/150) in a very small sample size. Overall, he was a 0.3 Wins Above Replacement player, which would be about 1.5 WAR over a full season.
As of right now, Aubrey is likely penciled in as the O’s first-baseman for next year. And while I like the guy fine, that’s a situation that probably needs to be rectified before the O’s are competitive. [Edit: But not by signing Mike Jacobs, as was suggested at The Hardball Times. My responses in the comments.]
Photo by AP.