Aybar's run production amplifying solid season

Aybar's run production amplifying solid season

Aybar's run production amplifying solid season
ANAHEIM -- Erick Aybar does a lot for the Angels: He plays outstanding defense, hits well for contact, and wreaks havoc on opposing defenses when they allow him on base.

The 5-foot-10 speedster has also done something a little unconventional this season -- drive in runs. Aybar's 37 RBIs entering Wednesday rank fourth in the American League among shortstops and second-most on the Angels, behind only Torii Hunter (40).

Perhaps more impressive, Aybar's .339 batting average with runners in scoring position is significantly higher than his overall average (.281).

Aybar's latest run-producing contribution came Tuesday, when his second-inning double brought Howard Kendrick around from first base for the lone run in the Angels' 1-0 win over Detroit.

Aybar's performance is particularly welcome by the Halos considering he struggled at times during 2010. He hit only .253 last year after tallying a .312 average in 2009. The Bani, Dominican Republic, native has also flashed a bit more power this season -- his five home runs already match his totals from each of the last two seasons.

"I think it's a product of just swinging the bat better," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. " ... He's on pace for 70, 80 RBIs, which would be a terrific year for a shortstop ... I don't think it's anything different, other than he's swinging the bat better, so when he's in those situations he's been more productive."

In addition to those numbers, Aybar has put together solid shortstop numbers -- his 17 stolen bases before Wednesday are a team high, and his .985 fielding percentage ranks fourth among AL shortstops.