I love under-the-radar minor-league moves. After years of player-development mediocrity, the Baltimore Orioles organization is slowly redeeming itself. We probably all know about prospects like Matt Wieters, Nolan Reimold, and Chris Tillman, but the organization did not have a ton of depth at the first base position – outside of converted catcher Brandon Snyder, who was recently promoted to triple-A.
This week, the Orioles organization picked up former first-round pick Michael Aubrey, who never reached his potential in Cleveland thanks to a rash of injuries. The left-handed hitting first baseman could offer a complement to the right-handed hitting Snyder. Aubrey also provides some immediate help if the club – likely out of the playoff race – decides to jettison veterans Aubrey Huff (at the end of a three-year deal) and/or Ty Wigginton (in the first year of a two-year deal).
Aubrey has actually been fairly health the last two seasons, having appeared in a career high 114 games last year and 57 games this season. After seven minor league seasons, it’s clear that the first baseman needed a change of scenery, having appeared in just 15 big-league games (all in 2008). This year, Aubrey was hitting .292/.322/.448 with 16 doubles and five homers in 212 at-bats. Despite some injuries at the MLB level to players such as Travis Hafner, Aubrey never received consideration for big-league playing time.
He’ll end his Cleveland career (presumably) with a line of .295/.356/.475 in more than 1,500 at-bats. The 27-year-old former Tulane University star has below-average power for a MLB first baseman, but he can hit for a solid batting average with gap power and he is an above-average fielder. It’s a very nice low-risk, medium-reward move by an organization that is getting better by the season.
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