Sometimes, we simply lack the in-depth statistical analysis we so deeply crave, and are forced to extrapolate off-the-cuff based on what we think we know given previous data.
And that's the one thing which really made the whole "AVILES NOW" argument so difficult; our friends at Baseball Prospectus -- read: Rany -- hadn't even deemed him worthy of a player comment in this year's book, and thus they hadn't even bothered to run PECOTA on him, just a bare-bones EQA/VORP line in a lineout: .243 EQA, 12+ VORP.
Taking into account his activity in Omaha this season, however, Rany finally offers us Aviles' Davenport Translation: .273/.304/.495. Yes, that's a .799 OPS. (Rany then hedges, expecting a regression to around .760, but the former is a real number, while the latter is - apparently - just an off the cuff supposition.)
So, I come before you to offer a mea culpa. Prior to the callup, I didn't think it was a great idea, because there's such a dropoff between the PCL and the AL that Aviles just didn't look that impressive. The problem with that, of course, is that different skill sets result in different translations. Two hitters with 1.000 OPS can have wildly different translations to the majors, and since we didn't really have that information directly available to us, it was all just guesswork. But looking back at Aviles' lineout in the 2008 BP... three things become apparent.
1) Aviles' EQOPS last season in Omaha was a hair over .700, while Callaspo's PECOTA projection was for an OPS of around .722. Simply put, we were overrating Callaspo, and underrating Aviles' revised EQOPS based in this season's performance in Omaha. All along, we should have recognized that -- as a hitter -- Aviles was currently projecting to be a better bat than Alberto. (This in no way, however, alters the main point NYR, NHZ, and I were making; since AC is likely our 2B of the future, he DOES need more playing time.)
2) Aviles' EQSLG was .414. That, being brutally straightforward, exceeds Pena's OPS, which in and of itself pretty much made any question of Aviles > Pena an entirely indisputable point. Regardless of whether Aviles was actually going to be good, Pena was so bad that Moustakas might have been an improvement if we'd called him up straight from Burlington and said "sink or swim, kid".
3) Aviles isn't that bad a fielder. He may not be a very good shortstop, but apparently he's actually an above-average 2B (+7 FR), despite all the errors. That's an indication that while he's clearly a downgrade from Pena, he's competent enough that the "butcher" tag was probably unwarranted. We should have seen he wouldn't cost enough runs to warrant giving Pena any PT at all over him once he was called up, except as a late defensive replacement.
So, I take it all back. We should have called Aviles up pretty much right when people started calling for it. In other news, Rany also expects -- not hopes, but expects -- Pena to be sent down for Butler once the interleague swing ends, figuring nobody's going to try and steal him off the waiver wire. I would argue that there's little point in playing Gload rather than having Butler up now, especially since Hillman -- in a fit of brilliant decision-making -- has decided he doesn't want Pena playing at all, but I can sort of see the rationale.