Friday, July 6, 2012

Player Profile: Alex Avila

I have one card of Alex Avila, from 2010 Topps Update.

Playing career: Alex Avila came up with the Tigers in 2009, and had a breakout year in 2011, making the All-Star team and finishing twelfth in MVP voting, hitting .295 with 19 HR and 82 RBI.

Where he is now:He has struggled this season, partly due to injury. Currently hitting .247 with 5 HR and 23 RBI.

My memories: In the 2011 ALDS everyone was saying the Yankees had to stop Avila. They did (he went 1 for 16) but they lost anyway.

Interesting facts: From a USA Today interview: he is a fan of country music (Brad Paisley, Tim McGraw) and classic rock (Queen, AC/DC). Plays Call of Duty on Playstation. His hero is his cousin, Noel Rivera, a Marine.

His full name is Alexander Thomas Avila – Alexander after former Dodger executive Al Campanis, Thomas after his godfather, Tommy Lasorda.  His father, Al Avila, is an Assistant GM for the Tigers. His grandfather, Rafael Avila, is an international scouting legend. He was part of a group in Cuba that tried to assassinate Fulgencio Batista and drove the lead jeep in Che Guevara’s march to Havana in 1959. He was not a fan of Castro, however, and took part in the failed Bay of Pigs invasion. It was actually useful to be a baseball player as well as a revolutionary in Batista-era Cuba – “Because you could travel around more freely in buses and trucks, we would dress in our baseball uniforms from our semipro teams. And if Batista’s soldiers stopped you on your way to making a [political] action we could declare ourselves a team traveling on business, to a game,” he told author Alan Klein in the book Sugarball. He later moved to the Dominican Republic and set up the Dodgers academy there, signing such talents as Pedro and Ramon Martinez, Mariano Duncan and Alejandro Pena.

Google Autocomplete results: He is third when you type Alex A, between Alex Anzalone, a top high school football prospect, and Alex and Chloe, a clothing manufacturer. There do not appear to be any other prominent Alex Avilas.

Coming up next: The next profile will be Mike Aviles.

1 comment:

  1. I'm convinced Tigers manager Jim Leyland may have permanently damaged Avila last year by playing him so much down the stretch. Several times during blowouts I was shocked Leyland didn't get him out of there to give him a break, but he rarely did. By the the time October rolled around he was clearly hobbled. He still hasn't recovered.