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Willy the Outfielder

DH | 1B | LF | RF | 3B | CF | 2B | SS | CA

Defensive spectrum: moves to the left usually work, moves to the right almost never do. This speaks well for Willy Aybar moving to a corner outfield spot, but how have previous third baseman looked in the corners? Using Chone defensive projections(which weigh the past five seasons) I wanted to compare Aybar to those who have previously made the switch, if only part-time. Scanning through the list of third basemen I came up with the following:

Willie Harris
Mark DeRosa
Ryan Freel
Chris Burke
Bill Hall
Eric Hinske
Fernando Tatis
Mark Teahen
Ryan Braun
Eric Bruntlett

Miguel Cabrera and Chad Tracy were unfortunately absent from the 2008 and 2009 outfield projections. With their absents we have 11 samples. Here's a look at how their projections varied:


3B COF Delta
Harris 4 14 10
DeRosa 1 1 0
Freel -1 2 3
Burke -3 3 6
Hinske -10 -11 -1
Tatis -9 -11 -2
Teahen -11 4 15
Braun -17 2 19
Blake -8 6 14
Hall -1 -3 -2
Bruntlett -5 -3 2

That's an average gain of nearly six runs. Only three saw losses, and none more than two runs. Even more encouraging, none of the players who were above average at third saw losses in the corner outfields. Aybar is worth a run at third base, so I would expect either a static gain or some slight improvement. Marcels has Aybar's wOBA at .334, he'll likely be used in a platoon, which gives more credence to that number, so let's look at how his defense could effect his total value if he lives up to that projection.


0 0.3 1.8
0.3 0.3 2.1
0.6 0.3 2.4
-0.1 0.3 1.7
-0.6 0.3 1.2

That doesn't look overly impressive, yet remember, even Matt Kemp/Andre Ethier are only projected as 3 WAR players. Adam Dunn (the outfielder) is projected at 2.5 WAR. Aybar can become quite the asset.