Mike Aviles has never been the favored son of the organization. It took forever for him to get a chance to play, and despite turning in a MVP-level performance (no really) when he did, the collective response from the front office appeared to be an extremely angry shrug. Then he became the three hundredth Royal of the decade to attempt to play through an injury, and the first that caught flack for it. Somewhere in there, the team traded for both Yuni Betancourt and Chris Getz. But yes, he's a valued member of the team. Oh, yes.
The funny thing is, despite the dreaded Allard Baird pedigree, Aviles always had the chops to be a Moore guy. He's a batting average player with occasional power and the biggest hole in his game is that he's not patient enough to ride out the downswings in BABIP that could torpedo his value.
This season, Aviles has just four walks, en route to a .266/.301/.543 line. If, say, Rick Ankiel was posting those numbers, we'd hear all about his role as a run producer. Aviles is even mixing in some decent work on the basepaths, going 8/9 in stolen base attempts. Nevertheless, there's no sense that Aviles is getting any closer to establishing himself. He's still fighting with Wilson Betemit for playing time, because Chris Getz is apparently unimpeachable at second.
We don't think of Aviles as a free-swinger, but that's exactly what he is. He's seeing just 3.4 pitches per plate attempt this season, and walking just 3.9% of the time. Mike has swung at 52% of the pitches he's seen in 2011. Those are Francoeur numbers.
The man just wants to be appreciated.