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 Minor League News & Autograph Blog Home

Top Prospect Alert - Willy Aybar

By Schuyler Dombroske

DOB: 3/9/83, Age: 19, Height: 6’0’’, Weight: 175, Bats: B, Throws: R. Acquired: Dodgers - Signed out of the Dominican Republic on 1/31/2000. 2000 Stats: (Rookie - Great Falls) .263 AVG, 266 AB, 15 2B, 1 3B, 4 HR, 5 SB, 36 BB, 45 K, .349 OBP, .372 SLG.  2001 Stats: (Low-A - Wilmington) .237 AVG, 431 AB, 25 2B, 2 3B, 4 HR, 7 SB, 43 BB, 64 K, .307 OBP, .332 SLG; (High-A - Vero Beach) .286 AVG, 7 AB, 1 BB, 2 K, .375 OBP, .286 SLG.
   The biggest attribute that jumps out at me regarding Willy Aybar is his batting eye. With most young players, you say, “his strike zone judgment is good for his age”, or “he is a typical young player, swinging at everything.” Willy Aybar’s strike-zone judgment is pretty good for anyone, let alone an eighteen-year old. Aybar was signed out of the Dominican for an amateur record $1.4 million, and thrown right into a high-level rookie league his first season. He absolutely held his own (as a 17-year old), showing the aforementioned keen batting eye, decent speed, the beginnings of power (15 2Bs in a half-season), and an above-average glove at the hot corner. This season, the Dodgers challenged him with a promotion to the Sally League, and he accomplished enough there to warrant a call-up for a few games to the Florida State League. I don’t know for sure, but he was certainly one of the youngest players to play in an FSL game this year; perhaps the youngest. Obviously, he has a few areas to address, most of which will likely come with maturity. He was only 7 for 16 in stolen base attempts in 2001. He has better speed than that figure would attest to, so he needs to pick his spots better. Secondly, his power figures didn’t increase at all this year, and Aybar still looks like a stick figure. He needs to get some kind of workout regimen in place to help his body mature a little quicker, or he may be stuck in the minors another four years or so. All in all, though, I would consider his first two minor league seasons to be successful, and they certainly illustrate an enormous amount of potential. Apparently, he is one of those players where the ball “just sounds differently coming off his bat.” I’ll have to take their word for it, as I haven’t seen him yet. Subjectivity notwithstanding, he has the capability to be a five-tool player, and he’s ahead of the normal progression for a player his age. 
   Aybar’s biggest concern, aside from actually developing power as opposed to “being certain it will develop” (Sean Burroughs syndrome), is the left side of the Dodgers infield. Adrian Beltre is a young, budding star, and Cesar Izturis was just acquired in a trade (plus, I’m not sure that Aybar’s SS skills would be quite good enough, although he was groomed there in the Dominican). That’s a formidable roadblock, but Aybar could force the issue just by realizing a portion of his potential. I don’t see any reason for LA to rush him, especially with the lack of an opening for the time being, so he’ll probably resume his FSL spot. I would expect to see him in LA in late 2004 or ST 2005, unless Izturis completely falls apart. Aybar reminds me of Bernie Williams at the plate, and he’s a decent third baseman to boot. There aren’t many switch-hitting third basemen to make a comparison with, so we’ll leave it at that. He has the potential to put up a .300 AVG, a .400 OBP, 30 homers, and 15 steals; numbers which wouldn’t lend themselves to too many comparisons anyway. As always, the actuality is a long way off from the potential, but Aybar is one of the better players in his age group.


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