Erick Aybar's declining wheels and the influx of power across the league has severely impacted his fantasy stock. At his best, he was a solid-if-unspectacular shortstop capable of a strong batting average, 20 or so stolen bases, 70 or so runs and a handful of homers. In the three seasons prior to 2016, he failed to reach 20 steals and managed just a 66 percent success rate on the basepaths. In 2016, he was just 3-for-8 on the bases -- a bruised foot injury in late-May likely didn't help matters -- and his .243 average was his lowest since a .237 mark in 211 plate appearances back in 2007. He joined the Tigers in mid-August and had a little rejuvenation. Very little. He walked 11 times in his 91 plate appearances, but didn't attempt a single steal with the club. He's 33, lacks a significant fantasy tool and doesn't look like a top-20 shortstop even if he beats out Luis Sardinas for the starting shortstop job in San Diego.
Aybar went 1-for-4 with a stolen base and a run scored in Monday's loss to the Diamondbacks. The 33-year-old has looked his age this season, slashing .169/.265/.271 in 60 plate appearances while serving as the Padres' everyday shortstop. Aybar has never been a power threat, but speed has been a big part of his fantasy game in the past. Unless he recaptures his ability to swipe bags with regularity or gets his batting average north of .250, then he won't provide much value to fantasy owners at any level.
Aybar smacked his first homer of the season in Wednesday's 1-0 victory over the Diamondbacks. The switch-hitting shortstop was one of the few San Diego bats to get to Arizona starter Zack Greinke, producing the only run the Padres could scratch out all evening. Despite the nice display, Aybar is in the midst of a terrible stretch at the plate, producing just a .567 OPS through the first 15 games. If he continues to scuffle at the plate, the veteran might begin ceding more starts to younger options as the Padres start to evaluate their options for the future.
Aybar is out of the lineup Monday against the Braves. With only two hits in 21 at-bats while starting the past seven games, Aybar will get the day off in the series finale as manager Andy Green looks to see if Luis Sardinas can inject some life into the offense while filling in at shortstop. Aybar was one of baseball's worst-performing regulars last season with a .243/.303/.320 slash line in 459 plate appearances with the Braves and Tigers, and with his numbers down across the board early on in 2017, it may not be long before he permanently surrenders his starting role.
Aybar is not in the lineup Saturday against the Giants. After starting all of the Padres' first five games, Aybar will take a seat as Rule 5 pick Allen Cordoba makes his first major-league start. He'll likely return to the lineup Sunday, though he doesn't carry much fantasy value.
Aybar turned his four plate appearances into two doubles, a single and a walk in Tuesday's 4-0 win over the Dodgers. Despite the perfect day at the plate, he neither knocked in nor scored a run, which is rather disappointing. Aybar's the starting shortstop for San Diego now, but there's no reason to expect much production out of him; after all, this is a guy who's posted an OPS in the .600s in three of the last four seasons.
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