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What Could Have Been… Michael Aubrey

With yesterday’s signing of free agent pitcher Carl Pavano, the Cleveland Indians may have finally cut ties with former No. 1 draft pick Michael Aubrey, who was designated for assignment to make room on the 40-man roster.

The soon-to-be 27-year-old prospect was drafted 11th overall out of Tulane University in 2003 and the Indians obviously had high hopes for the first baseman. His numbers during his final college season were eye-popping: .420/.505/.733 and he also had future Gold Glove written all over him for his work around the bag.

Six years later, Aubrey’s career has been derailed by constant injuries and he appeared in just 15 big league games with Cleveland and all of those came in 2008. This past season, Aubrey set a career high in games played with 112 – surpassing his previous high of 98 in 2004. He split the minor league season between Double-A and Triple-A, but spent the majority of the season at the senior level where he hit .281/.328/.418 with an ISO of .137 in 285 at-bats. During his brief Major League call-up, the left-handed hitter batted just .200 with five walks and five strikeouts.

Aubrey is not a slugging first baseman; he’s probably good for about 15 home runs a season. But he also does not strikeout much and he has the potential to hit for a decent average. Offensively, he could end up mirroring former Red Sox catcher/first baseman Scott Hatteberg, who played his first full Major League season at the age of 27 and went on to have a very nice 14-year career. And Hatteberg was not that great with the leather.

Even at 27, Aubrey is not a lost cause and he would definitely benefit from a change of scenery. He still has value and a team like the San Francisco Giants could benefit from his excellent glove, given the defensive question marks around the infield, especially at the hot corner. Aubrey could also potentially help out Florida and Seattle.

You certainly do not want to go out and nab Aubrey on draft day in your Fantasy Leagues, but he is another young name to add to your watch list, especially if he lands in one of the above mentioned organizations.