Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -
Shortstop used to be a position of weakness in fantasy baseball leagues. Then Cal Ripken showed that a shortstop could be big, strong and carry a big stick.
Now we have shortstops hitting 30+ home runs and leading the league in hitting (see Hanley Ramirez).
So as a fantasy owner, you can't ignore the position. If you are having a tough time keeping up with the teams in your league who start superstars at shortstop, I can offer you this - there is a shortstop who is batting .491 for the month of July with an OPS of 1.207 and I can almost guarantee you he isn't on a roster!
Impossible you say?
Possible. He normally plays late at night after most of the east coast fantasy owners are asleep, which could explain why he's owned in less than 10% of all leagues.
He is Erick Aybar, shortstop for the Los Angeles Angels and brother of Tampa Bay Rays Willy Aybar.
Erick Aybar showed no signs of being "fantasy-worthy" as late as June, but he has blown up in July, with 13 runs, 15 RBIs, a .491 batting average and an OPS of 1.207 in 53 at-bats.
Considering that the Angels are without most of their offensive punch due to injury (Torii Hunter, Vladimir Guerrero on the DL), it has come at a most opportune time.
Since July 5th, Erick Aybar has nine multi-hit games out of 11. For the season he is batting .315 with 37 runs scored, three HRs, 36 RBIs, eight SBs and an OPS of .789. In yesterday's doubleheader, he scored five runs on seven hits and knocked in four.
Is this the emergence of another fantasy-worthy shortstop?
With no past history as a full-time starter in the majors, I can't answer that question yet, but if you are currently in need of a shortstop or middle infielder, he could fill the bill.
| Erick Aybar Career Statistics