2012 Prediction Series: Alex Avila

To suggest that Alex Avila would evolve from a middling backup catcher who was assumingly in the big leagues because pops was the assistant GM of the team, to an All-Star, Silver Slugger, and one of the most important catchers in the American League in 2011 was about as shocking as Jose Valverde going 49 for 49 is save opportunities.

Yet, a year later, Avila is about to embark on a junior campaign and the expectations are beginning to set in. First off, let’s take a look at his 2011 since it was simply fantastic:

There were 18 catchers last year who played in at least 100 games for their respective teams. At 24, Avila was the second youngest of them all (Only Wilson Ramos of the Nationals was younger. Avila was two months younger than Josh Thole of the Mets). Players like Mike Napoli and Carlos Santana had great numbers but played less than 100 games at catcher, both splitting time at first base and DH. They are left off.

Of the selected group, Avila had the highest OPS at .895 (Miguel Montero .820, Brian McCann .817, Yadier Molina .814). Avila had the highest OBP at .389 (Carlos Ruiz .371, Chris Iannetta .370). Avila had the most extra base hits at 56 (Montero 55, Matt Wieters 50, Molina 47). He also had the most walks, with 73 (Iannetta 70, and McCann 57).

With 551 Plate Appearances he was second on the leader board (Montero was first with 553). He also had the second highest RBI total at 82 (Montero also was higher, at 86) and the second highest Batting Average at .295 (Molina at .305 was the only catcher over .300).

Last but not least, he had the third most runs and hits out of the entire class.

What he needs to work on

Other than expecting him to regress a bit, I can’t find too many flaws in Avila’s game that I’d venture into a debate about. He’s a very solid catcher with a very polished style of play. Other than injury, there’s no reason his numbers won’t be very similar this year.

For those wondering why he will likely regress, a brief explanation:

On the flip side, those who praise Avila are in for a bit of a reality check. His Batting Average on Balls in Play (BABIP) was .366. The next highest average was Montero at .317, an average that is much more in line with the league expectations.

Having a BABIP nearly 50 points higher than the next catcher you would have to temper your enthusiasm and expect a bit of a regression in 2012, much like that of the teammate, Centerfielder Austin Jackson who has a BABIP of .396 in 2010 and fell over fifty points to .340 in 2011.

What he will do

Walkoff Woodward Bubblegum Card Predictions:

























  • papacrick

    No way he comes close to repeating those numbers.  This kid is worn into the ground and he has showed no signs of coming out of that funk he ended on last season.  He looks dead in spring and I would expect closer to the .228 7 hr line he put up two years ago

    • Dre180

      Papacrick, great insight buddy! The guy is off to a red hot start and has 2 jacks already during a monster first week. This guy is a very good player. You want to talk about worn into the ground take a look at Joe Mauer. Avila is just getting started…

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